Friday, 22 April 2011

"Old" Media

I've never actually worked out what percentage of my reading is done from a screen, but I bet it's pretty high these days. It sometimes seems as if I never read real books. I need a kick in the pants or an enforced break to persist. This shames me for a whole variety of reasons, not least of which is that I like to consider myself a literate person.
Just before Christmas my old friend, the storyteller, Hugh Lupton, gave me a copy of his first novel " The Ballad of John Clare". I have started it a few times and it has lain on my bedside table ever since...waiting.
Hugh and his wife Liz have just moved to a smallholding in North Norfolk and we were invited to a barn razing a few weeks back but I was poorly, so we've just been re-invited for lunch and a tour of the estate. This gave me required kick in the pants. It would be impossible to feel completely relaxed with only feeble excuses should the topic arise...
I decided that I should be able to finish the book in time. So I went to bed relatively early and picked up from where I had left off, thinking to get a goodly chunk read...
At about half past three this morning I finished the book, having spent several hours totally immersed in the world of shared imagining that is getting lost in a book.
When I woke up, rather late, I wondered why on earth I had spent four months apparently avoiding such a treat. Work has something to do with it, as has the essentially asocial nature of reading. I've also wrecked (albeit cheap) pairs of reading glasses falling asleep with them on. I have sometimes wondered whether a Kindle might be a good idea (to my daughter's horror), but I suspect one would be less forgiving than a book of crashing to the floorboards from drowsy fingers.
Anyone who thinks that new media can replace this experience hasn't read a good book recently and this one hasn't been published for Kindle - yet...