Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I'm well-read

...on the subject of books. I hear they are these longer versions of articles that entertain and educate, sometimes with detailed, elaborate, fictionalized stories and others with historical information, studies, and instructions. The dilemma led on to with these "books" is: who has the patience to read?

Books, as defined by Webster, are "Non-essential reading designed to further alienate you from the human race." Though championed by tryhards, real intellectuals wait until the movie is released. Some will argue that the book is better, due to its elegant prose or aspects which cannot be recreated in the film medium. That's absurd. Ever seen a title card? It's like a book within a movie, dude. Movies can books but books can't be movies, much like squares are rectangles but not vice-versa. This argument too can easily be turned around. You try to catch the beautiful visage of Gary Oldman in words, I dare you.

Who has the time? If, as they say, we remember 10% of what we read, 20% of what we hear, 30% of what we see, and 50% of what we hear and see, then you'll have to read a book five times over before you get the impression of one viewing. Let's test this theory.

Things I remember about Catcher in the Rye:

A depressed teen vampire
Two nuns in the escort business
The lead protagonist "Preston" realizes his father is actually himself
The bloodletting sequence
Preston catches a falling kid with a baseball glove

It appears memory serves me well but that's a book I enjoyed. Patience to read doesn't begin and end with time consumption. In a modern age of derivative stories and writers devoid of creativity, novels still must be long journeys, and books still bulky, and you're left with a grinding battle through a concentration of fluff no different than collecting orbs from treasure boxes in a video game.

That's just nitpicking, though. Let's get to the real meat of my anti-book argument, a definitive list book-killing problems. The fuel to my rage that keeps my body temperature at a constant 451 Fahrenheit. The 5 major reasons:

Bookmarks - Good lord. It's difficult enough picking a shirt of a sofa, but how do you pick a bookmark that defines you? You could always get the worm with glasses, but you don't want to send off the wrong, egghead vibe to Old Girl Helga eying from the reference desk. Remembering the page is out of the question. Folding the page is for plebeians. Whatever you ultimately find, you'll feel like a prostitute paying $2.95 at Borders for what is basically a napkin substitute.

Numbers dilemma - Books are long and meander enough, but the added weight is the number mocking you at the bottom of every page. Every arduous step is tallied at the bottom. Every subtle, aching increment is printed on every page and it's unavoidable.

Space - In a streamlined world forwarding to the obsolescence of tangible media, books are still the be-all, end-all solution for books. They take up space with no way out. Reading online is an eyestrain. You can trade your books for a Kindle, so instead of looking proudly pompous you can look like a twat — that's after paying $300 for a reader you've gotta keep charged and buy books for.

Lighting - Nightlights are for tots. Books are already an unwieldy struggle to keep open and flip through coarse pages, an attachable booklamp won't make that simpler. But I suppose this argument bleeds into the next...

Comfort - Reading before bed is popular. It's idyllic, you're physically tired but your mind is still seeking stimulation. It's passive, unlike the penetrating glow of a television. They bore you to sleep and quickly do their real work in your subconscious. Wait! If you wear contacts you'll need glasses, to be crushed upon sleep. So you'll need to remove those glasses and turn out the lights. And all this is on the stipulation that you could stomach lifting the book over your head or deal with your back against a headboard.

Let's leave the books where they belong, either burned by the government under a welcome tyrannical regime, or for the times where their use is practical: airplanes, waiting rooms, and tanning in the sun before a night clubbing. Let the rest of us true intellectual masses do what's right by us in our free time: skydiving while both copulating and sharing Mountain Dew with a stranger.

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