On Monday I started the great re-reading of Harry Potter. The day was full of excitement, if you recall I even wore a Gryffindor tie, that I “borrowed” from my sister, to celebrate the occasion. Four years had passed since I last read the series and I was giddy to get back to Hogwarts. I sat at my desk counting down the minutes until lunch. I could feel the book beating like the telltale heart in my desk draw. Thump-thump- Harry Potter- thump-thump. Finally lunch time came I sprang to my feet, grabbed my book, and hurried to lunch time bliss. And then something strange happened. I opened the book and… found I didn’t remember how to hold and read a physical book anymore.
You see fellow Geeklings I’ve been using Gandalf the Kindle for about three years now. I fought the digital revolution forever, my love for books is strong. It’s the one thing you can put up in your living environment that people see and instantly think you’re kind of impressive. I don’t care who you are but if someone has a book case in their house you’re drawn to it like a moth to light. Sadly I only have one book shelf in my apartment so most of my books are in crates. I would love to display them like conquered foes but also as most welcome friends. I miss looking at my books. The amount of books I own was part of my transition to digital reading. As I’ve said before, moving and carrying crates of books sucks some serious ass. Back breaking even.
When I first got Gandalf the Kindle I wasn’t sure how I would take to it. I could hold it in one hand, there were no physical pages to turn (I love having a paragraph left on a page and lifting the corner for flipping as soon as my eyes hit the last word), the smell of the book wouldn’t be there, I wouldn’t be able to see the cover at all times, and I thought it just wouldn’t feel like reading a book. Well I was wrong. It probably took half way through my first book before I started to get comfortable (the first book I read on my kindle was Wool. A little piece of trivia for you). I just knew that I could totally get on board with this whole digital book movement.
Fast forward to this week. The last time I read a physical book was during my transition to the kindle. Stephen King had released a book called Joyland that wasn’t available digitally so the only way to read it was with the actual book. Due to the fact that I was just getting used to the kindle switching back to an actual book was easy. Now it’s been three years or so and picking up the first Harry Potter book seemed kind of foreign and uncomfortable. Allow me to break it down for you.
Gandalf the Kindle
Look at this guy. He’s holding his kindle with one hand, his body language is relaxed, and he even has the arrogance to flash a thumbs up while reading. His kindle cover has a sleeve for his hand. It’s like his book is giving him a hug. One would assume just by looking at this handsome devil that he is living the dream of maxim reading comfort. You read young fella, you read! (Side Note: I’m not even reading anything in this picture. I’m just staring at my kindle as if I was reading. Fooled you guys big time.)
Look at this poor bastard. Clearly he has no idea what he’s doing. His hand placement seems wrong and uncomfortable. I bet he’s wishing he was half way through the book so both hands had equal weight distributed to them. I think his primal scream to no one is caused by the fact that the print on the page stays the same size the entire time. And folks even with glasses it’s kind of small. It is quite evident that this man has forgotten how to read a physical book. Such a sad sight to behold.
There are six more books to read in the Harry Potter series, and I refuse to own them on my kindle (at least for now. I felt the same way about the Dark Tower series but that passed. Now I can take them wherever I go). The physical copy of these books just feels, for lack of a better word, magical. I don’t know how to explain it exactly, but opening a Harry Potter book literally feels like you’re opening a book to this whole, new, exciting world that’s been sitting there waiting for you to crack it open. The hope is that some where down the line I get re-accustomed with reading physical books because the fact of the matter is I’ve missed them. I’ve been so far removed from actual books that my hands have forgotten how to hold them. I feel like that stone creature from the Never Ending Story. “These hands…” and that’s like the saddest thing ever.