Morning Coffee: Addiction To The Written Word

winterI’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I am addicted to the written word. The written word is a powerful thing. String them into sentences, the sentences into paragraphs, the paragraphs into stories, and you will be transported.

Other worlds. Other times. Heroes, heroines, and mystical beasts. What are you in the mood for: a mystery, political suspense, a good scare, or maybe a romance to make your heart race and your temperature raise a little, or maybe a lot? They’re all just waiting out there for you to pick up and read. And what better time is there than a cold winter night (or day).

Books are my addiction of choice, both fiction and nonfiction. I can’t own too many. I can’t pass a book store, or even a book display, without having to stop and browse. . .and, inevitably, buy. With my Kindle I can have a new book, or two, or three, at a touch of a button. No going out in bad weather. No waiting in line. No waiting for the post office to deliver. Click…and I’m ready to read. Yet, I still can’t help but buy traditional paper books, as well. In fact, I have two being delivered today and a third will ship next week.

Of course, it depends what kind of reading, and the planned location of said reading, that determines e-book or paper. For historical research I like traditional paper. I want to be able to highlight, write notes in the margin, study photos and maps without straining my eyes because they’re too small, and flip back and forth to refresh myself on something read earlier. The end of this month I’ll be going on a last minute trip to the sunny shores of Ft Myers, Florida. The first three nights will be spent staying at a resort on the Gulf. I’m certainly not taking my Kindle out to read on the beach…all that sand, water, and sun glare make it impossible to enjoy. Thus, the three traditional books I’ve purchased. I also don’t take my Kindle with in my bubble bath. That’s a catastrophe just waiting to happen.

And, have you ever had the thrill of a rare books room at a library or museum? Heaven! Old written words! The dusty, musty, smell of old books, letters, diaries, official records. The words written by all those people who came before us! When I was pursuing my history degree at SUNY Geneseo back in the ‘90s, I had the privilege of writing an undergraduate thesis that required me to spend many hours in the Rare Books Room of Rush Rhees Library, Univ. of Rochester, NY, mining knowledge from the official records of the old Rochester Orphan Asylum, now Hillside Children’s Center. (The 116th anniversary of their tragic fire was just this week, January 8th, 1901. Twenty-eight residents died that night, twenty-six of them children. Those small souls are buried under a monument in Mt. Hope Cemetery.)

My Kindle also holds a dear place in my heart. E-books are great when you’re traveling and don’t want to, or can’t, carry enough paper books with you. E-books are great when you don’t want anyone else to know what you’re reading. If you’re like me, e-books are great when you’re reading in bed. I have a habit of falling asleep when reading in bed. With my Kindle I don’t have to worry about losing my page. It falls asleep shortly after I do and when I wake it next it will be right where I left off. (Well, except for that time on a plane when I apparently kept touching the screen, turning pages, in my sleep. It was a little tough finding my way back.)

What books did I order for my trip to Florida? “The Girl On The Train” by Paula Hawkins, “The Light Between Oceans” by M. L. Stedman, and “Enza” by Kristy K. James. Oh! I just received notice that the first two await in my mailbox! Which one to read first? I’ll take your suggestions.

My name is Jane, and I’m hopelessly addicted to the written word.

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