Andrew Carnegie thought that the library was the poor man’s university. I couldn’t agree more. There are many exotic places to visit, vast empires to discover, intriguing mysteries to unfold, instructions on just about anything, great people to uncover…and it all happens when you read a book. As technology advances, the decision on whether to read a paper book or a paperless one needs to be made by each of us. Will paper books soon be relics, as some have suggested? I hope not.
We have been able to listen to books on tapes and CD’s for a long time. This allowed my own grandmother, who was legally blind, to feel that she wasn’t being deprived of the great stories she wanted to enjoy. She loved to read and passed this down to me. In this internet age, we can download books from our computers. In 2007, the Kindle came on the market and quickly moved to the forefront. E-Books are becoming more and more popular. A book can be auto-delivered to your Kindle in less than one minute. There certainly is a prominent place in our world for this form of electronic communication. Suddenly, you don’t have to lug 3 books through the airport terminal and onto the plane. If an unfamiliar word comes up in a story, one tap of the key and you can hear its pronunciation. Another tap of the key will give you the definition. It’s all mind-boggling, when you really think about it. The earth could even be a little greener if fewer books were put onto paper. However, nothing can replace the benefits of sitting down with a good “old-fashioned” book. I find rereading a favorite book is almost like seeing an old friend. A good libro truly is a good amigo.
No one can deny the pleasure of sitting down and getting lost in a good story on a rainy day. Using your imagination is inevitable. There are no taps that can be made to delve deeper into the story. Another pleasurable scenario is the joy of reading to a young child. He holds one side of the book as you hold the other. You both enjoy the beautiful pictures and the conversation that evolves about the story. Add to that, the bonus of children being more successful in school if they have shared books with their parents in childhood. The feeling of having a book in hand really can’t be replaced by anything electronic.
Good books are easy to come by. You can order them through online sites such as Amazon for a fraction of the original cost. You can purchase them for next to nothing at thrift stores. They are even free in your public library. . You may mix some technology with your bound books, but just be sure to keep reading. Do you remember the advertisement years ago that said, “Send me a man who reads”? That employer also saw the value of the poor man’s university.