The Dewey Decimal Deathmatch: Books vs. eReader

I’ve said, on more than one or two occasions, that extremism is bad. To be so devoted to any one secular side of a spectrum or argument makes one blind to the opposing perspective makes one blind to the world around them. More often than not, I’ve applied this philosophy to terms of political leanings, or social issues, but there is an exception. Books.

In another life, I was a commentator for professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), and part of my duties was assembling statistics on fights. My job was to analyze data, to create hype around the fights to occur, and provide analysis of the fights after they’ve gone down. I’ve seen grown men get hit so hard they don’t know what day of the week it is, or what town they’ve come from. All of that considered I’ve never been more internally conflicted by opposing choices than choosing between a physical copy of a book or an eReader such as an Amazon Kindle or a Nook.

For this week’s blog, I’m going to tap into a former life, and I’m going to break down the tale of the tape, and analyze the war of attrition between the Book and the eReader!

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A Diet of Dummy-Books: How Comic Books & Graphic Novels Ignited My Love for Reading

1995-1996

Moshannon Valley Elementary School – Madera, Pennsylvania

My fifth-grade teacher (who will not be named in this blog in fear of summoning the demon that occupied her flesh) gave us a writing assignment for our composition books: write a story. Obviously, this woman was packed to the brim with inspiration & vision, right? We could write a story about whatever we wanted, so I did. I never claimed to be a usual child, I had a wild imagination, and wanted everyone to be excited about it. In that tan-and-red composition book I penned a tale about a child that goes to the doctor to get something out of his eye, and the doctor turns out to be an alien cyborg whose head walked around on metal octopus ears. The doctor would shoot tendrils—long string like appendages, often found on plants—to grab things. Mrs. “I look too much like my brother for anyone to be comfortable about it” says to me: “I don’t even know what that word means.”

This woman was an educator. An educator was giving me shit about using a big word that exceeded her understanding.

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Hooray for Andy Partridge! Who’ll Pray for Andy Patridge?

You may have heard me say once, or twice, “a storyteller can spot another storyteller from many miles away.” If not, now you know I’ve said it. This week’s blog is an ode to another storyteller, whose skills are admirable and deserve the recognition from another wordsmith.

Some backstory: I am, in the literary sense, a “pantser.” That means I don’t plot, I write from the seat of my pants. The blessing, and curse, of being a pantser is that I can see something innocuous and make a connections from it. That skill is how I bullshit my way through speech classes and wrote excellent book reports. Storytelling, after all, is the skill of weaving together semi-plausible events in fantastic ways, right? If I was blessed given a divine gift, that would be it.

A storyteller can spot another storyteller from many miles away.

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I’m Tired (An Ode to Broken Bones)

Where I come from, the litmus test for how bad you were hurt was how hard you were crying. If I had to guess, the leading cause of untreated illness and injuries in that area has a direct correlation to crying being seen as a weakness that would not be tolerated. Crying was the absence of toughness and only the tough had a place at the table. If you were injured today, you’d have your injuries compared to someone’s great-great-grandfather who had his leg blown off in the Civil War and then went to work the next day in the mines, on his birthday.

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Famous Book Synopsis (By A.P. Miller)

Before I had my diagnosis of ADHD, a lot of people thought I was lazy and uninspired. After a few years of being told what a fuck-off you are, you start leaning into it a little bit. My penchant for sloth was rivaled only by my gift for spite & contempt. In late 1995, my mother had to sign one of my social studies tests because I got a bad grade on it. She asks “Did you really answer a question about how European colonists expanded through South America with ‘they walked’?” Why yes, Mama, I did.

Note: I got the second-highest GPA in that fifth-grade class that year. That teacher, who looked WAY too much like her husband for people not to talk about it, had a hate-boner for your truly.

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