Or, Books shouldn’t self-destruct.
The other night I was in a race: me vs. my iPad’s battery life. And I lost.
I’ve recently discovered reading on my iPad. Now that there’s an app that lets you check out library books pretty seamlessly, I’m hooked. I checked out (is it really checked out when nothing’s physically leaving the library?) a mystery novel on Monday night, and had since spent almost all of my free time reading it.
An iPad only comes with one charger. And they want about $30 for a second one. As I am cheap, I only have one – it lives on my desk at work. So there I am on my couch Thursday night, way after my bedtime but close to the end of a book – clearly it’s a legitimate excuse to stay up late.
And it beeps and tells me that I’ve got 10% battery life remaining, and then only 5. And snap, the book’s a race. I can speed read, and with most mysteries I do. (If you don’t spend the time required to write well, I don’t spend the time required to read well – I’m looking at you, James Patterson.) But this book is different – it is beautiful and wonderfully overwritten, clearly written by an English major. It has sentence structure that I’ve never seen before and more m dashes than belong in any piece of writing.
It’s a book that deserves the time, but I don’t have it. (It’s like I’ve just gotten a note: this book will self-destruct in thirty seconds. So I’m flying through the book, picking out the subject, verb, and object of the sentence and leaving all the other words behind. But it’s too late – and I run out. Desperately searching for a charger that I know’s not there, the iPad dies and I’m left without resolution. Sure they’ve already caught their guy and know who done it, but it’s that final twist, that hallmark of all good mysteries, where the information revealed in the last few pages makes you think about the whole book in a new light. And I don’t get to read it. At least not that night.
Books are meant to be immutable. They’re not meant to self-destruct. There’s something about reading that’s completely liberating – you enter a new world, and only leave when you choose to. There’s a conscious act of leaving, that moment when you lift you head, look around, and slowly close the cover. But suddenly, I was unceremoniously thrown out of the world that I’d been in. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200; the book you’re reading, the world you’re in, no longer exists.
I’m learning to love reading on my iPad. It’s great the gym; it’s great to be able to carry a library in my purse. And you’d think that 10 hours of battery life would be great to. But, I can lose myself in a book for much more than ten hours. I can lose myself in a book for a weekend, or in a series for days on end. And yes, that lovely and beautifully-written mystery novel that I was reading: it’s the first in a series. So, here’s to many more battles with my battery life. Wish me luck.
Questions of the day: Do you have an eReader? Have you been thwarted by the battery life? Do I just need to suck it up and buy a second charger?
MaggieCakes is a blog about social media, marketing, culture, and what’s new on the internet written by me, Maggie O’Toole. Every day (that’s such a lie, maybe once or twice a week) I comb blogs and news outlets for the news about internet culture and social media to bring them to you (with my commentary, of course) here on MaggieCakes. Find anything interesting in the worlds of tech, culture, or social media that you’d like to see a post on? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.