At the dentist’s office yesterday, Dr. Jenny White’s assistant, Ann, declared that printed books would definitely cease to exist. She may have put a “by year __” on her statement, but I was already lying there with my mouth open and the fight-or-flight part of my brain buzzing. I couldn’t bear hearing the first part of Ann’s claim let alone absorb a deadline date. Happily, Dr. White seemed equally perturbed by the prediction.
You wouldn’t think the concept of a world without physical books (just digital books) would upset me so much anymore. Ann’s not the only one making the prediction; I’ve been reading it for at least a decade. But I still have a visceral reaction when I imagine not being able to leaf back and forth and caress the pages as I go in search of exactly where the mood shifted or the character tripped. Ann said, “You could still have used books,” which made me feel better.
Then this morning I saw the picture shown here and knew its truth. No wonder a number of romantic stories are set in bookstores. I love, too, that the artist included a cat. (If anyone knows who created this art, please tell me so I can include a proper credit line–or delete it because it requires payment. I grabbed it off Pinterest, where someone posted it on a Literary Inspiration group board.)
The talk of books prompted Dr. White to tell me she sees Stephen King all the time because they live near each other on Casey Key. She’ll be out jogging and he’ll be driving down the street–in a car, Jenny pointed out, that someone of far, far lesser means might drive–and he’ll extend his long arm out the window and give her a wave. I told her what a nice person he is and how I want to be his friend. She said she’d get to work on that. This was all in jest because she doesn’t really know him, just has that sweet interaction now and then.
Can you imagine a more satisfying trip to the dentist than I had yesterday? All that and clean teeth, too.
All well and good if you live in a First World Country. If you live in Africa, as I do, its going to be a long, long, long time before e-books make any inroads in most of the continent. Paper is here to say – I’m pleased to say.
Hi Alison41 – Thanks for chiming in! Very important to be reminded that the whole world isn’t like one’s own corner of it. Your reminder about books vs. e-books ties in with a recent Facebook posting by my (freshman-year college) grandson about being taken aback to discover he’d have to go to the library to research eleventh century Icelandic laws (for a paper about Vikings) instead of just finding what he needed on the Internet. Guess not every book in the world has been transcribed yet… It’s reassuring.