Disclaimer: This post has nothing to do with Fahrenheit 451, but it is inspired by it. And by Neil Gaiman, who wrote the introduction of the book.
Why do people debate about e-books and paper books? Aren’t they the same thing? People have different reasons to prefer one over another, and after all, they read the same thing, except for those who buy the ones not legally copyrighted. It’s only then that one should concern about the story taking place between covers: sometimes the words get cut here and there or sometimes simply the existence of such thing is just not right.
In my parents’ house, the big bookshelves were mostly filled with my books – those I picked out and those I caressed, from back to end, cover to cover. Bookshelves that I wish to share and bookshelves that crave human touch. Whenever I picked up a book, I bring it close to my nose, sniffing for the smell of paper. Nothing, nothing, can ever replace that touch.
Among my three most important belongings is my kindle, my e-reader. It’s the one thing that I never regret buying. It has proved its importance over many occasions when paper books failed. It has been a great replacement for thousand-page book that nearly wrecked my wrists. It has helped me save the world, in a way, and save space in my already limited living condition.
In any case, I don’t think this debate is well-worth anyone’s time, mine included. (Yet, I’m still writing this because I ran out of topics to talk about.) To me, reading is a personal.It is a journey, on which you were alone enough to do what you want and how you want. It’s comparable to things you do in the bathroom: sometimes, you discuss with your friends whether to turn off the water when you apply soap or whether to brush your teeth before washing your face, but then everyone forgets about it and moves on. Similarly, you read or you don’t, that’s the real question. Through what means one should read is a useless debate.
Now, when it comes to whether one should or should not read, I also fail to give reasons why reading is beneficial to the brain or to personality or to humanity. I don’t know. I can’t convince someone to read because I don’t know if it’s going to transform someone’s life. Is it going to make someone better instantly? Or smarter instantly? Is it a kind of magic? Nope. For years of my life, though, I read because it suits me well. But to say it suits everyone, I’m not sure. I think one can choose this for one’s own.
But, if ever, if ever, you think reading is important and that you should read more and that you are not reading more and that you fail on every way possible to do the one thing the world is telling you beneficial, I encourage you to reconsider your motives. It’s a part of my breathing and living, so I make way for it and it makes room for me. So it transforms me in ways I am not aware of but for the better.
It’s not a part of your breathing and living yet, so the benefits will be so little for you that it might block you from getting there, wherever you want. So think, what is it that you want from books? To look smarter or to sound smarter or to conform? To take a seat in the e-book vs. paper books debate? To, again, do something that your heart doesn’t desire?
If you are my friends and you have seen me read, please know that I have never accused you of not reading. “You can continue chatting if you want, but I need to get this few words in otherwise I won’t be able to sleep.” In fact, many times I wanted to snug inside a bathroom to comprehend that last piece of a chapter, without making anyone feel guilty of their own habits. If you want to read, just do. Open one right now and flip through it. If you don’t. Then just forget about it. Move on with your life. Because I don’t want to hear, “I need to read more but I’m not doing it.” It’s process you need to work on. No one makes it to the top only through sitting around and watching others do it.
Last note: I’m think what it’d be like if I live in Fahrenheit 451. Will I die with my books? Will I consider the television my ‘family’? Will I be firemen who burn? If I grow up in the world like one in Fahrenheit 451, I think I wouldn’t value books that much and thus my life would take on a distinctive course. I hope it won’t be reality 😦