Thursday, May 17, 2012

To the Indies with Love; Plus, a Rant about E-Books

I want to share some of the awesomeness of independent bookstores with y'all. These pictures are inadequate at expressing the full experience of my tour, because they only show two of the bookstores I visited -- but they'll give you an idea.

The first is Children's Book World in Haverford, Pennsylvania. This was just the best event ever. The booksellers at Children's Book World went all out. Also, I have family and friends in the Haverford area who were able to come. Thank you, Children's Book World, for throwing a FABULOUS party, and also for giving me the venue to perform in front of loved ones, including my parents.

 At Children's Book World...

... I got to sit on a throne and read to the lovely people!

 Check out the spread!

 Blue cupcakes. Blueberries. Key cookies.

 Bread!


The second is Wild Rumpus, in Minneapolis. I had a school event with Wild Rumpus, then had the opportunity to visit the store afterwards. If you're ever in Minneapolis, you need to check out this store.

 Wild Rumpus has a big door  for big
people (which I managed to cut off on
top, sorry -- it's the gray part) and an
inset (purple) little door for little people.

It also has a chicken. Two, actually.

 And (the world's most mellow) cat.

 And a fish tank in the bathroom.
 And other animals, too, that I didn't
 get good pictures of.

 It also happens to have an alternate
 world breaking through the ceiling.

 And a table devoted to books that have serious girls with flowing hair
 on their covers.

Guys? Only independent bookstores can be this awesome.

***

Now that rant I promised. Here goes. I know there are a lot of people who love to read books electronically, and I'm really happy it works for them, but I have to say, I think e-books have a long, long, LONG way to go. The problem is quite simple, but it's also enormous: Often, in order to have a complete and satisfying reading experience, a reader wants and needs to be looking at numerous pages of a book at once. Also, often, a reader needs to be able to flip from one part of a book to another instantly, and I mean INSTANTLY, the way many people can do with fingers on paper but still not on any of our electronics. And not just flip from one place to another -- flip through one section, sometimes even while having other sections open. I use all ten of my fingers when I read.

E-readers are still too clunky and slow for me, e-readers show me too little of a book at once, e-readers are a hugely limited reading experience compared to what my eyes, hands, and fingers can do with a book made of paper. While I was on tour, I was reading The Night Circus on my e-reader. I cannot tell you how frequently I thought to myself, while reading that book, that this technology isn't worthy of the art it's trying to support. My e-reader was an insult to the book. A book like that requires and deserves a support platform that allows you to be perusing many, many sections of the book at once, instantly and easily. My e-reader traps the book too much in space and time (which is particularly ironic with this particular book ^_^). BLECH! BLECH, I SAY!!! The night I got home from my tour, I was SO RELIEVED to switch over to the paper copy of the book. Which paper copy was a gift to me, from one of the independent bookstores on my tour (thank you, Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville, IL!) ^_^.

That is all.