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An old book.

May 6, 2012

 I don’t read as much as I used to. I’m a bit tired these days and my vision, never good, is now weaker than ever. So I often stare a bit blindly at the pages of a book and reflect on the mild irony of how those with 20/20 vision are often proud non-readers and delight in their skills at sighting woolly mammoths 10 nautical miles away. But I still persevere a bit with reading and don’t hesitate to tell the long-suffering that they should read this, that or the other. Of course I’m usually quite taken aback when someone suggests that I read something (e.g. ‘Oh, Jodie Picoult is a wonderful writer!’) but I try to downplay the superior smirks.

And I don’t mind admitting that I have not read the top 100 of anyone’s list and am now, despite what anyone says, unlikely to read William Faulkner. I’m sure he’s brilliant but I’ve got wise to the fact that, however transporting it is at the time, most books won’t change your life or the way you think. Of course I’ve sort of fallen in love with characters (for a bit) and marvelled at the well-turned phrases of my favourite authors and re-read the saucy bits in various books in a way that some might think is a little unhealthy. I suppose it’s the same for everyone who still bothers with this archaic form of entertainment.

And I feel distinctly sorry (and other things) for those who think that a ‘graphic novel’ is in anyway a valid substitute for a book with printed words covering each of several hundred pages. And I have a ‘kindle app’ and I know you can get incredibly cheap books on it and so on but I loathe the e-book and the world it represents and I know that the first ten pages of ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ are all I’ll ever read on it unless someone pulls out the thumbscrews and threatens to break one of my fingernails.

So the world of books isn’t what it was, and the world isn’t quite what I want but I have one little thing to look forward to and that is one day I shall at least start this book which is one of my mother’s chief comfort reads. I bet it’ll never be an e-book.



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