Reading is my primary pleasure in life. Sure, I watched Lost from start to finish, and yes, Community makes me laugh every week, but when I really want to enjoy myself I read. I’m not sure why exactly. Maybe because it is such an intimate experience. Maybe because it doesn’t require me to be in a particular place. Maybe because flexing my imagination is so satisfying. No matter the reason, reading is the ultimate experience for me and always has been. For my money, there is no entertainment as enjoyable. I am also a bit of a book hoarder. My shelves are packed to the gills. I also tend to buy multiples of the same book. Why be satisfied with the advance reader when I can get my hands on the hardback? Why lug the hardback when I can slip the paperback in my purse? Why stop there if I spot a signed copy? I won’t lie to you, I also own more books I have not read than books I have. I request books from the library just because the cover looks interesting. Mostly I glance through and then return it, but I don’t think the library minds. Every so often, though, I stumble across something that becomes a favorite. Sometimes I buy the book later and sometimes not. Owning the book is not as important as the experience of reading it. That pleasure, even when the book is over, will always be with me. The joy of it is in the reading. And no matter what the format, the essence of the story is in the words that have come to me from the author’s heart. I used to be a bookseller. I loved it. It was the best job I ever had. I’d do it for free (or for free books). I hear and read a lot these days about booksellers afraid of digital books and ereaders. Many claim that without a book in hand, some essential element of the reading experience is lost. But isn’t the essence of a book just the words? I have an ereader and I use it daily. It’s slim and cute and maybe I have to plug it in every now and then, but it holds volume upon volume that I can access without getting up from my chair. Of course I still buy books, and absolutely nothing can replace the excitement of browsing the shelves of my favorite bookstore, but the pleasure of the story on my ereader is just as fierce and just as strong as cracking a fresh spine. There’s nothing inherently virtuous about reading on paper instead of a screen, but reading on that screen isn’t going to cost my favorite bookseller her job. The publishing and bookselling industries are changing, but the pleasure of reading will always be the same.