Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Non Fiction: Books

This is the second half of an essay written in Fall 2009 for my intermediate-level creative nonfiction class. Since I'm not particularly interested in messing with the peice anymore, and nobody's likely to be interested in the ranting opinion of an unknown writer, I figured I'd put it here.

Hey. Do me a favor.

The next time you pick up a book, whether it’s an old favorite or a new release or some random library find, don’t just read it. Take a little time to experience it. Appreciate it .

Look at it first, without contact. Admire it from afar, all of it, from its cover to the dimensions. Do you know how much work went in to planning those dimensions, designing that cover, piecing together every inch of that book? That, my friend, is not just a container of knowledge or a repository of data. That is a work of art.

Touch it. Fingertips first, then palms, then cheek. The skin of your lips is the among the most sensitive on your body – if they’re dry enough and the proclivity strikes you, you can use them too.

Feel it. All of it. The cover, the pages, the binding, the spine, separately, then together. Experience its parts to better understand its while.

Smell it. The ink. The paper. Remember that smell, that wonderful musty book smell, encrusted by ancient dust or so new that the pages are still warm to the touch.

Admire it. The illustrations and typography were carefully selected, crafted just for you, the reader. Show your appreciation for all of the creators’ hard work.

Then read it. Love it. Discuss the story with others. Share the love. Remember the literature. Cherish the experience.

Now imagine, if you will, that same text as perceived through a plastic frame and window of glass. Imagine that every book is viewed this way, from a distance, its content regulated by the standards of the system. Every book, every precious experience, becomes uniform. Everything is exactly the alike. Exactly the same.

I am Bibliophile. I love my books desperately, from the stories they tell to the warm, familiar weight in my hands. Reading, despite what some will try to tell you, is not an action. It is an experience, a connection forged between you, the reader, and something greater than anyone could ever hope to be alone.

Cold plastic, glass and steel will never give you that kind of connection.

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