03 December 2010

lookin' for fun and feelin' groovy

fresh off my whirlwind touring of my award-winning presentation at the charleston conference... (okay, it was neither whirlwind or am i fresh off as it was several weeks ago) i present . . . stop the world, i wanna get off.

the title of this blog comes from the title of one of my favorite songs growing up. the words go something like...

slow down, you move too fast
you gotta make the morning last
kickin' down the cobblestones
lookin' for fun and feelin' groovy

paul simon's 59th street bridge song. goooooood times, good times. but i digress...

since i've been kinda following this e-reader/e-book/naked library thing, a LOT has happened.

amazon kindle: november 19, 2007-august 27, 2010 (3 generations of kindle 2, 3 generations of kindle dx)
barnes & noble nook: october 30, 2009-november 19, 2010 (1 original b&w nook, 1 color nook)
sony reader: november 2006-september 2010 (8 models/generations)
other e-readers: *me hunching shoulders* kobo, que pro reader,
e-reading devices: i know, the iPad, BUT also your laptop, mobile phone.

and do you know how many tablets are coming out next year?? here's just the top 5

it's the end of 2010...almost. thinking about all the things that have occurred in the e-reading stratosphere got me thinking about of all things . . . me! me and my generation (baby boomers) and the things that we used to didn't have and the things i've seen invented in my short (that's right, short!!) lifetime, so far...

i've gone from 78 speed records albums (albeit i was a wee one then) to 33 1/3 and 45 rpm vinyl records and albums, to 8-track tapes to cassettes to cds to digital. music just appears (and disappears).

i've gone from black and white televisions with knobs to change the channel and turn up the volume and FIVE networks (2 local) to high definition digitally enhanced color televisions with remote controls and way more than 57 channels and there's STILL nothing on. okay, maybe, a little something.

i've gone from rotary phones with letters for phone numbers (AD4-4327, the AD is for adirondack), to touch tone phones (all attached to the wall i might add) to cordless phones to mobile phones to cell phones, and skype. (look out george jetson).

not to mention microwave ovens, vcrs (beta and vhs), coffee makers, food processors, and the personal computer. but the one thing, i suppose, that has stayed the same is...

THE BOOK! the actual book. but if you think about it, look at all the changes that have occurred around the book. the dreaded paperback (the rock n' roll of publishing, evil, wicked), the library as place (i can eat there?), the bookstore (local vs. behemoth), the best-selling author (john grisham, are you listening?), AMAZON!!!

so the book has just been an innocent bystander, watching. but waiting?? for what? the revolution!! the 'E' (no, not electricity, you luddites, although that's a necessity) but ELECTRONICITY. (if it's not a word, it should be).

i don't know about you, but i LOVE my coffee maker, i LOVE my computer and i use my microwave just about every day. i like my washing machine and my dryer (much easier than beating my shirts on rocks). they make our life a little easier, if you make coffee, like clean laundry, or dare i say it, communicate with others outside your neighborhood. or are responsible for the yearly christmas family newsletter.

so maybe we won't feel the paper, smell the ink (???). we don't touch the vinyl records anymore but we didn't stop listening to music. can you honestly say that if you need reference information that you will head to the library BEFORE you "google" it? that you will wait for the catalog to come in the mail or head to the mall BEFORE you sneak a peak online? do you use your cell phone for more than talking? do you use it as a camera? do you text? do you use it to listen to music?

maybe the BOOK is a symbol. maybe it's the last bastion before total technological immersion. 2001-a space odyssey, i,robot, day of the triffids (oh, wait, forget the last one). the loss of physicality. our very existence!! if we can't touch it, is it real? are we real? cue space odyssey music.

trine university is going all e-textbook

university of texas opens bookless library is that legal?

i say all that to say this. in all the noise, we've forgotten the function. what does it mean "to read?" what is "reading?" why do we "read?" will you stop reading if you can only see the words on a piece of plastic? or will the story still call like a siren from the sea?

e-readers are here to stay, i think. and so are books, i think. so let's all slow down, take a breath, and sit down with a good old-fashioned . . . story.

happy reading . . . no matter the format!

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