Allie Larkin lives in Rochester, New York, with her husband Jeremy; their two German Shepherds, Argo and Stella; and a three-legged cat. She is the cofounder of TheGreenists.com, a site dedicated to helping readers take simple steps toward going green. Stay (Dutton), the story of a heartbroken woman who accidentally orders a one-hundred pound German Shepherd from Slovakia off the internet, is her first novel.
You can learn more about STAY at AllieLarkinWrites.com.
Thanks and welcome, Allie!
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I read mass markets in the bathtub. I like to cuddle up in bed with a trade paperback when I can’t sleep. And my all-time favorite indulgence is to sit down in a comfy chair with a cup of tea and a good hardcover. I like the way the pages feel. I like the heft of the cover and the slight creak of the binding. For me, there is a magic to books in book form.
I got my first real hardcover chapter book in fourth grade — Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. It was thick and heavy and took me two months to read, and I felt important while I read it. I felt smart. And I still have it, on the top shelf of a bookcase. There are flowers from my prom corsages pressed between the pages. When I thumb through it, it’s almost like visiting with an old friend.
Most of what I own feels disposable. We could pick up and move, and I would be fine selling our furniture, our dishes, my clothes, our exercise equipment, but not my books. They’re my history. They’re a physical marker of time I’ve spent happily reading. They’re a reminder of characters I love and stories that have shaped me, in one way or another. I dream someday of a house with rooms of floor to ceiling built-in shelves, so I can be surrounded by my books as I go about my day.
But my book worship doesn’t keep me from celebrating eReaders. Instant books wherever and whenever you want them? Hell, yes! I’m planning to steal my husband’s Nook when I travel this summer, so I won’t have to choose between packing appropriate shoes or an extra book.
When I went to NYC last year, I read Twilight on the Kindle app on my iPhone in the subway. Reading on that teeny tiny screen wasn’t the world’s most indulgent sensory reading experience, but I wholeheartedly embraced being able to carry a book around in the back pocket of my jeans. And I loved that, for all the people around me knew, I could have been reading Proust, not an impossibly addictive story about teenage vampires.
I think eReaders bring the same autonomy to reading that MP3 players brought to music. With an MP3 player, suddenly, you could listen to “Blame It On The Rain” and reminisce about bike shorts and shoulder pads, without any incriminating Milli Vanilli CD cases lying around. I hope eBooks give readers permission to enjoy whatever kinds of books they genuinely like reading without concern for outside opinions.
I’m not done with paper books. Far from it. I will always find joy in the final creak of the pages when I close a book, with watery eyes and a sense of satisfaction from a story well-told. But I think there’s a firm place for eReaders in the line up of available book formats. And if I’m not wearing dirty sneakers at my book signing events this summer, you’ll know that my husband is walking around the house, racking his brain, trying to figure out where he last left his eReader.