The End of Paperbacks

Electronic readers are everywhere. This will be the future, it is inevitable. As iPods overtook CDs, which overtook cassettes, so the electronic readers will replace the delightfully cumbersome paperback novels that line our shelves. It was only a matter of time for the comfort of a well-worn novel to fall by the wayside for the ability to carry hundreds of books at once.

This is not to say that Kindles, Readers and other brands of this device are not without advantages. On average $200 to $400, they are certainly not a bad investment in comparison to a library full of hardbacks. There are hundreds of thousands of ebooks available to purchase with some available for free. They have bookmark functions and sophisticated screens meant to mimic the real thing. Electronic readers hold up to hundreds of books, allowing for mood rather than availability to decide your reading material.

Eventually libraries will be obsolete and books will be museum pieces, and the sensation of reading will be forever different. But for me, the tactile experience of a book, an actual book, is part of the magic. The smell of old pages, the smoothness of a worn cover, the satisfaction of picking up a book and remembering the last time you held it, these things are part of the experience. And something I will not give up.

The Well Written Rape

Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones probably sat on everyone's shelves untouched as other more interesting looking books passed the readers eyes first. I can tell you that was the case with me. I always saw something that I thought looked better, more interesting, more what I was in the mood know. I had no idea what I was missing.

Sebold’s writing is a masterful handling of this delicate art. The rape and murder of a young girl is something that must be done so carefully. The reader must witness her pain; the writer must flesh out the sensations but not so much as to be smothering. You must have enough pain, embarrassment, helplessness, powerlessness and fear to make it real, yet refrain from taking to the complete truth, which is a violence we can’t handle.

Sebold crafts this key scene with a care and precision that makes you know you can trust her; that she will be taking you somewhere real. Very often authors create something and hope that readers will embrace it, allow this story in. But Sebold created a world that allows the reader in. This gift is so rare and the distinction between the two so hard to make, that very few are recognized for being able to do this.

Her prose is beautiful, the story compelling, but the thing that rises strongest from this work is Sebold's talent. Quiet and unassuming, it envelops and draws you in. And when you reach the end, the hold that was placed upon you, completely unawares, is broken. As it slowly dissipates, a quiet satisfaction settles in.
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This work by H.E. Saunders is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.