What will I do without Percy?
If any of you follow us on Facebook (which you should!) then you will know that I recently updated my kindle. I retired poor Percy the Paperwhite, who for the last 6 months has been trying to keep on keeping on. We had a good three and a half years together, but I’m sending him off to the farm for a rest.
*moments silence for Percy*
Right, now Percy is out the way I can start talking about my younger, sexier model. Everyone, meet Fredrika von Voyage, or Freddy for short. We are about to embark on some adventures together into worlds unknown, to see characters unmet and engage in exciting hi-jinks, attempt to fall in love as many times as we can and generally just have a smashing good time. We will laugh, we will cry and at times I may be tempted to throw poor Freddy across the room – don’t worry Freddy you’re perfectly safe, it would be wrong of me to take my frustrations out on you, plus, you are far too expensive to replace.
What I wanted to talk about though was how technology has transformed reading. And it all started when I started to panic when Percy started to malfunction. Thoughts like “What will I do without Percy?” started to surface. Which, in turn got me thinking…when did having an e-Reader, and a kindle more specifically, become so essential to enabling me to read? Which lead me to thinking about technology in general and how it’s changed our reading experience.
To really put my “What will I do without Percy?” thought into context, I started looking at the history of books and it’s fascinating and there’s far too much detail for me to do it justice here, for instance, did you know they used to write books with no space between letters or grammar? canyouimaginehowhardthatwouldbetoreadespeciallyifitisawholebook. We have gone from cave paintings, to stone tablets, to papyrus, to paper, to handwritten books, block printed books, machine printed books, mass produced paperbacks, to the kindle…what a journey! For most of human history books, when they existed at all, have been a costly commodity, having a library was a sign of status, of how wealthy you were. It would be unheard of for someone like me, staunchly middle class, to have the hundreds of books that I own. And that’s just the physical books.
My small glimpse into the past has made me feel extremely lucky. I build my collection up with little regard to just how remarkable it is that I live in a time and place that I can do that. And books are such a unique resource, they enable you to go places that you’ve never been, be they real or fantasy, meet new and interesting characters, witness events, absorb new ideas and points of view. They are such small, everyday but extraordinary things and each time you pick one up, whether it’s a paperback, hardback or an ebook, you have thousands of years worth of progress in your hand.
So, “What will I do without Percy?”, like humankind has always done, I will find another way. Be that taking a tiny step forward by getting the latest model kindle, or I will pick up one of my favourite paperbacks. Either way, words and books are too important to me, not, to have that mini panic.