Another day, another ebooks-BAD-because-you-can’t-dogear-the-pages screed—this time in the L.A. Times, which should know better. As astute commenter Kate points out in a recent thread at Mental Multivitamin, ebook doomsayers often make a faulty assumption that it’s an either/or situation: that once you’ve gone Kindle you’ll never pick up a codex again. Which is just silly—a narrow vision of the reading life. I didn’t ditch my oven just because my microwave does some things better. Sometimes I want to bake a cake. Sometimes I want to curl up with a couple of kids on each side and pore over the pictures in a book made of paper.
But…sometimes I want to read the new Connie Willis novel without getting a squint-headache from the small print.
Sometimes I want to bring a half-dozen books with me on a trip, but I’d rather not weigh down my shoulder bag.
Sometimes I want to read in the dark without disturbing my husband. (For this, my phone is better than my Kindle.)
Sometimes I want to fall asleep reading without smacking myself awake when a big fat book falls on my face at the moment I drift off. (This has happened more times than I can count.)
Sometimes I want to sit down in a chair, which is a lot easier when it isn’t full of advanced review copies awaiting my attention. (NetGalley, you are a revelation.)
But also? Sometimes I want to read Elizabeth Bishop and see the notes I wrote in the margins in grad school.
Sometimes I want to walk through the house grabbing picture books off a shelf, building a pile with which to delight a small child at what she calls “quiet reading time,” which means “time ALONE with Mom and a mountain of books.” (Ain’t nothing quiet about it.)
Sometimes I want to flip back and forth in the pages of a nonfiction text, filling the pages with flags and sticky notes.
Sometimes I want to follow a cookbook recipe, and you just know I’m going to splatter something.
Sometimes I want to leave a book in the path of a person I suspect is going to be swept away by its charms.
It’s awfully nice to have choices.
UPDATED to add: I love this comment by Mary Alice about the unforeseen benefits of her family’s shared Kindle account.
July 2010 Reading List
An Interview with Stephanie Spinner
‘You don’t put your life into books. You find it there.’
Anna’s Muffin Skills Would Be Nice, Too
Poetry Friday: All Roads Lead to Greece