I’ve grudgingly begun downloading ebooks from the library to read on my laptop. The libraries have been closed for the last (almost) three weeks, and it’s either ebooks or spending too much time on Facebook fighting with strangers over differing points of view that no one will change. Even though I much prefer to be curmudgeonly and read only paper books, downloading ebooks began looking increasingly necessary if I was going to save myself from becoming a fatality to Facebook insanity syndrome.
We’re in the third week of lockdown, which has now reduced from two weeks at level four to level three. Not a lot has changed with level three, although we can buy contactless takeaways, and some people can go back to work. Because I work from home, I work regardless of what is going on in the outside world. The libraries are still closed, though, and will only open when we reduce to level two. That means no paper books for me – at least not from the library.
However, it’s not only due to being curmudgeonly that I prefer paper books over ebooks. Paper books give a tactile and anticipatory experience that ebooks just don’t have. Not for me, anyway. But if they save me from the dreaded Facebook fate, I can do them.
Although I’m much too prudent with my money to buy mountains of books, I have been known to buy books that I have a slim to zero chance of reading, simply because books fascinate me. I’m drawn to bookshops and libraries like a moth to a flame. The best sightseeing tour I could think of would definitely have to include bookshops and libraries. Castles, famous artworks, historic buildings, gardens, and countryside all have their appeal, but are sadly an incomplete experience of a place if places of books aren’t included.
It’s only recently I’ve allowed myself to go full nerd about this. One of the pleasures of getting older is discovering our inner nerd, or ninja, and no longer knowing of a good reason to keep it under any sort of control. Perhaps one can even be a nerd ninja? Or ninja nerd? Whatever works. I remember as a younger woman giving my parents, especially my father, instructions about keeping his inner nerd and/or ninja under control around certain people of my acquaintance, which mostly comprised of a list of things he wasn’t allowed to say. It was touch and go, though. Mostly he couldn’t be trusted not to mortify his adult children.
I’m pleased to say that when the nephew gave me a similar instruction not to talk about ‘certain things’ around his esteemed ex-professor when we visited her, I was still able to have a conversation without mentioning those ‘certain things’. Seeing as she specially made us – i.e. me – a vegan lunch, I felt it was the least I could do. Actually, she’s just a very pleasant, interesting and easy person, so it wasn’t all that hard to find other things to talk about. Someone for me to model myself on, maybe, when I feel my filter slipping. See, Dad, keeping the inner ninja under control is possible, even for the likes of you and me.
Of course, if one has always been a bit prone to being somewhat of a square peg in a round hole, it may be best to just avoid people and read books. Paper books, that is. The kind that can be a bit wayward, as well, and have had who knows who else handling them, unlike well-behaved ebooks. Not sure if I’m beginning to sound a tad autistic there, or just have lockdown insanity syndrome.
Bring on level two lockdown, and the re-opening of the libraries!
*Header pic is not me, in case you’re wondering (which you probably aren’t), but that’s the pose I usually adopt when reading either paper books or ebooks on my laptop, so close enough, I thought.