THEY say the older you grow the more conservative you become.
I've never been sure if this means big C or little c but, whichever, I find the surest way to bring the liberal back with a bump is a quick count of how many multi-national corporations/soulless coffee chains/sexist nightclub groups you boycott.
This week, however, my firm belief in live-and-let-live has been shaken to the core.
He tried his best to hide it from me, knowing I would disapprove, but I have discovered my temporary flatmate uses a Kindle. Not only that, but he's been using it in my home. I'm not talking about a light habit here. He uses it every day. It's even part of his morning routine.
He sits on my sofa, with no shame, his eyes goggling the screen. Opposite the sofa is a wall of bookshelves, filled with real books. I cannot comprehend how someone who knows a lot of real books can take pleasure in such a plastic display. My flatmate swears blind he stills knows the value of real books but he admits the real thing is becoming a little disappointing. He's started to expect real books to do the things a Kindle can do, things that, let's face it, real books were never designed to do.
Like other Kindle readers, he's started to expect real books to tell him what page he was on when he was last reading. He expects normal books to be able to be backlit at will and slide themselves into snazzy protective covers on his whim. They expect to be stimulated by a constant variety of materials - magazines, newspapers, novels - when all a real books wants to do is open up and let you read it.
All a real book wants is to love and be loved in return. You can't form a healthy relationship with a Kindle, not like you can with a book. Suddenly, after months of Kindle reading you don't want a real book. You want this artificial variety. You start trying to swipe a book's pages when all the book's pages need are to be turned. Books come in all shapes and sizes; after months of Kindle reading you want your book to fit a neat size, slender and uniform. You start clipping reading lights on to its pages to make it more like a Kindle.
You read a book; you use a Kindle. That's the distinction.
Since witnessing the harmful effects of the Kindle up close I've counted my boycotts on two hands and I'm no better; I'm still falling on the conservative side of this debate.
Of course, I accept I could be wrong. It could just be Kindles are nice to look at.
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