Words are im­por­tant

Of mak­ing many books...

The Compass - - OPINION -

used in high school, “ Words Are Im­por­tant.” I would study new words, then try and in­cor­po­rate them into my speech, much to the con­ster­na­tion of fam­ily and friends, es­pe­cially when the words were used in­cor­rectly!

One sen­tence I learned early was, “Are you in­sin­u­at­ing that I should tol­er­ate such di­a­bol­i­cal non­sense from an in­fe­rior such as you whose brains are in­suf­fi­ciently so­phis­ti­cated to com­pre­hend my ex­is­ten­tial phi­los­o­phy?” That re­ally im­pressed my friends, con­sid­er­ing that none of us re­al­ized I was ac­tu­ally in­sult­ing them!

Text­books were fol­lowed by the Bi­ble (only the King James Ver­sion, of course), Sun­day school pa­pers and sim­i­lar “ holy read­ing,” as my pas­tor-fa­ther dubbed it.

There was a se­ries of ju­ve­nilia, the Danny Orlis books. (While writ­ing this ar­ti­cle, I did an In­ter­net search for this chap. To my sur­prise, Danny Orlis the porn star came up! He is def­i­nitely not the Danny Orlis my brother and I read!) These tame books, drip­ping with spir­i­tual morals, were al­most re­quired read­ing for Pen­te­costal Preach­ers’ Kids! To this day, I re­call two ti­tles, “Danny Orlis and the An­gle In­let Mys­tery” and “Danny Orlis and the Dry Gulch Mys­tery.” What sus­pense and in­trigue!

At the same time, many of my grade school friends were read­ing the Hardy Boys mys­ter­ies by Franklin W. Dixon who, I just learned, again on the In­ter­net, never even ex­isted! How­ever, Ed­ward L. Strate­meyer (1862-1930), the se­ries cre­ator, did ex­ist.

Of course, my read­ing has since taken me far be­yond the Hardy Books. I now read al­most any and ev­ery­thing be­tween two cov­ers!

A revo­lu­tion in read­ing

You may won­der where I’m headed in this week’s col­umn. Please bear with me.

Book read­ing has changed greatly since the sim­ple days of “See Spot run!” There has been a vir­tual revo­lu­tion in read­ing. Wit­ness, for ex­am­ple, “E-read­ing.” Ac­cord­ing to the Ox­ford Dic­tio­nary of English, an Ebook is “an elec­tronic ver­sion of a printed book which can be read on a per­sonal com­puter or hand­held de­vice de­signed specif­i­cally for this pur­pose.”

I by no means con­sider my­self to be tech­no­log­i­cally chal­lenged. I make a liv­ing as a writer, edi­tor and on­line in­struc­tor. I work with com­put­ers al­most ev­ery wak­ing moment and would be at a se­vere dis­ad­van­tage with­out my PC.

I have heard all the ar­gu­ments in favour of E-read­ing. E-books prom­ise easy ac­cess, with no need for one to lug around heavy and un­wieldy books. I can save both time and money by no longer hav­ing to make pe­ri­odic out-of-town trips to Chap­ters. E-books con­serve space. And, per­haps most sig­nif­i­cant, E-books are en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly. The ar­gu­ments in favour of E-read­ing can­not be gain­said.

My pref­er­ence

At the same time, I re­main par­tial to hard copy, print, hand­held books. For me per­son­ally, there is noth­ing quite like hold­ing a book in my left hand and a Tim’s cof­fee in my right hand, with my dog Madisyn nestling be­side me as I read con­tent­edly while wait­ing for the house to come awake in the morn­ings.

Hav­ing said this, I am the first to ad­mit that I am what my chil­dren call “an old fo­gey.” I don’t even have a Face­book ac­count, while ap­par­ently ev­ery­body else in the world does! Well, I did...for a day. But, af­ter about 100 peo­ple asked to be my friend, I pan­icked and can­celled my ac­count.

While I much pre­fer print books over E-books, I re­al­ize the day is un­doubt­edly com­ing when E-read­ing will be the or­der of the day. And, I ex­pect that I will even­tu­ally em­brace the lat­est tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances in read­ing. To quote C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) in an en­tirely dif­fer­ent con­text, at that time, hope­fully I won’t be “ brought kick­ing, strug­gling, re­sent­ful, and dart­ing [my] eyes in ev­ery di­rec­tion for a chance of es­cape.” I would like to think that, when that time fi­nally ar­rives, I will be pleased to whole­heart­edly em­brace it.

Now, I won­der which book in the pile on the floor I should pick up and read next...

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