Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bathroom Monologue: Multi-Function Books

Physical books are unfavorable items. Chapters lack ringtones, you have to turn all those pages, and Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse comes with no free flashlight app. Telling a story, developing new characters and plot devices, commentary on society and the world – "Meh," says the market. "These are single-function devices. I don't want a book that’s only always Shakespeare."

Hark, I beg you. It may only be The Norton Shakespeare, restricted to the same words on the same pages no matter how many times you scroll over them with your fingers. But observe. It can be placed in front of a door to keep the thing open. Somebody annoyed about the door always being open? With its convenient heft, The Norton Shakespeare makes a convenient bludgeon to resolve most any argument. You may even pick up a few insults from the book’s “single-function” as you discover its new functions. Should you be ousted from the apartment complex for unruly behavior, your can tear up the book and line your clothing with its crumpled pages. As you shudder in the evening chill, you can peek at whatever pages emerge from the fraying ends of your jacket. They are often inspirational, or at least so vacuous you can infer whatever you want into them, making certain whatever you read is uncannily germane to your circumstances. You can’t line your coat with iPhones. Those are the really restrictive devices.


  1. Very true.
    And you can't light a fire to keep warm with electronic devices. Nor can you make a sailboat that really floats. Or a pirate's hat.
    Kindles aren't happy about being read in the tub, either.

  2. I'd rather have paper books on a desert island. You do't have to worry about recharging them. You can use the pages for kindling. Or toilet paper. So many uses.

  3. Brilliance. I knew there was a reason I liked them. Obviously I appreciate a good doorstop!

  4. Cute post! Waxing nostalgic are we?

    I may not be able to use it as toilet paper, but I do prefer reading on my iPad. :)

  5. Finally, a use for the Norton anthology I was forced to buy at university.


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