The Daily Inkling prompt today is ‘skimming it’. Not exactly what the prompt suggested, but a different slant on the idea.
You chose me for the cover, skimmed over the first impressions. Easy, you thought, undemanding, something to pick up for the beach. Just thumbing through, you never noticed someone had been here before, made notes in the margins. You never noticed the scorings and underlinings, the angry red marks. You read the blurb and thought you knew me cover to cover. When the plot twisted in a way you didn’t like, you gave up, posted a one star review and moved on.
I never had to read between the lines, I knew you from the word go, the inattentive and superficial kind, looking out for typos and plot holes, ignoring the poetry. You didn’t understand pathos or tragedy, not even drama. What you looked for was a thrill, a frisson of excitement; you weren’t interested in depth, in savouring nuance. Once the novelty was over you had no intention of revisiting the same pleasures. You think you were the one who ended it, closing the story decisively, putting me back on the shelf. You couldn’t see there was so much that went over your head. It wasn’t that you had lost the plot; you were never in it.
I see you sometimes, flipping idly through magazines, your attention span of the average goldfish tested to the limit, while I am clasped firmly in the hands of someone who has the sensitivity and patience to smooth out the dog ears and mend the tears, someone who doesn’t need a dictionary to get past, hello.
Today my Kindle arrived. All I can say is, it’s a good job I got the simplest, most foolproof model, because it has taken me hours to get it set up. Mainly because it won’t charge on my computer, and then because Amazon wouldn’t recognise my account. It’s sorted now—charged on husband’s computer, and hooked up to husband’s Amazon account. You’d think the Taliban had infiltrated the Amazon eco-system.
I was getting on fine with WIP until the postman beat on the door and knocked the letterbox off in his inimitable fashion—he does this regularly, trying to push large parcels through a small slot, but today he did it without trying to push anything through; it’s a knack he has.
The first fight scene was out of the way, the first argument scene was dusted off, and I was steaming ahead with some extreme introversion, when the Kindle took over. Will this be a life-changing experience? It doesn’t look like a book. Will I enjoy reading from it?
It’s rare that I buy new books. Most of the books I own are second hand, and the rest come from the library. Smelly, dog-eared books hold no mystery for me, nor do books with the odd page torn out, or some stupid comment scrawled in red biro over a particularly good bit. Then there are the dubious smears and stains that make me want to wash my hands every time I turn a page, and certainly preclude reading in bed. If that’s what people mean when they talk about the print book experience, then I can’t say I’ll miss it.
The Kindle doesn’t smell of musty old paper, but nor does it smell of whatever the last owner dropped it in. So, I won’t get the bacteria, but on the positive side, the Kindle is certainly lighter than any paperback and the pages stay open all by themselves. The text is clearer than many mass-market paperbacks with their smeary ink and super-absorbant paper. Not to mention the lurid covers.
Tonight will be the test. Tonight I will curl up with my (clean) Kindle, click on the only book I have so far purchased, and I’ll see if I manage to read it without too much nostalgia for the whiff of…