The Student News Site of Mayfield Senior School

The Mayfield Crier

The Student News Site of Mayfield Senior School

The Mayfield Crier

The Student News Site of Mayfield Senior School

The Mayfield Crier

The Vanishing Book Act



Browsing the web, I came across a video online of a toddler playing with toys. The girl, no more than two, was presented with a book and an iPad. She first picked up the iPad and surprisingly navigated through different apps with ease.

Even more surprising was her reaction when she tried to play with the children’s books. I watched almost in disbelief as she earnestly tried swiping the book, failing to understand how to turn the pages, and ultimately crying until her parents gave her the iPad.

To her, the book was just a broken tablet. The digital pages were her reality, and the real pages between the covers of a material book were artificial.

As I watched, I felt sorry for the girl. She would probably never know the thrill of getting her first library card or wandering through the stacks of volumes at her local branch or even finding a hidden literary treasure at a neighbors garage sale.

Not to mention that the “digital age”makes the entire plot of You’ve Got Mail obsolete, because who would go to a bookstore when they could buy the newest Stephen King right from their couch?

The best part of discovering a new book for me has always been interacting with people in libraries and book stores. Casually asking the librarian or the cute check out clerk at Barnes and Noble  “Hey, read any good books lately?” can spark scintillating conversations about ideas, customs, philosophies, or even parallel universes.

Books are so amazing because they tie people together through a message or discovery or story. They create not solitude, but kinship that grows when we exchange ideas with one another.

The Two Princesses of Bamarre is my favorite childhood book, not necessarily because of the content of the story, but because how I came across it.

I was mulling around the limited bookcases of our elementary school’s reading room when Ms. Case pulled me over. Stomach turning, I thought that I had done wrong by the fiery white-haired librarian, but instead she gestured me over to her desk and pulled out a small worn paperback.

“It thought you might find this interesting,” she said, and left me with the book as she went to reprimand at yet another kid down the hall for being too loud. The cover was beautiful with gold writing and two beautiful princesses on the front. I checked it out and over the course of the year read it six more times.

When I moved at the end of the year, Ms. Case gave me The Two Princesses of Bamarre from the library, somewhat illegally I might add.

“It’s my niece’s favorite book too,”she said to me before I left. “She used to have me read it to her all the time.”

And with a quick squeeze, Ms. Case transformed from the school librarian to a friend and confidant I had gained because of a book that bound us together.

I still have that copy of The Two Princesses of Bamarre, which now sits in the bookcase in my new room. From time to time when I feel nostalgic, I reread it and am reminded of not just the story but of my old home and friends and of course, Ms. Case. It is something that I truly treasure.

But can these unexpected relationships, like the one formed between Ms. Case and myself, still be formed if we are skimming on eReaders?

This Christmas, my grandparents had an argument at the dinner table over my Pops’ newest gadget: the Kindle. My grandma Willie, a proud advocate of “the real thing,” ridiculed Pops about his latest toy. Not even his best arguments about bigger text size and storing multiple volumes could convert her rigid mindset.

“It just doesn’t feel right,”Wille said, shaking her head as she passed the tablet back to my grandfather.

The habit of holding a book and flipping the pages, as trivial as it may seem, is my grandmother’s way to fully travel the journeys that each book presents to her. The physical book is essential to her enjoyment and understanding of the story, making notes in the margin and dog earring almost every page.

“And what if I want to lend this book to Remy,” she continued. “What would I do then?”

Unlike a concrete books that can be plucked from the shelves of a home library, eBooks cannot be shared without either giving someone their entire device or being guilty of copyright infringements.

But what good is a book if you can’t share it? The easier a book is to share with one another, the more opportunities one has to share it and create relationships with others.

Even as we dive further into the age of condensing knowledge and virtual realities, I will always prefer the smooth cover of a hardback novel when I curl up to read instead of a cold tablet. It may be old-fashioned, but for me, Willie, and many others, it just feels right.