“I cannot live without books.” – Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 1815
Does the musty smell of an antiquarian bookstore send your pulse racing? Do you think loftier thoughts in the cramped aisles of a library than in, let’s say, the local Starbuck’s? If so, you may identify with my distress when I was informed recently that my nephew had passed up an opportunity to own a lovely leather-bound edition of a favorite book, preferring instead to “just read it on my computer”.
Now don’t get me wrong. I welcome the rise of e-books for their convenience and ease of use – when traveling, for instance. But am I being old fashioned when I say that there is nothing that can substitute for the intellectual and tactile satisfaction of holding a well-written and well-bound book? I sometimes wonder if we are heading into a future where those of my ilk will be looked upon in a similar fashion as those who insist that music sounds better on vinyl are today. If so, it is a strong argument in favor of the mortality of man. Because I, for one, would not want to live to see it.