Friday, September 16, 2011

“I never read. I just look at pictures”- Andy Warhol

I don’t read books....... I wait for the movie. That said, I have a true passion for books and bookstores. As a non reader, E-books and Kindles don’t cut the mustard. They offer nothing that appeals to my senses. That is why I love to browse in bookstores and cool old shops; a great pastime especially for me since I don’t spend all my time reading and have plenty extra for browsing.

I do arduously read and analyze book titles, the author’s, publishers and all those “self published” books which seem to be all the rage. I really like the way books look, smell, old, new, rare, first edition. I like the feel of a book in my hand, to measure their cost, how big or heavy they are. I sort, organize and strategically place books on shelves and throughout my house. I photograph them and document the way I find them on a shelf. In short, I pretty much do everything but read the darn things.

For me, the whole “book thing” comes down to storytelling. I used to like reference books but now we have the internet, so it’s all about fiction. OK, I do read a few biographies because I like people’s stories, but really most of those books are movies now too.

The book itself tells enough of a story to fill my needs. Old books have inscriptions, notes or found gems like old ticket stubs or photos used as bookmarks. New ones have funky graphics, imagery and messages claiming to be relevant to current times.

Most of all, I appreciate a good storyteller which isn’t easy for everyone to do. It requires timing, gesture, tone, and humor. So much goes into storytelling and a good storyteller is hard to come by these days. We are in too much of a hurry now for telling or listening. 

My favorite storytellers are what I like to call my older “gentleman friends” Dorman David, Geoff Winningham, Kirk Farris, and of course my Dad. Most Kids today can barely speak in complete sentences; much less tell a good story.

Sadly, storytelling may be a dying ritual, much like the fate of browsing aimlessly through a great bookstore. I won’t miss the loss of the superstores like Borders but I hope the independents can stay in business against the internet moguls somehow. 

Tell me a story or give me the movie, but please keep the books and bookstores for old time sake. What does the future hold for books? And most importantly will storytellers die out along with the ritual of book browsing?