How our complicated relationship with the books we own is threatened by the Kindle et al:
“There are books we pretend to keep for reference, but in fact keep only because they look so damn fine on the shelf. And then there are the books where should-have-read blends with may-have-read, and we're too embarrassed to confess we can't remember which is the case ("Catcher in the Rye"). There are also the books of hollow triumph, the great tomes of philosophy read in college, which remain on the shelves like snapshots taken from the summit of Everest or like pants in the closet that will never again slide up our thighs without tearing.
“Electronic book readers are a great invention for people who actually read books. But what do they offer those of us who have an even more complicated relationship with books unread? Sitting on a shelf, Thomas Mann's "Magic Mountain" stares down as coldly and harshly as an alp in winter. Locked up in the digital ether of a Kindle or a Nook, it can never indict our miserable laziness.”
Read the rest of Philip Kennicott’s piece here, in the Washington Post.