an advantage of paper books…

is that, when the power goes out for fourteen hours, you can crack open a brand-new one, that creaking noise of the spine opening for the first time in your ears, the brightness of the pages determined not by a switch but by the number of candles on the table next to your chair.

is that, occasionally, your circumstance and the story line of the book you pull from your “to-read” shelf coincide in a way that is magical, when the plot is about isolation in a world that has been turned on its head, is about returning to ways that had been lost, is being read on a day when none of the modern conveniences we depend on (including charging an e-reading device) are even possible.

is that, when that book is Peter Heller’s The Dog Stars, you curl into a ball under a blanket, with two dogs at your feet, and find yourself swept into a landscape of clipped, poetic syntax, an instantly sympathetic character, and a feeling of both loneliness and soaring hope that you can’t explain.

No blue-ish glow. No clicking or sliding. No accidental page turns or glare. Only candlelight and the rough paper beneath my fingertips, irreplaceable and just right.

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