I am easily impressed, but I’m also hard to impress. This may sound like it’s contradictory. It’s not. Live with it a bit and you’ll see why.
What is it about some writers who have more to say about the state of the literary nation in regards to technology than they do about the art of writing or even a story itself? They’ll spout all kinds of wonderful predictions about the future of books and the springing tiger called ebooks. But they’ll say nothing about a story well told.
When I read Dickens or Philip Pullman or David Mitchell or Jeanette Winterson or Roald Dahl, I don’t think, damn, wish they had more gadgets. I’m bowled over and feel like I’m staring my atoms in the face when I read their work. Because it’s the story, not how it is presented that makes me feel my heart thump in my chest.
For all we know, technology may reach a point where if you want to read a book, you’ll swallow a pill and as it dissolves on your tongue the words will pop into your brain and that’s how you’ll experience a book. But the point is, it’s not the way it gets presented, it’s the way it is told. The lasting taste will not be the pill, sugar-coated as it most likely will be, but the lasting taste will be the writer’s use of language; the story that sinks in like a new life; the way the story makes you re-imagine the world around you and you in it; the richer emotions, ideas, and dialogue that makes you try harder to feel, think, and speak.
This is what it’s all about when it comes to books: the story and how it makes a life with you. It’s not about the gadget that brings it to you.
CURRENTLY LISTENING TO
A best-of collection of Frank Sinatra. Can’t beat Frank and spring, windows open, forsythia spread thick like golden butter, and the leaves on the trees feathered for flight.