"Don't sit too close to the television," our parents warned as if our eyes might fall out or rays might soak into us. Maybe both things happened, but I seemed to make it through a childhood of mild television watching with few, if any, symptoms as a result. It's interesting to live on the cusp of new technologies. What did people think as they watched the first car owners drive past their homes? Imagine the disgust as televisions began to replace radios. What were they saying when computers first found their way to our desktops? What about that hard rock-n-roll music that was sure to doom your soul?
With any new technology or discovery there are gifts and concerns. The eReader is no exception. I had to laugh this week as my friend, an avid book holder, sent this link to my Facebook account:
No matter what science says, I will continue to read from my reader. I just prefer it. There's something about being able to visit the library virtually and fill the shelves with titles. There's something about being able to read a sample before purchasing a book. There's something about being able to highlight favorite lines and have them collect in a cloud. There's something about being able to touch a word for a definition. It even makes me feel better to not be able to physically see how far I am from the end of the book without touching for a line at the bottom of my screen. There seems to be less pressure to race to the end of the book. I love the swipe of a page turn, the gentle adjustment of font size at the end of the day, and the look of a bookshelf with covers facing out. Not to mention the additional space I now have in my living room, closet, and other spaces around the house. I can carry my library right in my purse.
As I told my friend, I'm sure when they left clay tablets and moved toward scrolls there were people who missed the feel of those heavy tablets. All I know is I read more now than I ever did. The great thing about our world is it is full of options. If you still love a book, you can still get a book. I love my friends who still love to hold a book, smell its pages, and turn through a story with the pinch of their fingers instead of a swipe. The good news for both of us is according to scientific studies, reading for just 6 minutes a day reduces stress by 68%. You can't make this stuff up. We also appear to be 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer's. (2.5% is huge, right?) Whether we can sequence effectively or not, there are still benefits to time spent reading no matter how you choose to do it. For me, it's the opportunity to chat about books with friends and exchange interesting scientific research from the internet.