This morning marks the debut of the iPad 2. It’s all very exciting, and I hope to get my hands on one very soon (Peter, Mother’s Day is May 8th). But I am equally excited about the prospect of getting my hands on TC Boyle’s new book “When the Killing’s Done.” Not the e-book, the p-book—the one made out of paper. I’m not a Luddite by any stretch of the imagination, but there’s something about the smell of a book, the feel of its pages, the cover art, the type…I take in everything. I have an old Kindle and still use it for traveling, but there’s nothing like the feel, the weight, the “soul” of a real, material book.My favorite type of book is often an old used one that I might find at Powell’s, a book from my childhood perhaps, that smells like memories, and is creased and ripped in places—a strong hint that some little kid loved and cherished that book. As a child, I have fond memories of my parents dropping me off at the library. “Pick you up in a hour,” they said, “and remember, 12 books is your limit!” So off I’d go and make my way through the adult library, down the creaking stairs, and into the musty basement, into a young reader’s heaven.
As an adult, I still love libraries and bookstores. If I’m having a stressful day, I’ll take the time to wander into one of my favorite local bookstores and take it all in. There’s something comforting about being in the presence of hundreds a books. It’s as if they’re whispering “It’s ok. We’re here for you. Relax. Breathe. Sit down and read one of us.” A good bookstore is like an electric blanket—it’s so comforting, you never want to leave it.