Monday, September 5, 2011

BOOKS + by Mary Andrews

Well it’s school time again and all the students both big and small are off to classes again. And with school comes books, books and more books. Hurts my back just thinking of them all. I noticed one of the previous bloggers mentioned that some universities are handing out eReaders with school books downloaded.? THAT would certainly be the way to do that—at least for the older students. I think the little guys need full contact books just to teach them how to take care of things.

Reading’s really come a long way.

I had eclectic tastes as a kid. I burned through the base libraries and finally started reading by author instead of titles since books didn’t last long enough for me. And then there were the comic books which I first discovered at a second hand store (Neal Adams’ Xmen Sentinel storyline).Some of my fondest memories involve trips to the neighborhood store to pick them up and the rush home to read them. Between my sister, Kathy, my brother, Marvin, and myself, we collected every Marvel and most of the DC comic titles being published in the late 60’s-early 70’s.

Back in the 80’s my youngest son liked to fall asleep listening to taped stories by Kipling, Mark Twain, or other tall tales.

I gave my first grandson a stack of dominoes to play with when he was barely old enough to walk. He picked one up, turned it over a couple of times, then aimed it at the TV and pressed it like a remote control unit. He’s 13 now but it was surely a sign of the times.

Over the years I’ve been watching our technological evolution virtually flatten our way of living with its impact. We slumber on the World Wide Web like spiders, awakened by contacts and concepts from places we’ve never been. Our children are being raised in a world grown small because they can read and witness things we barely knew existed before. Reading has now become an even bigger part of our life than ever before.

Kids are reading technical manuals to play games.

My daughter-in-law tells me she reads every night to my soon-to-be newest grandson, Jack (due in Oct). She says the times she’s tried to bypass the readings, he’s kicked her into submission. Hmm.

And seniors, though sometimes hell bent against it, are slowly succumbing to the technology. My Father-in-law just recently got a FaceBook page. Turns out all his children and grandchildren are on it and there are family pictures to be shared....

So time marches on and the written word spreads.

I don’t miss the muscle building old style typewriters or old school electric typewriters either. I’ve stored my suitcase sized Kaypro for prosperity and though my husband’s game-loving PC is an available back up, I’m happiest writing on my laptop now. However, I do confess I still have a devil of a time keeping up with all the bells and whistles.

I’ll tell you what though, since I’ve gotten older, really older, I’ve become a fan of the eBook movement. I even broke down and bought a Sony Touch eReader, a couple of years ago. Yeah, I pried my forbidden credit card out of my dusty old wallet and sprang for one. I spent a great deal of time trying to justify the cost even though it was on sale, but on the last minute of the last day of the sale, I bought it. And I’m still glad I did.

As an author, reading is a necessary part of my writing process. Usually before I begin a new project I go on a reading frenzy. It inspires me and makes me want to create something wondrous. Music, movies and anime do the same thing too. So they’re part of my process as well.

Now, I don’t have cable TV or high speed internet, a cell phone or even long distance phone service, but I have a library in my home. My husband turned a double closet into a floor-to-roof shelved home for my paperbacks, magazines and Manga. The rest of the room houses my husband’s gaming/research desk and the rest of the library—or most of it since the children’s books and encyclopedias overflowed into the guest room.

Books have always been a big part of my life, but space is rapidly becoming harder and harder to find. (What do you know; it really is the last frontier!) So the eReader comes to my rescue here. When I can afford it, I still buy books that I really love, but now that I can buy eBooks with such ease at such low rates, I can afford to try out new authors and own all the titles to a huge series I otherwise could not afford. It’s all good.

But wait, there’s more! My eReader comes equipped with a dictionary, control of font size, an option to enter notes, to bookmark pages and a highlighting option as well as a word search feature. All of which really helped when I did edits for The Fireborn Chronicles: Resonances.

Today’s students sure are lucky, aren’t they? They can carry a library in their pocket. Only downside to this is it’s gonna make it hard for them to tell their kids how they had to trudge uphill through the snow carrying all those books, barefooted, to and from school every day.

Mary Andrews website:


Rosalie Skinner said...

Great post Mary. Funny how things have changed but I think it is for the better when you see how many books kids are expected to carry to school. Now there will be no reason to forget a text book for a lesson!

Great to hear of the more mature among us getting in touch through Facebook. Although many shun the internet, it would be great for them to keep in touch with people, if they could overcome their fear of new technology.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Mary, we're kindred spirits. We have the same attitudes towards books, ebooks, and writing.

Lovely post, great insight, and a delight to read. I'm reminded of my new IBM typewriter way back in 1987. I thought that thing was the greatest invention since peanut butter. Now I have a Mac computer and the thought of giving it up makes me teary. I also own a Kobo ereader, a lovely addition to my family.

Mary Andrews said...

Rosalie: My husband opened a FB account for his dad who fought us all the way. The minute we took him to his account and he got to talk to one of his grand daughters, his face lit up and he finally got a little more interest.

I was amazed at how many of my relatives are on FB--pictures and all. It really is a great way to keep in touch...and handy when emergencies happen too.

Thanks for the post.

Jolene: HIGH FIVE! Can't have enough kindred spirits in this world. Thanks for the post =])