It's the autobiography of Mark Twain, a gift from my wife. "You need a book to read," she said when she handed it to me. It's been a fascinating introduction to life 100 years and more ago, including interesting stories of President Grant and others. I'm still not sure I'll get through it, but at least it still lies there on the corner table by the lamp, reminding me there are worlds to discover inside, gently prodding me to sit down and stay away from the computer.
It probably won't become one of my friends, like the many that line the bookshelves in the house, but I won't know until later. If not,it'll end up in the garage, or book book sale or... .
I do know that it wouldn't be the same picking up an e-reader, and even though I may buy one of those for lightweight air travel, I spend too much time in front of a digital screen as it is to want to read books and newspapers that way.
Frankly, I enjoy the feel of pages, the sense of discovery that comes from turning pages. It's sensory, and I can mark the favorite parts up with underlines, or stars in the margins, or brackets or other comments. Yes, you can highlight stuff on the ereaders, but come on, it's not like underlining John 3:16 in the redletter version of the New Testament. That highlight is impersonal. When I mark in a book, it's because I have found a personal connection.
In our house the bookshelves are scattered, and not orderly and sterile like the TV law libraries you see. The books on those shelves have degrees of personality just like the books. Susan also uses them to help decorate, under lamps, on tables, and elsewhere. They're part of who we are.
Yes, we've recently cleaned many out that just cluttered the shelves. They're in the garage, ready to be sold or given away. Sort of like erasing a book from an e-reader. But not the ones on my book shelves that I love to pick up and turn pages in.