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Papyrus & A Nouveau Niche

Typos aren't half as bad as having an illegible handwriting - a fact that's reaffirmed  each time I have to reach out for pen-&-paper.


But this is not a duel between Fonts and Calligraphy. This is about the tangible feel of a book verses the many alternatives we are being bombarded with everyday.


What's it about a book that makes it such a delight to possess, besides the carefully crafted words it contains? It could be many things - pulling a book off-the-shelf, feeling  the weight of holding it, the texture of a page (rough or glossy), factory-fresh or vintage odour, the feel of flipping through the pages...sometimes leapfrogging to the contents, index or glossary, bookmarking, cracking of the spine as you open a new hardbound book, running your fingers below the line being read...the list is unmatched.


The e-age has brought in a lot of also rans into the fray, jostling for our attention. Desktop PC's, laptops, PDA's and smartphones have now almost endangered posterity from experiencing the joys of reading a book. I'm not really a  Luddite forcefully trying to turn the tide. Far from it, I'm a technology buff and love keeping myself updated with the latest RSS feeds. I've long junked the morning newspaper for the comfort and ease of news from the Web. I stream audio, watch online videos, download music via torrents, dabble with online photo albums, shop online, manage my expenses via spreadsheets and keep my firewall paranoid of everything in 0's and 1's. I'm a Wikipedia contributor, blog frequently (though I never even thought of having a conventional diary), member of many forums and some social networks, frequent the Usenet, email/IM frequently and spend a lot of hours coding to earn a living.


While all this vindicates my affable disposition towards technology, I prefer certain things remaining old-fashioned just for the heck of it. I've never felt the advent of tech toys even remotely threatening the charm of reading a book.


Image:Amazon Kindle - Off 03.png

Amazon's newly launched Kindle is the latest gadget to challenge the real book. It boasts of impressive specs, great conveniences and foolproof use, portability and easy access. In a networked world, you can have instant access to a burgeoning assortment of titles. And yet, for all its conveniences, it can never be what it was supposed to be - a book.


If I could choose between reading a real book and its e-avatar, I would have no hesitation in opting for the former. I know it's a losing battle and toys like the Kindle will eventually rule the roost. Future generations may find my choice unfathomable, but that hardly perturbs my harmony with the book - a real book.


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