"The day my screen lost its gleam by Natasha Robinson
It is hard to pinpoint the exact moment I fell out of love. Something just died and I cannot quite say when or why. all I know is I haven't touched my Kindle in weeks. Like a spouse keeping up appearances when a marriage has long crumbled, I keep buying books that sit in my electronic library, unread. Or I stop halfway through a novel that I desperately want to finish, because I cannot face pushing that sliding button, or seeing that black and white image of Emily Dickinson flicker into view when the screen saver activates one more godforsaken time. The e-book is dead to me.
I have reverted to a world of nostalgia and fantasy. My daydreams take me to Ski Lanka's tea country, to Nuwara Eliya where about 15 years ago I rad the bulk of Anna Karenina in betwen games of chess. It was the fattest book I had ever read. I held it in my hands and i felt I'd climbed a literary mountain.
I cannot remember achieving that kind of immersion in an e-book Certainly, right now when I look at my Kindle it leaves me feeling cold. I crave absorption in something that doesn't have a screen or emit light.
Five years ago, my former colleague Corrie Perkin departed journalism after a distinguished 30-year career to open a bookshop, right at the peak of the market upheavals that saw publishing giants such as Collins go into administration. "Everybody said we were crazy, " Corrie says. "But I had an innate belief that as our daily lives became more and more linked to the iPad and the iPhone, that in our leisure time we may want to spend less time on those devices. For a meaningful engagement with a book ... a tactile, tangible, physical item is the thing that people keep coming back to." The gamble paid off. Corrie's bookstore, My Bookshop, is about to open its second premises in Melbourne.
There is another aspect too. As we speak, Corrie is looking at her own bookshelves, where she has a collection of books left behind by her father, the acclaimed newspaper editor Graham Perkin, who died when Corrie was 14 years old. "He was a big reader, she says. "I have stacks of his books; they connect him to me."
My mother, too, kept some of our childhood books. John Brown and the Midnight Cat was a favourite of me and my sister. Now I read that story to my children. The pages are tattered, more than a few held together with sticky tape But it's a physical marker of a tradition, of a head resting in the nook of a mother's arm after bath time, a time of absorption that is all too rare in the electronic world. Long may it live."
Those of you who regularly read e-books may not agree with this article and I would love to read your comments about it. Even though my hands hurt when holding a book, I still don't know that I would get the same feeling of connection to the story from an e-book. It certainly made me have second thoughts anyway.