I am staunchly anti-Kindle. I get why people like them. I even get why I would probably like one. But I refuse. I just like holding a physical book in my hands. Also, having iTunes-like ease of purchasing books would make me even poorer than I am.
When I worked as a newspaper reporter, boomers repeatedly waxed poetic to me about how much they just loved the feel of the newspaper between their fingers and couldn’t imagine a morning in which they didn’t sit at their kitchen table, drink their coffee, read their newspaper….to which I would think in my head, “Yeah? And when you’re done you hop in your Model T and drive to work, right?” Except I would smile and tell them that, even though I had a newspaper placed on my desk every morning (Thanks Nick), I much preferred reading all the same stories on my computer screen (in the days before pay walls, but that’s another story for another time), as do most people younger than 40. When I have time to spread a paper out and leisurely page through it, I do. But this isn’t often and certainly not feasible upon arrival at work.
I think I’ve turned into the millennial version of the paper-defending boomer with my weird Kindle-phobia. I wouldn’t mind an iPad for magazine subscriptions, because those things pile up forever and only get more raggedy. But books…those are non-negotiable.
You know how I roll? With four bucks in fines at the Boston Public Library. (sorry, library)
And so, in reading all these borrowed books, I find lines and paragraphs that I would normally underline if I owned the book. I dog-ear the bottom of the page and think “Oh maybe I’ll blog about this” and then carry on my business of reading and returning and ultimately forgetting.
I found this truthy little nugget in a copy of the Best American Magazine Writing of 2008* I had just picked up at the central BPL after work:
“Journalists are both haves and have-nots. They’re at the feast, but know they don’t really belong – they’re fighting for table scraps, essentially – and it could all fall apart at any moment.” – Vanessa Grigoriadis, “Everybody Sucks,” New York.
Even though I turned my press pass in two years ago, I still identify more with journalism than any other profession. I can’t explain it, especially because I’m enjoying marketing communication and public relations and I willingly left, when too many others are forced out by layoffs and buyouts. I left because I knew I had to and that there wouldn’t be a solid future for me. The different ways that people treat you as a reporter are interesting, which this snippet is kind of getting at. To some people, you’re a huge deal and wield enormous power. To other people, you’re a problem to be dealt with or a gnat to be shooed away. Mostly though, I miss the newsroom environment and all its grumbling, cursing and colorful characters. I may be spoiled for anything else – I have a fairly hard time not casually dropping F-bombs at work and I don’t think it’s appreciated in more civilized workplaces.
*Friendly suggestion: I (or, rather, my short attention span does) love these ASME anthologies. I really enjoy long-form magazine journalism, but acquiring all the magazines and toting them around can be a pain and whole pages of text columns with seemingly endless jumps can look daunting. (Worth noting: most of my reading happens on public transit or on the beach.) These nifty little books are the best of both worlds: paperback pages without novel-length stories.