Sunday, November 30, 2008

That amazing scent

You know that scent that encompasses you when you walk into the library or even a used bookstore? Any reader knows or remembers that smell. There's nothing quite like the musty, musky scent that seems to overpower you, until all of a sudden your eyes light on a book, you open it and read the first page and you are lost in a world that exists only between you and the author for the time being.

Today has been a day of reading for me. I didn't do it in a library and I didn't get to experience the scent of old books, but I managed to tear through 4 novels. Pure, unadulterated pleasure.

The Kindle has eliminated the need for me to immerse myself in used bookstores or libraries. I have access to nearly every book available immediately. That's kind of sad, but at the same time, I have boxes of Dad's old books - and some of them are very old and musty - and if I need a memory refresh, I just bury my nose in one of those books.

As I was reading "The First Patient" by Michael Palmer this evening, Max asked what I was doing. I told him that I was reading mind candy - stuff I could rip through pretty quickly. He made a flip comment about mom (the woman read everything she could get her hands on) and then asked if she had read Proust since she had such a strong French language background. I told him that she probably did, but I knew for a fact that she loved trivial reading as much as or more than I did and if she had read it, she did it for a class. We talked for a few minutes more about it and it occurred to me that I could probably download Proust to the Kindle and at least look at it. So, I spent some time reading 'about' it on Wikipedia and then went to to see if it was available. It certainly was! And those books are all out past copyright, so they are free. Awesome.

Then, the trouble began. I realized that most of the books I loved as a kid were more than likely available and they would be free. Before I realized what I was doing, I had downloaded 20 novels to my Kindle! Jane Austen (all 7 of hers), Joseph Conrad, Dumas, Defoe. I could download books all night. My 2 gig SD card will hold nearly 2000 books. I could easily come unglued right now just thinking about it. In fact, my breathing has quickened a bit at the anticipation of having immediate access to that many books.

New authors are finding that the fastest way to get their writing in front of readers is to publish electronically. Once they get a solid readership, I suspect that it would be much easier to find a publisher for later pieces. New authors are all over and similar sites.

So ... I could continue to write about this or I could just go back to what I was doing before I allowed the high of the old books scent memory to overwhelm me. I'm going to get some more books and then I'm going to read. Who needs to sleep, anyway?

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