READING FOR PLEASURE

24 Feb

KINDLE photo: Best Amazon Kindle Price Amazon-Kindle-price-drop.jpgOnce I was a dinosaur and then I saw sense. Once I declared that an electronic book, like a Kindle or any of the others that you might stumble upon as you trawl through the gigantic internet that governs us, would never replace the papery things we love so much.

I was convinced of that. To me it was a given. Books were sacred things, their text permanent (though I did read Fahrenheit 451 and know it’s not) and modern contraptions mere shadows of the real thing.

But I got myself a Kindle and opened an account with Amazon – and suddenly I began to wonder why I’d been such a stubborn old dinosaur because the electronic book has the sort of advantages over papery things that I never dreamed would ever be available to a humble peasant like myself.

Let me explain.

I’ve already explained that when I was a callow and shallow youth I fell in love with Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings, a masterpiece created from a superb rearrangement of 26 letters and a few odd accent marks.

And when I was that shallow youth I read the book so many times even I thought I must have some obsessive disorder, some literary compulsion to ingrain my psyche with travels through Middle Earth, with the monstrous creatures that threatened the peace of a nation of happy hobbits and the glowering, evil and near omnipotent power in the East.

I make no apologies for my literary preferences, not then and not now. We all have our fetishes and that was mine.

I think I explained quite recently that I’d downloaded my favourite fantasy onto my Kindle and was going to relive the glories of my relative youth by reading it again.

Back then it was quite often bedtime reading matter because my days were remarkably filled with other, more boring, things. But I’ve long had a habit of reading in bed (though, spookily enough, I don’t do any more). I explained, also quite recently, about dud batteries in a flashlight the small boy me had.

Well, as a bigger person I had no problems with a torch because I read by proper lights, but lying in bed is such a comfortable thing that reaching for secondary stuff like a dictionary when I stumble on an unfamiliar word is one activity too many and if I chanced upon a word that was new to me I guessed its meaning from its context and hoped that my guess was right.

Well, haven’t things been up-graded since then?

My three heavy volume Lord of the Rings is now an invisible file on a small electronic device and I don’t need a dictionary because it’s got one inside it, a good one at that. I don’t need to say much more, do I, because it’s amazing how many people have Kindles these days, and you all know all about them. But my reading pleasure has blossomed. Tolkien was a learned professor and he, quite naturally, had a much wider command of the English language than is possessed by one such as me, and although his books are reasonably simply written and his use of difficult or unfamiliar words insufficient to put a simpleton off, there are words like “whin” that I’ve never met before.

Correction. I have met them before, lots of times because I’ve read the books lots of times in the callow days, but I’ve never checked them out. Now I know that whin is a kind of furze or gorse and may use it myself in the future if I find the need to write about gorse. But having stumbled upon it – and many others, incidentally – that I ignored in the long ago of my life, I’m now able to further my education of words known by brighter men than myself without disturbing the pages of a dictionary.

And I’m no longer a dinosaur because I no longer think the papery things are best.

Because I know they’re not. Whin.

© Peter Rogerson 24.02.15

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2 Responses to “READING FOR PLEASURE”

  1. georgiakevin April 9, 2015 at 3:43 pm #

    You wrote another fine post sir. I am still a dinosaur in that although I own a tablet I have yet to budget books online, I am going to………………..as soon as i can but in the mean time i am a dinosaur………………..gotta be what you are good at.

  2. Peter Rogerson April 9, 2015 at 5:39 pm #

    At the moment I’m reading the first two parts of the Tudor trilogy by Hilary Mantel – she’s currently writing the third part. Excellent reading, prompted by a first class television dramatisation (Wolf Hall) by the BBC.

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