Misadventure! Reading a Paper Book

I read ebooks almost exclusively but there are some cases when hard copy is absolutely required. From the moment I laid eyes on Wonderbook I knew I must have a physical copy.

So great was my desire to own this tome that I invoked the same day delivery gambit through Amazon. For those of you who don't know... a same day order placed around 4-5 PM in a city with heavy traffic has a ~60% fail rate. If it fails they refund shipping and you get it the next day. I was in luck and I had free next day delivery.

The book did not disappoint and continues to delight me. I was impressed by the whimsical cabinet of curiosities it presented. Filled with lavish and surreal illustrations, Jeff VanderMeer's Wonderbook is like discovering a hidden treasure or mysterious codex. And it's chock full of writing wisdom. Seriously, buy it.

But I had a hard time making it through it at first. I found my eyes scanning topic sentences and skipping entire paragraphs without realizing what was making me so impatient. Then as I was reading in bed, a chilling notion crept into the recesses of my mind:

I think this might be easier with reading glasses.

As it happens I own a pair of 1990's-esque Lisa Loeb looking glasses I found on the street many years ago. (Incidentally do you know she has her own line of glasses now? Holy brand synergy batman!) For some unfathomable reason I've kept them in the drawer of junk along with condoms, batteries, a unicorn cutout and some old AA chips.

So with great trepidation, I donned the glassy eye shackles I had long ago severed with LASIK and returned to my task.

sunset-hand-garden-book-large"Holy fucking shit. I can read again! This is awesome!"

"Dude, you're wearing some knockoff Lisa Loeb reading glasses you found on the fucking street because your eyes suck now."

"Shit."

I have been luckier than most to escape the ravages of time although it seems to be catching up with a vengeance. Perhaps a part of me, like Icarus soaring on his golden wings, thought I was truly going to be immortal. But alas, no. My body is on track to make sure I have the full experience of turning forty.

With digital media it's easy to fool yourself. I can just increase the font size on my Kindle apps. Book #3 is zoomed at 130% and MS Word has faithfully maintained that size ever since. But you cannot change the size of the printed word.

As you look at the writing on a page, know that your days are numbered. The mass market paperback copy of Game of Thrones you buy at the grocery store is like so many other things, a folly of youth. When you can no longer read the words, they are saying, "You will die one day... but first you must now and forever own a special piece of eye wear they sell at drugstores."

In the words of George R.R. Martin and his 600 page small print paperback, Valar morghulis. (All men must die)


Mike bode is the author of The Queen of Lies, the first installment in the ongoing series, Architects of the Grand Design. His next book comes out October. Sign up for the mailing list for more info. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest . (You can also follow him on Goodreads and even Amazon)

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