Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Lost art

I love the idea of e-books and I can't wait to have my own eReader or Kindle or whatever emerges as the affordable, workable front-runner. However, I will miss books. Not the yellowed, small print insides that make my eyes burn, but the covers. The covers! I grew up in a house piled with books, and I could tell at a glance who had just been in a room by the book lying there.

Was it a paperback with a picture of a flowered teapot behind a knife with blood dripping on it? One of my mom's mysteries. Was it a 4"thick tome with a photo of a rock crag or some long-dead historical figure? My dad's. Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High, Rosamund duJardin - mine. S.E. Hinton - my sister's. Now what will we see? Where's MY Kindle? No - that's MY Kindle. We won't be able to pick up books that 'look' interesting or make a mental note when we see someone laughing out loud or completely absorbed in a book. We'll have no idea what they're reading - could be a pdf instruction manual for a digital camera (strike that- no one ever reads those manuals, but you get my point).

I will miss the cover art. I still love the silhouette of Nancy Drew from her book covers. I haven't fully recovered from the loss of album cover art. I know we have CDs, but it's not the same. What is replacing this void? What are all of those artists producing? Even if I purchase paintings, my walls will fill up quickly, and E and I will both be constantly compromising. With books and albums, you were 'stuck' with the art and forced to look at it over and over, finding new depth and meaning in it. Covers that at first struck me as odd became interesting over time. I miss albums, and soon I will miss books. I can't be surrounded by grey appliances. I've already been putting stickers on our computers - E loves that, believe me.

Suggestions, ideas? Or am I a dinosaur, doomed to mumble about the good old days of art as I fade away?


Anonymous said...

I miss the covers and tactile comfort of paper books, but have such a crush on my Kindle2 right now I wish I had all my fiction novels in ebook format.

Plus, I can read all the bubblegum fluffy books I want in public and no one knows. Equally, I could read the latest blockbuster without every waiter and fellow diner wanting to chat about it.

I just read this funny post from Felicia Day's blog (http://feliciaday.com/blog/packs-o-men) that hits it right on the nose:
"Oh, Kindle, what have you done to me? I used to read “respectable” high fantasy, things with castles on the covers, 800 pages long with 5 sequels and lots of swordplay. Now I use your anonymous leatherette cover to read vampire and demon lady-porn. :( Sigh."

Robert said...

This isn't Robert. I'm setting up his igoogle homepage and putting a feed to here on it. Just discovered I haven't been checking my google reader--missed two of your posts.

This one HAS to be submitted to NYTIMES endpaper.

Kent State is having an exhibition of cover art from old paperbacks. Seeing it is on our "todo" list.

Keep sending your book out. Someone wants it. Readers want it.

Trackrick said...

I would often hold out for a version of a given book that has a cover I liked. Especially if the book has been made into a movie. I always prefer the original cover to the movie poster turned into a cover.