once upon a time

A few weeks ago, while visiting a Barnes & Noble, I happened upon a pretty display of what turned out to be covers for e-readers. I was both excited and disappointed; the covers were kate spade (I love kate spade) and super cute, but they were made for e-readers, which I despise with every fiber of my being. Despite this loathing, I felt the need for closer inspection of the prettiest one, which happened to be green. Picking it up I noticed the words “once upon a time” scrawled neatly across the front.

Not to be overly dramatic or anything, but I felt like someone had punched me. I called my sister to express an only half-coherent rant because my brain was moving faster than the words could be articulated. It went something like “KATE SPADE BOOKS ONCE UPON A TIME NOOOOO” or a sentence of similar intelligence.

I love books. I do not like e-readers. I’m not trying to be a Luddite or resist the progress of society or any similar arguments made in their favor. The environmentalist in me sees the practicality of not chopping down as many trees (though those making this argument never seem to get around to mentioning the mining of metals that goes into production of those e-readers, like Kindles just grow on trees – ha! but I digress).

“Once upon a time…” evokes a certain romance that belongs solely to the world of books. I know e-reader devotees often argue that they are books, just in a different form, but I disagree; this is an argument greater than semantics. A book is a Book with a capital B, not prefaced by any vowels. It has pages you turn yourself, not by tapping on a screen, even if it “doesn’t look like a screen.”

This is not a crusade against e-readers per se, because I have friends who love theirs and if it helps people read more, then why not. I also fervently hope that this doesn’t translate into me being a crazy old lady who builds a fort out of books to keep out the world.

Tonight it is raining and I think appropriate bedtime reading will be one of my favorites, “A Wrinkle in Time.” I kind of love the idea that I will not only read that fabulous first line, but also feel it practically lift off the well-worn page (physical evidence that my love affair with this book has spanned a number of years): “It was a dark and stormy night.”

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