iPad? iWon’t.

18 Oct

The human heart has hidden treasures, In secret kept, in silence sealed; The thoughts, the hopes, the dreams, the pleasures, whose charms were broken if revealed. – Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

Call me sentimental, but I love the feel, the smell, the very idea of a book. Granted, my family includes a long list of librarians and teachers, so perhaps this love has been instilled in me since I was a small child. Not a Christmas has passed without at least one book being gifted. Not a room has been lived in without at least one bookshelf filled to the brim with literary treasures of past and present.

In addition to my love for books, I also love to write. As a little girl, I incessantly wrote stories, carefully stapling two pieces of matching construction paper together to protect the outpouring of my innocent imagination. Even as a child, I paid attention to the different facets of a book – the title page, the dedication page, the author’s biography. I understood the importance of which font to use (and often changed my handwriting in an effort to capture this detail) and the effect of the cover picture (we’re taught not to judge a book by its cover, but more often than not, first impressions rely entirely on appearances). Would this sort of appreciation have been fostered in my younger years had books been so easily replaced by technology?

One of my most prized possessions is my mother’s copy of Jane Eyre, which she first read in college.  Being one of my favorite books (along with The Great Gatsby), I’ve reread this story more times than I can count. As much as I adore the characters and the complications that they encounter and gracefully overcome, the faded green cover, the somewhat-broken binding and the worn-in pages unequivocally entrance me as well.  An iPad can capture the words and the wonderfulness enclosed in a book, but it simply cannot reproduce the book itself.

a few of my favorites

Having recently taken a long weekend trip (the best of my life, thanks to a certain someone, and also the reason for my blog-writing absence), I am even more intrigued by this “magical and revolutionary product” (Apple’s words, not mine). So, being the inquisitive girl that I am (just ask my boyfriend – I pose more questions that he ever thought possible), I started asking strangers in the airport about their choice to purchase an iPad. What makes it so great?

To my relief, here’s what I found: Reading wasn’t the number one reason for using an iPad. Yes, I talked to plenty of people who loved to read and initially bought the device for this purpose. But an iPad also allows you to sync your calendars and easily keep track of your busy life, play an episode of Olivia for your screaming child and manage a much-needed packing list before a vacation – all with the simple touch of a screen. While a laptop can do all these things as well, an iPad is more compact and comes equipped with Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + 3G, making it both very transportable and accessible.

All and all, an iPad is more of an entertainment device than a stand-in for books, magazines and newspapers. Still, it just doesn’t sit right with me. What if, because of advancements in this sort of technology, books, magazines and newspapers someday become obsolete? Hoping to be a published author myself, (my parents always taught me to dream big), I would hate to think that my stories would never sit on bookshelves, never be shared among friends, never be flipped through with anticipation about what lies on the next page.

Recently, as I watched a friend quickly fill her suitcase and hastily head to the airport, I experienced a moment’s worth of jealously as she topped off her carry-on with an iPad. No need to cram magazines into an already over-stuffed bag. No need to question whether three novels are enough to sustain a week’s worth of time in the sun. No need to debate bringing along your laptop. An iPad is easier, smaller, smarter, quicker to pack. But it just isn’t the same.

the innovative ipad

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