The last real book I read was Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. Protagonist, Guy Montag, fights against a dystopian world gone mad: firemen using flamethrowers, robot dogs chasing the innocent, and books burnt to a crisp by an ignorant public going the way of underrated film, Idiocracy.
Bradbury’s story takes on a more somber tone, painting a vivid, prophetic world where literature is banned by the public. People spend their time bombarded with media, ear-buds spouting their ludicrous tales, television sets spanning the walls of a living room… sound kind of familiar?
For a book about literature’s importance, this one is quite small (only 165 pages in the paperback version). It’s all the better for it. Bradbury is frugal and choosy with his words, allowing your imagination to fill in the rest. I loved the story and the characters; the warnings of life without Shakespeare and Milton were simply chilling. Give it a try at your local bookstore or Amazon server. You won’t find it anywhere on an electronic file.
This brings me to the real reason for the post. Fahrenheit 451 is the last hard copy of literature I read before buying a nook, Barnes and Nobel’s critically acclaimed eBook.
Have you caught the irony here? After reading about burning literature, I bought an eReader that is making those same hardcopy books, relics of a bygone age.
We are shifting away from the trees, and not only with books. Touch sensitive iPads, iphones, and Droids, are making paper itself obsolete. The tree-hugger’s dream is about to be realized! Guilt trips had nothing to do with it now. We’re moving from wood to bytes, all in the name of convenience.
The same thing happened in the late 90s with the upraising of cell phones. I’m 28-years-old and I don’t know anyone my age that owns a personal land line.
Remember those rotary dial telephones?
This isn’t a bad thing by the way. Books aren’t being burned, their being upgraded. And it’s about time. Movies and television can already be viewed electronically using Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu. Music made the move years ago, from CDs to downloadable files on your iPod. You can now even download triple A video games on your PC via Steam, Impulse, or Direct to Drive. One of the oldest art mediums of all has finally caught up with the rest.
I have to admit reading on the nook felt awkward at first. I kept wanting to tangibly turn the page. I missed the feel and smell of paper. All that quickly faded as I smelt the nook’s leather binder, quoting G.K. Chesterton: Literature is a luxury; fiction is a necessity. E Ink allows for words to show up on my nook as clearly as real ink on a page. It all fits quite well in my hands. This means no more awkward positions or reading half bent pages in bed.
The nook itself comes with a free copy of Dracula and Pride and Prejudice. I decided to buy something a little more exciting. Scott Westerfeld’s steam punk world of Leviathan has replaced Bradbury’s high-brow literature
What is more, I’m in the process of self-publishing an ebook of my own.
You might as well jump on the band wagon here. Ten years from now, it will be the only way to read anything noteworthy, unless you wish to read something by Ray Bradbury. He hates the internets…