I have a confession to make.
I've been avoiding this for months, but my guilt is reaching the saturation point, and I have to just come clean and and hope you'll all still respect me in the morning (and yes, I know I'm mixing metaphors, but I'm in extremis, and I think there is a link, albeit a murky shame-y needing absolution-y sort of link, between one-night stands and confession):
I got an e-reader.
Well, sort of.
Ok, let me take a step back, here, and explain.
I didn't actually intend to get an e-reader. I actually intended to get - and did get - a tablet, because I've been whining about how everyone else has one and I want one and it's not fair how come all those kids get to have iPads and all I have is this crummy laptop, and so on, for years, until finally my partner pointed out that Verizon was having some kind of super special where you could get a free tablet if you upgraded your phone.
One upgraded phone later, and I was the owner of a shiny new Verizon Ellipsis 7-inch tablet. "Small but mighty," I thought, and happily started using it for absolutely everything. I unfortunately soon realized why the Ellipsis was free; I'll spare you the boring rant and just say that you certainly get what you pay for, and I paid nothing.
To make a long story short, I found that the Ellipsis works best when it's on airplane mode and not connected to any network whatsoever, and the only things to do when it's in airplane mode are play games and read books.
So, I downloaded the OverDrive Media Console and hooked it up to my library account, and the rest, as they say, is history.
By now, I know many of you are raising your eyebrows, wondering what on earth the problem with all of this is. I know; lots of people use e-readers, all the time. I now have to confess that up until this past January, when I bought my partner a Kobo for her birthday, that I thought of all of these people as techno-sellouts. Oh, I never said anything like that out loud; I kept my snobby old-fashioned views to myself; but in my heart of hearts I was proud to still be reading only physical books. Real books, I thought, for a real reader, one who supports independent stores and independent authors and, just, everything independent. A reader who values the smell and the feel of the pages, the pleasure of flipping back and forth through the book at leisure, the satisfaction of holding an old friend in your hands year after year for your annual reread. I would never give in, I told myself, and I even believed it.
In other words, I was being pretentious and rather illogical, and I realized my own fallacy the minute I started downloading books.
It's just so easy. It's instant gratification. All I have to do is think, "Gee, I'd like to read Americanah today," and within minutes I have it right in front of me, without ever having to get dressed. It's every writer's dream: get everything you want without needing to speak to another soul or even leave the house. As a result, I've read a ton of books, far more than usual, and I'm loving every second of it.
I do miss having an actual book to hold, though. I miss seeing how far along I am, and flipping easily back to reread a passage (something that's just annoying on my e-reader); I miss seeing the spines of new and old books lined up on my shelves; I miss being able to pass a new favorite off to a friend without having to figure out how to hack a computer.
However, I went on vacation last week (it was marvelous) and I didn't have to go through my usual agony of deciding which books to pack: I just slipped my trusty Ellipsis into my purse, confident that I could decide later, at any time, and that the whole electronic world was at my fingertips.
I surrender, everybody. I see why you've all been converted. You were right, all along.
I'll still miss my books, though.