A couple years ago, I made the biggest mistake of my life: I got rid of all (most) of my print books in favor of Kindle. What can I say? I was taken in by that minimalism doc on Netflix. Fast forward to today, and I lament not having a bookshelf overflowing with science fiction and mysteries and light erotica–you know, all the genres my dad kept on his bookshelf when I was a wee little cyberpunk writer. Although we moved every 4-5 years, that bookshelf followed us from deployment to deployment, and always stood a post in a shared space like a hallway.
I loved that bookshelf. It’s where I discovered Replay by Ken Grimwood. Almost every book was beyond my comprehension, but I read them all the same. My son, El Matador, can read, and he’s not even five years old yet. He has tons of books in his room, but I can imagine him one day coming into my home office, standing in front of my bookshelf, and pulling out a copy of Neuromancer, The Martian Chronicles, or A Scanner Darkly. Sure, he might grab the Henny Millers or Anaïs Nins, but them’s the breaks. At least that’ll give him the foundation to grow up and write stories like his old man.
Anyway, I’m no longer buying any Kindle books, no matter how deeply Amazon discounts them. The irony is I still rely on Kindle sales and Kindle Unlimited reads for my books. In the long run, I want that bookshelf in my house full of awesome books that will inspire my children. As a kid, I dreamt of what my library would look like when I was older–some sprawling room with floor-to-ceiling shelves.
Instead, it’s just a thin plastic pad that shows me ads between the books I actually want to read.
We’ve strayed too far, my friends.