Future of books

Recently my librarian and friend Bill Cochran asked me to contribute to a fundraising event. A series of small phrases, twitter-sized, would be in a bowl on tables and participants would draw out one for discussion. The “micro-flash” mini quote was to be about the future of books. Would they survive this technological disruption going on? What would books look like in 50 years or more?

I pondered this question. Books, in the scheme of human history, are a late-in-the-day phenomenon. A blip on the tail end of thousands of years. But story… Now story has existed since language developed. It is the *reason* language developed, to convey information that happened in the past, to transmit dangers to the present, to present unseen wonders from over the hill. It’s what makes us human, and makes us different from other species. Stories are a survival skill.

So stories will always be with us, in some form. The novel, a very long story, has an even shorter history than the book, just 300 years or so. It’s always changing, with the people it serves, writers and readers. Are you worried about the End of the Book? I’m not. Books and stories will be with as long as we can speak to each other.

For my micro-flash I adapted the longer tone poem I wrote about the mystery novel into a tiny package.  You can listen to Denice Stradling’s excellent narration of it. Close your eyes and let the idea of a book wash over you. In my little version it’s not just mysteries any more. It’s a grand, sweeping statement — in a micro-flash!  Feel free to share.

“A book is passion made tangible, the reins to a black and white horse. Ride the hills of the heart, no matter the form.” — Lise McClendon 

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