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The Beauty of the Book

I’ve been reading the same book for almost four hours. It’s school-assigned, and I may have left a huge chunk of reading for the last minute.

However, I’m deprived of the satisfaction that comes with being able to see the chunk of already read pages slowly accumulate on the books left-hand side. Instead, I have to settle for the depressingly blunt “70 of 473” page counter at the bottom of my iPad’s screen.

This marks my first foray into the more expedient yet somewhat less authentic world of e-Books, which according to USA Today accounted for 20% of total book sales in 2011. And while I’m generally a supporter of technology replacing “old-fashioned” societal mainstays, I have a sore spot for books.

I love the feeling of having a brand-new paperback in my hand, of experiencing the satisfaction that comes along with physically turning a page. Swiping the screen in a so-called “page-turning motion” will never successfully replicate that. Plus, the build-up of a bunch of smudgy fingerprint marks in one corner of the screen from failed swipe attempts – it’s harder than you’d think – gets annoying quickly.

Then there’s the reading at the beach factor. Minus the blood-sucking swarms of mosquitoes that always seem to only attack me, I can think of no more idyllic setting than having a good book to read at a beach on a summer evening. It’s the stuff retirement fund commercials are made of.

I don’t care if a Kindle has a glare-proof screen. That doesn’t make the situation any less hopeless when that five-year-old with a sugar high sends your precious reading material screen-first into a foot of sands.

It’s not like electronics aren’t distracting enough. During my e-Reading adventure, I received notifications from my accounts for iMessage, Facebook, Draw Something, Word’s With Friends, Scramble With Friends, and Hanging With Friends – obviously I make sure my iPad knows I have friends. There’s nothing like an annoying Marimba ring to jar someone out of an intense plot twist.

Reading is supposed to be a time when I shut off and dive into the world of the setting described in the book, or at least that’s what librarians have always told me is supposed to happen.

That doesn’t happen to me on an iPad. It feels superficial, and every time I start to become entranced, I’m thrown back by a notification about someone posting in Kony 2012 for the thousandth time.

E-Readers do have their advantages, like cheaper books and instant access to any title the mind can dream up. For now, I’m going to play the role of the old secretary still using a typewriter and resist the rapidly overwhelming takeover.

I’m not ready to turn the page yet.

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About the Contributor
Will McDonald
Will McDonald, Managing Editor
At first glance, one would never know the special title senior Will McDonald holds in the Inklings room. “Ms. McNamee says I have the worst handwriting she’s seen in 20 years,” McDonald says. He admits this with pride, and from the look of his notes, with confidence that he will maintain that reputation. McDonald also lives with the struggle of sharing his name with a school janitor. Between receiving email requests to fix pipes and teachers frustrated by a lack of response to their emails, the situation has become a big mess. McDonald wasted no time getting involved with Inklings as a freshman and now along with his impressive handwriting title he is the current managing editor. Before his current position he had been a sports and news editor. His favorite pieces of work would be his article “When Stealing’s Not A Crime” and his front-page graphic for the Sandy Hook edition. On top of his position on the Inklings staff, McDonald is also the captain of the boy’s cross-country team. He spent his summer working at the Sherwood Island Nature Center. Outside of work and school McDonald likes to read, watch movies, listen to music by Mumford & Sons and enjoy pancakes at his favorite restaurant, Chips. As McDonald approaches this year at Inklings he shares, “knowing that this is my final year is saddening, but at the same time exciting because of all of the great things that I know are still left to be accomplished”.

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