By Katie Walsh | Opinions Editor
I love books.
More accurately, I have an addiction to reading and what I read are books.
As a bibliophile, it is incredibly difficult for me to not hate the e-reader. It just seems so ridiculously unnatural for me to turn the pages with one finger and not hear the painful creak of a spine crack under my eager grasp, waiting for the next scene.
But I am here to say, once and for all, that I do not loathe the e-reader, or any form of digitally printed book.
I fear it.
I can hear people asking themselves, “What a silly book nerd. What is there to fear in the e-reader besides the lack of codex binding?”
Our society holds an astonishing amount of digital power, a power that is brandished in every field of study and walk of life. We live in an attention-demanding world that knows how to probe and prod every sense and every fiber of the audience’s being through any combination of HD screen and silicone. Technology takes us away from focusing on what is directly in front of us, the simplicity of ink on a page and an experience unlike any other.
I fear the loss of imagination.
I’m not talking about the imagination and creativity that allowed us to run around outside as kids and turn our best friend’s backyard tree house into the coolest spaceship that Pluto ever saw while it was still a planet. I sure hope that a bit of that imagination remains. But here, I’m talking about something that pertains to the health and well-being of the mind and self as a whole and takes place while enjoying a good read.
Imaginative reading lets you get carried away to far-off lands in waters unkind and unknown. You escape this century or that place to something out of this world. You discover a moment or person in history who was larger than life and made it better because of it.
It lets you close your eyes and see how things could be different only if you’re willing to wish it, wonder about it and create it. Reading builds dreams of change and appreciations of wonderance about something that makes the imagination important in the world. It’s especially important in a world that seeks for you to focus on half a billion things at once so that you may consume it and seek temporary pleasure in it before the next great product comes out.
That is what imagination offers us protection from. That is why enjoying a good read is important.
Reading and its benefits of engaging the imagination are eternal. No matter how many colors, digitally-ehanced sounds and scantily-clad women different media will throw at you, make sure to always enjoy words on a page that prompt thinking and imagining things you couldn’t dream about on your own.
It doesn’t matter if the page is something you can delicately pass over or handheld screen you need to frantically plug in so it doesn’t die on you before you reach the end of the chapter. Reading will always be an act that is willing and waiting to embrace you and love you right back.
And in the words of Jane Austen’s Henry Tilney, “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”
Don’t be stupid.
Katie Walsh is a senior English philosophy major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.