While bibliophile tortoises shun the evil digital destroyer, I hippety-hopped aboard the e-book revolution sans reservation, having been an owner of Kindle 1st generation. I am not nostalgic for that earthy book scent, the graze of wafer sheets against my fingertips, the multi-colored mélange of rectangles stacked upon shelves. Though a romantic of the early nineteenth century sort, I am not a traditionalist and can easily forgo old conventions in favor of new conveniences.
I read multiple books per period, usually one fiction piece and six or seven non-fiction works. With digital format, I no longer have to tote around baskets of books, impeaching fallen bookmarks for losing my page. Credit to my old-school teachers, I still tremble at the thought of book vandalism—underlined or highlighted passages, hand-written margin notes, dog-eared corners. Instead, I rely on marked post-it strips which quickly multiply and crinkle, failing in their duty to help me find sought-for passages. In e-books, I highlight passages and add notes with pre-school abandon, the search function serving as my trusty bloodhound, pinpointing exact quotes and selections. And, where my grandmother tried but failed, e-books can be merited with my increased tolerance for waiting (commonly known as patience). Traffic, flights, long lines, doctor’s offices, sporting events—no more huffing, grumbling, or crossing arms, for good company is always at hand.
I am not the finest memorizer of meanings and am cursed with being a definition double-checker, consulting my hefty reading complement (the 1984 Southwestern Student Handbook, Volume 2, purchased by my mother from a door-to-door salesman and paid for in installments), even when I am upwards of ninety percent certain that I recall the correct meaning. My pal has been retired, and in its place, magic. I highlight a word and the definition appears. I conjured up one dozen definitions today while reading House of Mirth.
I close with a vocabulary list, à la Mrs. Flanagan, sixth grade.
House of Mirth Vocabulary
adj. apt in the circumstances or in relation to something.
n. INFORMAL, DATED, CHIEFLY BRIT. a dishonorable man.
n. a piece of armor consisting of breastplate and backplate fastened together.
<SPECIAL USAGE> a hard protective cover on an animal.
n. a thing that is inappropriate, esp. a remark or expression.
<SPECIAL USAGE> ARCHAIC unhappiness, misfortune.
n. a gold-colored alloy of copper, zinc, and sometimes tin, cast into desired shapes and often gilded, used esp. in the 18th century for decorating furniture and making ornaments.
n. the outer part of a bird’s wing including the flight feathers.
n. the state of being of being close to someone or something; proximity.
v. win or regain the favor of (a god, spirit, or person) by doing something that pleases them.
v. RARE add (something) to what has already been added.
adj. present in excess of the normal or requisite number
adj. CHIEFLY POETIC/LITERARY consisting of or associated with woods; wooded.
adj. bringing little or no profit or income.
Sunday night, 8:58 pm. Nothing satisfies me. I do not want to read, my eyes cry for a break from artificial glare. The television remains in exile. Mouth and ears unite in unwillingness, I do not want to talk nor listen to talk. It is too early to sleep, my mind too restless for wakeful dreaming.
I want to read a book, a real book. I want an organic companion. I want to flip through pages. I want to make a cute bookmark. I was prideful and flippant. Mea culpa.