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Thoughts while reading a book

October 14, 2021

Somehow I never quite realized when most every book I read was done on my phone. Now, I’m reading a history that isn’t available digitally. And find it an awkward thing. I’m back to using a highlighter for passages I might want to revisit. That won’t provide me an easy way to scan or search them. The dog-eared pages might help with that. That physical piece of bound paper always finds itself to some place where I don’t expect it to be, when I want to read it. It is never with me if I’m out and about. And once I finish, I will have to find a permanent place for it on my shelves. All things we once took for granted, as part and parcel of reading, now revealed as encumbrances.

Edgar_Degas_Portrait_of_DurantyIf I admit to some nostalgia for musty stacks, the truth is that card catalogs and inter-library loans and qualifications to visit restricted stacks always were both barrier and tool. There was joy in finding a referenced work that contained what you had hoped, mostly because the route to discovery was tricky. The literate world has changed. If some curmudgeons complain, they will no more wrangle the genie back in the bottle than has any curmudgeon past. The truth is I like having my library with me, on a tool I carry with me anyway for many other purposes. And yes, that library includes the marine charts for the waters that interest me. As the marketing quip goes, there’s an app for that. 

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