Saturday, March 26, 2016


Work continues, of course. As noted yesterday, my father-in-law and stepmother-in-law are here at Sherwood Cottage to help with the preparations for the Mrs. and I to end our sojourn on the wind-swept plains. They managed to get quite a bit done while I was not looking, which I suppose comes off as some kind of example of unearned privilege but which I am certain was offered simply as an expression of familial love. Once I got home from the regular job, I did my part, tending further to the books that we had had secreted away. Many of them will be donated off; they will do somebody some good somewhere and somewhen, but we will not be carrying them with us anymore. We have enough other things to take with us when we leave, and if I have not even thought about books read idly years ago, I do not need to have them in hand. Perhaps in that theoretical day far off when I have a library, I shall return to such things, but this is not that time.

Packing away box after box after box after box of books reminds me of arguments in favor of electronic texts. To be sure, I make use of such things; the freelance work of writing up treatments of novels (currently in abeyance, which is not wholly to my pleasure, but there is little I can do to pull in orders when they are not being offered) has relied largely upon electronic books, and I do keep a few volumes wholly for my own interest on an e-reader my wife got for me as a present some years back. Packing boxes of books to move once again confirms for me the convenience of the e-book, that I can more easily carry it about and read it at my leisure, and that I can adjust many paratextual features easily so that I have an easier time of the reading. (I tend to prefer a darker background and lighter text on a screen. I suppose I show my age in that; "computing" still reads as something that "should" be colored text on black, and in a simpler font, to boot.)

I am not opposed to e-books in principle. I do not find them as amenable to my purposes as printed texts, however. There is the aesthetic component, of course; there is something pleasant about having walls lined with books, and there is a certain impression created by having them. I also still page through printed books more quickly than I do electronic documents, turning faster than I can scroll. It is easier for me to scan for things when I do not recall my search terms exactly--which happens more commonly than I care to have. And marginalia show up better in penciled or inked comments in the namesake margins and between lines than in highlights that hide and demand precise pressures blunt and insensate fingers cannot always provide. Thinking on such things reminds me of why I get to pack and move boxes as work continues. If nothing else, though, I can use the exercise, and we have enough weight to move around in print...

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