#%$! the whales! Save the books!
You could call me a purist. Maybe a fundamentalist...An individualism fundamentalist. I have a strict and literal adherence to the existence of individuality in all things. I could write a 500 page thesis on this belief going into music, film, human liberties...etc. But I will focus briefly on books.
It is in everyday I breath that I am convinced that I was born into the wrong era. The things that I adore and make me happy are slowly becoming extinct. And it troubles me. In my lifetime, I believe the manufacturing of books in the physical form will be extinct. I strongly oppose this movement. There is nothing like the touch of a hardback book. I've removed the dust cover on every book I own, to run my finger senses across it's skin discovering a sensation of slick, cloth, leather or embossed textures. This is the individual personality of the book. And as the book lives on, it's physical characteristics do too. Abrasions tattoo the surface telling the history of every accident, fall and scrape. Years and hard life can be identified by the fragility of the spine like the eyes of a dope fiend. Pages get brittle and yellow. They start to crack and fall out. Some books have inscriptions from the buyer like a birth certificate as a reminder when and why this individual came into the world. Books are individual lives. The Kindle is not.
The Kindle is a slick hard device that digital clones of books are loaded onto. You are not reading a book on a Kindle anymore than you can touch a hologram. Your defiled reproduction of Chuck Palahniuk feels the same as your reproduction of Charles Baudelaire. This is because their soulless essence is imprisoned in the same body along with any number of other faux books (a concentration camp for literature). A gift from a loved one in the form of digital literature is made up of zeros and ones, the same as every other meaningless and forgotten gift. The only thing that differentiates one from another is the difference of words and their arrangement, as they appear to the reader on the screen.
What does this have to do with individualism? Although greatly flawed, I like who I am. I am the result of 35 years of experience that is not identical to another human out there. Yet, I am no more superior or inferior to anyone else. Nor do I feel like my existence is significant when compared to the size of the cosmos I'm lost in. But it is my god given right to be an individual and it is that liberty that I fight for. Every book I've read (along with all my other experiences) make up who I am.
When there are no more books being printed and the only way to receive literature is through digital mutations of the glorious form, our selection will become chosen. The printed word cannot be controlled, no matter how many mobs instigate burnings. A copy will get out, someone will reprint, and through the power of the black market the book will live again. This will not happen with the Kindle. I can't make a zine and sell it through the underground with a Kindle. The books that will be released for this device will be heavily controlled and censored. Many books will not be cloned and their physical form will be buried among garbage.
Some, if not all, of you are questioning this thought process. We have already given away too many of our rights. With the Patriot Act we've allowed government into our lives. Not only can they crack into our computers, but also into our smart phones and Kindles. There are attempts to control the internet. Alternative news sources are already being shutdown if not framed for lunacy or corruption. Say goodbye to our freedom of speech. If we are that close to the decay of the first amendment, we are closer than we know to controlled censorship. That is why the Kindle is an attack on everyone to exist as an individual.
So when I received an email today from a 14 year-old who loves books and adventures to the library, I smiled a bit knowing that there is hope for the future. He writes:
Dear Gris Grimly,
My name is Daniel ******. I am 14 years old born ******, 19**. I live in ******. I love to go to the ****** city Library. Its very interesting to hear from most of the librarians that they rarely see kids my age being so interested in books. I love books. They're amazing. You have to really seek in a book. Some people think,"hey, this is just a book". But for me a book is a wonderful adventure! When i grow up i want to be a director. I love movies. Your books are great. I love them. I read most of them but I'm trying to read them all. Too bad my library doesn't carry all your books. I wish they did. I especially wish they had pinocchio! I heard there is going to be a movie based on the book pinocchio. Is that true? I love your art work. It is really nice and well done. Are there any new books coming up? You are an amazing illustrator and what you have is truly a gift.
Unfortunately, I have to keep up with the Joneses. That mean if all of you out there continue to buy Kindles and digital want-to-be books, I will have to produce to meet the demand. I say it again...UNFORTUNATELY.
Buy books. Support individualism.