Wednesday, October 9, 2013
But I never knew how much until I read this article by Evan Hughes. Books seem to possess some surprising virtues, including:
* Unlike other more pliant media, they resist what the author calls "disaggregation" but what one might also call "fragmentation" or perhaps even "atomism."
* They resist the opposite phenomenon: bundling or lumping. They are difficult to market as a packaged good. The book consumer wants his book--all of it, and nothing else.
* They are insulated from the charms of "sensual verisimilitude." Or, where such matters of the flesh are concerned, sensuality peaks in a low-tech medium and increases with age.
* "Sharing" isn't at all the point. Keeping is the point. Living together with--for a good long time--is the point. Seeing them with you, year after year, is the point. If you borrow a book, for heaven's sake (and for the lender's) return it.
Books want to be attached. They want to be conserved and they don't want to leave your side. They want to be loyal and they expect loyalty in return. Books don't want to be free.