Books, Personal, Technology

I read. What do you do?

Somewhere in John le Carre masterpiece ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’, someone tells a child, “Everyone has a talent”.

My talent is reading.

That’s it. I read. I understood this in a training session a couple of months ago when the instructor asked me what I like to read.

I read novels, books, newspapers, tweets, facebook posts, signboards, labels anything. Once I even tried to read an EULA. Of course it helps if the text is not something I’m “supposed” to read, like something academic or official.

Yeah I know. It’s not a particularly useful talent, unless you can remember everything you read. Which I can’t. But them we all have to play with the cards we’ve been dealt with. So, no complaints.

That’s why I don’t understand the hue and cry people who love reading make over ‘books’, the dead tree type, being replaced by ebook readers and their ilk like tabs, phones etc. I do understand the fact that ebooks and the like don’t give you a feeling of possession like an actual physical book can, but isn’t a book much more than the medium it is printed on?

A ‘book’ may be an idea or a set of ideas when it is non-fiction, or it may be something less serious like a story or poem when it is fiction. The paper or the electronic device on which it is read is just the channel/medium to bring the idea/story to you. To put it in crude terms, it’s function is similar to that of a middleman or a tout like the ones you see hanging outside RTO offices in India. You pay them for the convenience of getting a driver’s license license (even though you may not know how to drive). The paper or the device provides you a similar convenience by making it easier to get access to the thoughts of the author.

Would you be disappointed if the touts outside the RTO get replaced by someone/something more convenient? Then, if you like to read, why romanticise dead trees?

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