My entire adolescence was wrapped up in stories, a habit that carried through to my adult life. Since I was a young girl, just smelling a book, feeling the creases beneath my fingers and the sheer elation and sadness that took over my emotions during our final moments together has played such an integral role in my life. Stealing away to my room knowing my mother was mad at me, or sitting beneath a tree in the quad in an attempt to forget a big exam, are moments where I have relied on them as emotional shields, whisking me away from my problems. Characters like Jane, Atticus and Rebecca have taken a place in my heart and I find myself returning to their tales time and again. As my perspective grows, so does my emotional connection to the character and their stories.
Soon the thrill of gliding anxiously into a store to peruse the bestseller aisle, of reading the well crafted teasers placed on the back or in the lining, of spending my last dollar to take home my new found treasure will be nothing more than an afterthought. The palpable sensation of holding a new book in my hand, hearing the spine creak open and releasing a waft of fresh ink is slowing being taken from me by a virtual replacement.
This thieving of the senses and one has encouraged my addiction feels wrong. I am a cheater, a traitor for subscribing to this corporate solution that gives instant access to needy people dying to quench their literary lust while lining the pockets of greedy executives. And even though I find the impulsiveness of clicking a button and the instantaneousness of the purchase utterly irresistible, I still long for the thrill of buying a physical book. I shudder at the thought that someday soon, the “bookstore” will be an anecdote told by my child to her children, but it is the wave of the future and if you haven’t yet subscribed to it in an attempt to stave off the inevitable, well your protests are wasted effort.