by Aunt Clara –
Aunt Clara loves to go to the library, a place where the old and musty pen and paper books are housed with the newfangled computers, music CDs and reading devices. Although these reading devices have their place, Aunt Clara’s heart will always be with the old fashioned paper edition of any book.
Aunt Clara’s test for books is beach, bath, and bed. Paper books certainly are far superior to any electronic device in the bathtub. Many Graftonites will remember many years ago that Sally Trustman got badly burned while using a curling iron in the shower. Aunt Clara does not like to tell tales out of school, but there was one schoolteacher back in the day who was badly burned when his electric razor fell into the toilet. What this man was doing is beyond the scope of this article, but suffice to say that the man was never the same.
When going to the beach the paper book is also superior as one can leave it on a chair while swimming knowing it will be there when one returns. If the book gets a little wet while Aunt Clara is drying off it is none the worse for wear. With an electronic gadget it would behoove one to keep it dry and away from sand.
In bed an electronic edition of any book can be read and most e-readers have a built in backlight for reading in the dark. However there is something to be said for curling up with a book that you can smell and feel and one that allows you to turn the pages. You also would not have to worry about your batteries running out or finding an electric outlet.
Of course the content of the book also matters and I am sure that my dear readers will agree that they do not write books like they used to. Aunt Clara read the best-selling book, “The Girl on the Train” while riding on a train to Boston. This book deals with an alcoholic young lady who becomes entwined in the lives of a young married couple who she does not even know. Besides putting the reader through public displays of inebriation the book also deals with murder, mayhem and misogyny.
Not a book any young lady from a good family should be seen reading. Aunt Clara supposes that this is one benefit of the e-reader. Strangers on the train will not know if one is reading “Fifty Shades of Gray” or the Bible. Teachers, nuns and mothers could all be reading the most salacious material all while appearing as pious as a priest.
Back at the library, Aunt Clara finds most of the patrons are using the computers while she browses through stacks of books. Thoughts go back to time spent searching through the card catalog or “prehistoric Googling” as it is now called. The card catalog has been replaced by a computer catalog of books and one can search for any book in the whole state of Massachusetts. If the Grafton Library does not have the book on the shelves then a request will go out and the book will arrive within a few days. One would suppose that is progress of a certain sort.
The library used to be a place for a boy to meet a girl and fall in love over a good book. Now the kids at the library are either on the computer or on their phones. Aunt Clara wonders if they really feel that the virtual reality in hyperspace is more interesting than the reality right in front of them or are they missing out on experiences and life that were so much a part of our formative years back in the day?
Aunt Clara remembers sitting with a book at the Grafton Library when Tommy Sutton came up and said those words every girl yearns to hear, “If you are a book you must be overdue because you are so fine.” Now that is better than a text message any day.