notquiteold

Nancy Roman

Carry That Weight

Genius, they call it.

And I cannot disagree.

This little gadget I can carry in my purse or tuck under my pillow or in my desk drawer so I can sneak a few paragraphs when I am supposed to be on a conference call….

kindle

My Kindle

.

Oh, I resisted for a long time.

I like books. I like turning pages and underlining and writing comments in the margin. I like seeing the bookmark work its way down chunks of book.

I like the smell of cheap thin old paper.

I like bookcases.

mybookcase

My Bookcase

 

I can have thousands of books on my little 5 x 8, 7-ounce reader, but those books won’t be able to decorate my bookcase anymore.

But I can carry more books than I was ever able to carry.

When I started high school, the city had a bit of a capacity problem.  The temporary solution was to have the freshman start later in the morning, and stay later in the afternoon. I don’t know why this was supposed to work. In the middle of the day all the students were there. And there were no classes being held in the bathroom. We fit somehow.

But what we didn’t have enough of was lockers. So Freshman didn’t get them. We carried our books and coats from class to class.

And to and from school. Every day. All the books.

I lived exactly 1 mile from the school. And I added one-tenth of a mile in order to meet my friends. Even if it was freezing I wouldn’t think of cutting my walk by that tenth and walking alone.

With all my books:  English, History, French, Math, Science – and of course my notebooks – one for each subject. If I didn’t have homework I had to carry my books anyway. Because I had no locker.

I’d stack them with a large notebook on the bottom and a double stack on the top. I weighed less than 100 pounds. I was carrying one-fifth of my body weight (okay, slight exaggeration, but only slight) 2.2 miles a day.

Heaven forbid that I had to sneeze.

If it rained, I got drenched. I could not carry an umbrella too. But my books did not get wet. They got a plastic bag. I got a wet head.

One morning, while walking by St. Anthony’s Church, a pigeon crapped on my head.

But I didn’t drop the books.

One of my classmates never had any books on our trek to school.

“I do my homework in study hall,” she said.

“But where do you keep the books without a locker?” I asked.

And one day she showed me. She had found an unlocked closet behind the stage in the auditorium.

“What if someone takes them?” I asked.

“Textbooks????” She replied.

But I just couldn’t leave my books. I covered them with brown paper and I wrapped them in plastic, and I hugged them to me for 2.2 miles a day.

It was good for me. Carrying those books probably gave me the strength to hold plank position in yoga today.

Now I have my teeny lightweight device.

It’s still good exercise. My swiping finger is getting a workout.

carrying books

 

 

 

31 Comments

  1. Carrying all those textbooks must have been quite a work out!

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    • I can remember how tired my arms were by the time I got home from school.. I could hardly unbend them.

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  2. I am traveling right now and the ereader is coming in handy. Many books but just one device!

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    • I am enjoying it more than I ever thought I would. And although I don’t have the satisfaction of seeing my bookmark moved down the chunk of pages, I can see that I am 37% through the book.

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  3. I’m like you. I like books but I can see the value of an eReader when travelling. So far though I don’t travel enough to justify the cost.
    Walking to school. Does anyone do that any more?

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  4. I am not there yet, I understand the value of the technology but I can’t see taking an ereader to the beach with me. I like books, just like you. I like the clutter of books on shelves.

    I got your book yesterday!! I am nearly done with what I am reading right now and you are next on my list. I can’t wait.

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    • I love being able to tuck it in my purse. I am enjoying it more than I thought I would. (And Amazon gave me a great deal, thanks to the fact that I now have an ebook out.) And I hope you like the book! If you do, I’d love a kind review on Amazon!

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      • You will absolutely get the review, I am sure I will love the book.

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  5. I sometimes download books to my tablet, but I really can’t get into it. I just prefer the feel of a book.

    Speaking of which, I’m looking forward to appreciating the feel of YOUR book in my hot, little hands. It arrived! Nancy, it looks great. I’m swamped right now, but hope to dive in to it soon.

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    • I am surprised that I am getting used to the Kindle so quickly. I was actually thinking about buying a ebook that I already have in print form, so I can read it on my Kindle instead – but that’s just crazy!
      I’m glad you were one of my winners and that the book arrived safely. I hope you like it! (And I’m seeking reviews on Amazon if you do!)

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  6. I used to feel that eReaders were undermining society. Killing bookstores (they have done that — there are sadly few bookstores near me). I too love the feel, the weight, the smell of a book. I love picking one off the shelf when I just want a little taste of an old favorite.

    But I also love my eReader. So I have to figure out a way to rebuild society another way. It’s always something.

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  7. I’m so glad you’re open to an e-reader! It’s infuriating to me when people behave as though they love books more that I because they only buy tree books. I have thousands of those – no room for any more. Now I can load 10,000 books onto my e-reader and feed my need to read any time, anywhere! I used to be a snob about books, but then I realized the format doesn’t matter. It’s like saying I’d only listen to music if it was on CD rather than tape, live, MP3, etc.

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    • I was a tree-book snob too, but books are books! And you know, now I don’t have to read fancy literature on public transportation. I can now read trash if I feel like it, because it all looks the same on a kindle!

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  8. Don’t know why, but I couldn’t post a comment. I love my Kindle. Now I don’t have to put 100 or more books out in the yard for tag sales. I got turned off to paper books when I took a brand new book home from the library (only 3 other people had borrowed it) and when I opened it up it smelled like cigarette smoke. Yuck.

    Love your blog, your humor is contageous.

    You’re probably too busy to read now but I just knocked of too great ones. “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd “The Museum of Extraordinary Things” by Alice Hoffman

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    • “The Invention of Wings” is already on my list! I will look into the Hoffman book now too.

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  9. So many books. I volunteer in a used books store and bring books home every time. I have an iPad with a Kindle and continue to load it up with new books. When am I EVER going to read them all. I have read several on the iPad mini and thought it was great because I can bump up the font and put it on a pill on my lap. Easy Peasy, right? Sigh. I keep avoiding the “Kindle” on my iPad for some reason. I don’t hate it, I just like books.

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    • I had just ordered a whole slew of books from Amazon – I’d been saving them up in my cart – when Amazon offered me a great deal on the Kindle. So I have a whole bunch of tree-books to read before I can order too many for the Kindle. So far I have only downloaded three – and read one – “Where’d You Go Bernadette?”, which my sister recommended. Two to go.

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      • I’m starting to lose count on my Kindle app and you should see my bookshelves. Ugh

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  10. I too love the feeling of the printed book, highlighting and making dog-eared pages. I still remember how important those brown paper bag book covers where to me and getting them perfectly aligned! But the Kindle is wonderful at the YMCA and in the doctor’s office where I hate to page through magazines with god knows what that has been sneezed on them!!
    Love your post and it made me think that there is something good in what we KNEW and what we now KNOW!

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    • There is magic in words – no matter what form.

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  11. Christine

    Glad you like the e-reader. I like books too, but the e-reader is great for travel. Between the e-reader and using the public library when not traveling. I have really reduced the clutter in my house.

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    • And I just found a good charity that will take my used books! De-clutter and for a good cause too… (plus they are going to carry my novel… one of the only new books in the shop)

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  12. One of these days I will break down and get a Kindle. I have a computer loaded with books in my Kindle Library but by the time I finish working all day the last thing I want is to stay in front of the computer to read the books. I will have to get a Kindle to read them. In the mean time I confess, I have been know to “borrow” He-Whos Kindle when I need something portable to read.

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    • I am increasingly surprised by how much I like it. Maybe it is just the novelty, but I find I am reading more. Perhaps because it is so easy to read just a page or two whenever…

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I just can’t give up the paper. I’ve tried to read on an iPad and it’s just not the same.

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    • I think an ipad might be just a little too clunky. (if you could ever call an Apple product clunky)

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  14. I can read on my Kindle…but it’s never going to replace books for me.

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  15. I got a Kindle and never use it. I feel like I’m insulting all those trees that died for my entertainment. Plus it makes you look real smart when people see that you own books…the Kindle is where most people hide their mommy porn.

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    • I like both paper and Kindle. And although it’s true that with a Kindle no one knows if you are reading trash, I don’t think it matters. You are still reading.

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