Had a bit of time to spare in Middlebury earlier, and stopped by the library to use their computers. But, the computers were all occupied, and I didn’t have my laptop with me, so I picked up a novel from one of the front displays. “Rurally Screwed: My Life Off the Grid With the Cowboy I Love”. I’d like to say that it was the “Off the Grid” part that caught my eye, but it was probably the good-looking legs on the cover photograph. Anyway, I sat down in one of the easy chairs and started to read it. Interesting; an autobiographical account of a trendy city girl and fashion editor from Manhattan who meets and falls in love with a cowboy in Montana while on assignment. I wouldn’t mind finishing it; perhaps it appealed to my feminine side.
But, I don’t live in Middlebury, so I can’t check books out from their library. So this brought to mind something I’ve been wondering for a while—should I get an e-reader, like a Kindle or Nook? I could order a “real” copy of the book on Amazon, but if I had a Kindle I could download it in just a minute, then and there, and then I wouldn’t have to wait. Some of my kids at school have them, and seem to like them. And, pertinent to this website, would an e-reader be better or worse for the environment? So I did a little web-searching when I got home, and apparently they would indeed be better. Here’s a column from The Green Lantern that lays it all out. Short version, taking everything into account, it appears that e-readers “break even” in terms of environmental impact somewhere around book number twenty.
So, I’ll consider this. I’d rather not complicate my life with more gadgets, and certainly don’t want a fully-connected digital leash/smart phone. But, I’ve been reading The Economist online, but I much prefer the “real” magazine. This isn’t just because it’s on paper, I just prefer browsing the full version; I feel like I miss half of the magazine when I click on this or that story on the online version. This is true of Time magazine, or any of the other ones I read online. But I don’t really want a paper copy of every magazine every week; it just seems like a tremendous environmental cost for the few minutes I might spend with any particular issue. But, I suppose I’d like to read The Economist, or other magazines, in color. But the “e-ink” screens work fantastic in full sunlight, but are all black and white. I can’t stand reading on the computer LCD screen outdoors—it just doesn’t work well. Some issues to figure out.
Perhaps a bigger issue– I really like my paper books. Back to whether or not our belongings are part of our identities, perhaps this is in no case more true than a person’s books. When someone comes to my house, they can peruse my bookshelves and get a pretty good idea of who Taborri Bruhl is. Plus, I like writing in the margins of books when I read, and, I like having those books that I like around to reread. The latter of which I suppose can be done with an e-reader; perhaps it’s just yet another paradigm shift.
My wife just saw my title; she said I don’t have a feminine side. I’m not sure whether to take that as a compliment or as an insult.