Story Sacredness

While reading over coffee this morning (A Sudden Light, by Garth Stein. Amazing book!) I got to a point where I wantedsobadlysosobadly to flip ahead and see if my suspicions were correct. It took all my readerly reserve to stop myself. If a book is only okay, I’ll often flip ahead to see if it’s going where I think it is. Sometimes, it’s the only excitement I have throughout the reading. But with a book like this one–oh, how delicious the suspense, and the abstinence. There’s the satisfying feel of pages under your fingertip, place saving with another. The tactile/olfactory nature of reading, for those of us who did not grow up with smartphones and tablets, is a real thing. It evokes every book we’ve ever read. The rainy days, the sunshine on pages, the beach, the library. No need for power chargers or wifi; all one needs is enough light to read by. And if the tide comes up and drenches a book, sunshine will dry it out. Failing that, replacing it with another copy of said book is far less expensive than replacing an ereader.

But…

Don’t you know there are always “buts” in my posts? I love my ereader. No matter how many pages the book is, my Kindle always weighs the same. I can bring my entire library with me on vacation, and if I read through all my books, another one is a click away. The pesky desire to page ahead gets quashed before I think the thought, because it really is a pain in the butt to do so on an ereader. (I’ve a Paperwhite, not the more sophisticated versions.) If I can’t sleep in the middle of the night, I don’t have to worry about waking Frankie D with a reading light or leave my comfy bed to spare him. I can read anytime, anywhere. And, though I don’t need to do so yet, I can adjust the size of the text for my ever-aging eyes.

Ebooks are almost always less expensive, comparing like with like. And while I can often buy a print book for pennies on Amazon second-hand, I can usually spend a little more for the e-version and ensure the writer gets paid a royalty. As a writer myself, that means something to me. If I read a book on my ereader and really love it, I’ll buy a print copy. I seek out first edition, hard covers and/or signed copies first–after all, I already bought the book once so the author will forgive me for losing out on a second royalty–to add to my collection.

Oral history was sacred. The keepers of the stories were the most important in any tribe. Respected. Revered. Magical. Writing made oral history accessible to all who could read. Widespread literacy (a fairly new phenomenon, I might add) made it accessible to everyone. However you absorb a story, be it audio, electronic, or print, it is sacred. Some more than others, perhaps. There is no better way to get a story into our brains, there is only different. And, currently, a multitude of ways to do so.

How do you read? Audiobooks? Ebooks? Print books? And why? Curious oysters want to know.

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16 Comments

Filed under Writing is Life

16 responses to “Story Sacredness

  1. I read exclusively ebooks anymore – because it means I always have my entire library with me, no matter where I go. Space is at a premium in the house – not so on my e-reader. I do still own physical copies of old favorites, things I’ll NEVER toss for sentimental reasons.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Terri-Lynne DeFino

    I only keep print books I can’t bear to part with. It’s just that I have so many waiting to be read that fills my shelves to capacity. It could well become a problem, if I am not careful, because I now have FOUR spare bedrooms. That’s a lot of room to store more books…

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  3. I gotta tell you, I read on my phone most of the time, which is nuts. I rarely have time to actually sit and read a book, so I’m always reading on the go on this tiny screen, lol. I’m hoping to actually sit down with a paperback and a glass of wine this week and actually enjoy it for once!

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  4. I had a Nook and loved it. Now I have an iPad and love it even more because all my Nook and Kindle books are on it too. I used to climb on a plane with my carry-on bulging with books. Now I waltz in clutching my iPad, and if I happen to lose interest in a book (sorry, it does occur every now and then), I can always play Solitaire.

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    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      Free cell! I just had to delete it from my tablet. I was becoming obsessed. Ereaders and travel go together like peanut butter and jelly.

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  5. Hello curious oyster πŸ™‚ I was adamant I didn’t want an e-reader, now it’s my primary means of reading a book. Books still remain pretty and special things to me, though. I walk in a bookstore and get very excited at all the beautiful covers and how they feel. But you’re right. No matter how you “hear” your story, it’s just important that we keep the tradition of storytelling alive.

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  6. Lise-Marie

    I am super old school and read print books. I adore the feel of the pages and the smell. I am not opposed to e readers, but it is not for me. Plus I am a bit poor and could not afford one. Love your blogs !

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  7. Elizabeth

    I read print books almost always. I occasionally will listen to an audio book in the car but only the kind of book that I don’t really care about holding in my hands to read. I’ve read a couple on my Ipad and there is something severely lacking in the experience for me. I cannot buy books anymore because I would need to a warehouse to store them so going to library every week or so is almost a religious experience for me. πŸ™‚

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    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      Another reason why you and Jamie would get along, Elizabeth. Taking William to the library is a similar thing for her. She and her little family live in a small apartment so book space is at a premium. Though she does live reading on her iPad, library books are free and they’re not rich so…

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      • Elizabeth

        Very cool. I am not rich either plus, at the rate of 4-6 books a month, I would be buried in books. My husband reads a lot too so it is definitely a family outing to the library. I also feel that I am getting some use of all my tax payer dollars. πŸ™‚ Libraries rock!

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  8. I’m with the print-book readers! Always & only in my case. I have no desire for a Kindle or any electronic reading device, but as in so many aspects of life, each to their own! (My best friend is a devotee & cannot understand my determination to resist.) Kindle et al are here to stay & I have no problem with them. Just not for me.

    I collect books. My flat (apartment) is bursting at the seams. When I run out of bookcase/wall space I shall simply pile them up on the floor! And libraries are wonderful. They are full of books! (Maybe not full – they have computers in them now too – a good thing so long as they don’t take over.)

    First & second-hand bookshops are my version of Aladdin’s cave. Since I was a child it has been the smell of books, the look of them & the feel of them that has delighted me & continues to do so. Book is one of my favourite words! πŸ˜‰

    Lovely post, Terri! Thank you!
    xXx

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    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      Hello, my lovely! I was resistant to the day I changed my mind, if that makes any sense. One day, I was absolute in my refusal to eread. The next, I was a devotee. Whims are like that.

      As an author, you will appreciate ebooks more when you see how much ore they earn than print books. About three times the royalty, and about a gazillion times the sales. No lie!

      So good to see you!

      Like

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