Just before a recent trip to Cancun, I struggled with which books to bring with me. I needed enough reading material for a two long flights and a week of lounging by the pool. Which books would be best for the plane versus the beach? Will some of the books also appeal to my husband so we can share? Would that 800+ page paperback copy of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo be too heavy – literally and metaphorically – for a beach read?
In the end, I settled on five books: three novels, a collection of humorous essays and one business book. I was happy with my choices until I settled into my seat on the first flight: the woman next to me had a Sony Reader! Instantly overcome with envy and techno-lust, my flimsy paperbacks no longer seemed adequate. This woman didn’t have to worry about which books to bring on holiday — as she travelled the world, the world of literature was at her fingertips. So many choices in one amazingly thin tome!
But then, as the plane started to pull out of the gate, the pilot made the inevitable announcement: Please turn off all electronic devices…
And so my fellow passenger turned off her e-reader, stowing it safely in her carry-on luggage.
Whereas I flipped the page of my trusty paperback and kept on reading, remembering that I enjoy the feel of paper in my hand, the turning of pages. I remember that I can lend this book to my husband without giving him my entire library. I remember that my book doesn’t require batteries or charging, and probably won’t interfere with a Boeing 747’s navigation equipment.