My Lovely Literary Regret


Is reading an ebook as virtuous as reading a real book?

For many years one of my secret regrets was my failure to read more books – well, most years, any books. My regret was not actually deep enough to spur me to read a book. I preferred to savor my regret and its companion: a noble guilt which at least assured me I was a better soul than any of the sizable horde heedless of the joys of books.

 Then the iPad came into my life and I began to read books on its big bright  screen. A lot of books. Now, after about three months or so, I’ve read more than thirty books! I spend a couple of hours a night merrily reading away. I’ve read mysteries and thrillers and histories. I’m so proud of myself!

But now I regret my failure to read a better class of book: the classics, those deep and wise mountains of serious, if dense, prose from ages past. If I were a better person I’d read Plato and Cicero and  Hardy and Balzac and Kafka and Proust and Joyce and Elliot and all those other long dead (mostly white, European male) authors inhabiting the cannon. If I read those great books I would become a better and wiser person. I could pontificate and quote to my less learned friends in such a fine, condescending way!

And I want you to know I do deeply regret that I am not reading those august, edifying books. Someday I shall read them. I shall. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow but soon and for the rest of my life.

Till then I’ll just have to make do with  my lovely literary regret… 


Photo by Randen Pederson, remixed by me, subject to this creative commons license

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