Saturday, March 17, 2012

Why Do We Need Hard Copy Books?

This is Edith Nicholson's copy of Middlemarch (pt 1.) It was published in 1884, the year of her birth. 

She didn't likely get it as a birthday present, although her parents, Norman and Margaret, were big into books. 

I have an entry in their store accounts for 1894, "Book for Flora." Flora is their youngest child, born in 1892! They gave a book to a 2 year old. Very modern of them, don't you think? They understood that the earlier they got a book into their daughter's hands, the earlier she would start mimicking the act of reading, turning the pages of the book with her little pudgy hands, and the better reader she would become.

Threshold Girl is about Flora's year at Macdonald Teachers College in 1911/12, the year the Titanic Sank.

Well, for the illustration for this blog post, I wanted to take a picture of my Kindle (older, almost outdated version) perched upon this vintage volume, perched upon another hard copy of a softcover book Fall On your Knees. But I can't find my digital camera and I don't quite know how to take a picture and send it to myself with my phone, which is a plain DUMB phone anyway. I'm a dinosaur, all right.

Right now I am reading The Art of Fielding on my Kindle, (I reached half way through last night, YEA! 52% it reads on the bottom) and I read a few chapters of the very fat (which translates into long) Fall on Your Knees, which is also about Canada in the Titanic Era, the beginning part anyway. (The author makes a error! She calls Harper's Bazar Harper's Barzaar! I know she's wrong because I have a cover of a 1913 Harper's Bazar, which I purchased to research Threshold Girl. Threshold Girl  contains many colourful fashion plates from the Delineator of the Titanic Era. We live in a visual day and age, after all.)

And I've been trying to read Middlemarch, as I don't recall reading it all the way through, ever - a real oversight.

But I find it hard. The Print is SO SMALL and the language so, well, intricate. (Not that this ever bothered me in the past. I've read all those great big Victorian Novels like Vanity Fair. I'd plough through them,  ever so often checking to see how far I had got, a third, half way, three  quarters, just a few pages, I'm gonna make it! And if I really liked the book, loved the book, say East of Eden, I would cradle the tome in my hands for minutes at a time, as I gave my eyes a break, and wonder in astonishment, my heart hurting almost "All this wisdom in my hands." 

Today, I rely on a digital reading to tell me how far I've gotten, just as I rely on the Weather Network to check the temperature outside, instead of just poking my head outdoors.

So there you go. 

That's who I was writing for, the QFHSA.  Funny, I wonder if hard cover books for children, are going the way of the skipping rope? I don't know what the latest wisdom is, and things are changing so quickly. I wonder what will change and what will stay the same with regard to the act (and art) of reading.

Is the writing already on the wall or should I say 'on the cloud.'?