Lost in the Pages of a Book…Sort of

I sat four inches away from my computer screen, lifting my eyes up to dart around the room.  No one in the small crowd of students taking tests needed help.  I could continue reading.

“You pierce my soul.”

The words of Captain Frederick Wentworth pierced my own soul as I read through his confession of love to Anne Elliott.  Just as Anne had been re-united with her beloved Captain Wentworth, three students came in needing to take tests.  Sigh.  Back to work.

While I’m normally very busy at my job, the nature of my job creates moments of down-time where I need to do some quiet task.  Bookworm that I am, I’ve chosen to fill those down-times with reading.  Searching the archives of Project Gutenberg, I have found a remarkable number of books I always wanted to read but never could find.  (When was the last time you found Walter de la Mare short stories at your local Barnes & Noble?)

I’ve never been a big proponent of e-books.  For a while, I was as stiff-necked as a hard-bound book in my opinion that e-books were degrading to read.  Well…perhaps I didn’t think they were truly degrading.  But I feared that the world was going all electronic and the beauty of the printed word on a piece of paper would vanish, leaving me with infernal touch screens.

But slowly, I began to soften my stance as I realized the benefit of e-books.  After all, an Amazon Kindle weighs a lot less than my bookshelf does and I can’t carry a bookshelf onto an airplane.  And now, for the first time in my life, I have read an entire e-book–The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton.  I was actually disappointed with the book, but pleased I was able to finish the entire work in e-format.

If you’re familiar with Project Gutenberg, you know the typewriter font style and set-up is far from aesthetically pleasing.  But they have a wonderful variety of rare books for free.  And I couldn’t resist reading a little Chesterton and de la Mare on the computer when finding them in print is next to impossible.

So  I have decided to forgive e-books.  I’m not ready to buy a Kindle…or a Nook…or an iPad…or even a smartphone.  But a place that allows book lovers to read masterpieces in the public domain for free can’t be too evil.  Individual books may become obscure, but Project Gutenberg helps them live on.

(They should hire me.  I could write them great taglines.)

Check out the other works I’ve been reading on Project Gutenberg:

“The Cask of Amontillado” and “The Gold Bug” by Edgar Allan Poe
“Seaton’s Aunt” by Walter de la Mare (believe it or not, it was creepier than the two Poe stories mentioned above)
“American Fairy Tales” by L. Frank Baum
“House of the Seven Gables” by Nathaniel Hawthorne (just started it yesterday)

What have you all been reading this summer?

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