Tuesday, April 3, 2012

We Have a Surprise Guest Blogger

A friend and fellow of blogger of mine, Marlena of Mohegan, recently posted a blog about books, reading, bookstores, and of course, Burgess Meredith.  I asked her this morning if I could repost her blog on our site, and she graciously consented.  So here it is...

The Joy of Reading

There is an old Twilight Zone episode featuring Burgess Meredith as a hen-pecked, overworked bank teller who never has enough time to read.  One day he is hiding in the vault reading at his bank when nuclear annihilation strikes. He emerges from the vault unharmed to find all the other people reduced to dust but buildings and books intact.  He is overcome with joy at the possibility of unlimited time to read when the unthinkable happens.  Myopic to the extreme, he drops his eyeglasses and they shatter.  The camera fades as he laments aloud that he has the books and the time but now he cannot see to read them.

This program was filmed in the early 1960's and has a few plot points that wouldn't hold up today.
First, eyeglasses are no longer made of glass. (Besides he might have happened on an abandoned pair somewhere or maybe a magnifying glass.)  Second,  in a nuclear holocaust the earth would probably just be totally blown away.  Third, electronic books need power.  The poor guy would not be able to recharge his Kindle if there was no source of electricity.  His unlimited book orgy wouldn't last very long.

The classic Ray Bradbury Fahrenheit 451 also suffers a world of diminishing value to books in print. Their society does not only want to eliminate the books but also the information they hold. (Sort of "Big Brother"only wants you to know what the government wants you to know) The story starts with firefighters going from house to house burning books.  All the buildings in this future time are fireproof so the fire department had to find something else to keep them busy.  There is a secret society of book people who are dedicated to saving books for posterity.  Instead of hiding the actual books each person takes it upon himself to memorize an entire book.  They are known to each other not by their names but by the title of the books they hold in their heads.  The title of the book is the temperature at which paper burns.  If that story were written today what would it be called?  At what temperatures do plastic, glass and silicon melt?

I have always been a reader.  I'd read with my flashlight under my blankets so my parents wouldn't know I wasn't asleep.  I read in the bathroom.  If I go to someones house that has no reading material in the bathroom I might just check out their medicine cabinet for something to read just to help me relax and get the job done.  (I'm not being nosy I just need a few lines of a cough medicine label or something)  I read the backs of cereal boxes.  I like to have two or three books going at the same time because I hate that empty feeling of finishing a book and not knowing what to read next.

Electronic books take all the randomness out of reading.  At work many of us bring our old books to share.  We just place them on a table in the locker room and browse.   I've found a lot of good ones that way.  For free yet!  You can't get rid of your e-books at a tag sale or donate them to a hospital or library.

My daughter complained today that her school wasted a lot of her time forcing her to learn the Dewey Decimal System which she feels will be abandoned soon.  We no longer have those old card catalogs at the public library.  Will the books be trashed as well?

I got on this subject from reading a blog of my good friend BASSO FOR HIRE.   http://bassoforhire.blogspot.com He participates with another blog called BOOKSELLERS WITHOUT BORDERS booksellerswithoutborders.blogspot.com who all seem as rabid about reading as I am, maybe more so.  I started thinking about just how much I enjoy about reading.  Not just the print but actually turning the pages, the heft of the volume in my hand, and seeing at a glance how much I have left to read.  Many of my books are cherished friends whom I'd never consider letting go.  I'd really rather not live in a world without real, paper, pulp, hardcover, paperback, leather bound, cloth bound, brand new or careworn books.

Love to all,
Marlena of Mohegan


Here's the link to her blog...Marlena of Mohegan

Marlena also very kindly referenced our lovely little domain here, as well as my personal blogsite, www.bassoforhire.blogspot.com.

So, in the interest of cross pollenation, I encourage you to visit her online, where you will find her stories of "Bariatric Renewal," opera, grandchildren, big coats, dogs and all kinds of clever and endearing observations on life, the universe, and everything.

Keep on reading!  It's good for you.

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