I have this thing for books. You know, the real kind, with covers and pages inside that are just begging to be turned, or earmarked to find that amazing passage again. These ‘old school’ books don’t need to be plugged in, and you can read them in virtually any kind of light. In a pinch, you could even use some of the pages as TP when camping in the woods. I’d like to see you try that with an eReader or iPad!
Their only real drawback is their physical size, like when you’re reading in bed, and your eyes start to get drowsy and the book is so heavy that you drop it on your face and it leaves a mark and you lose your page… okay, that part sucks. When you’re travelling, books can also be rather heavy and bulky, which is a particular nuisance on discount airlines that charge by the kilo for luggage – don’t make me say the R-word (Ryanair – argh!!!). For this very reason, I did try to use an eReader before, and I can see the benefits… kinda… but until I get through the backlog of precious hardcovers and softcovers that I have accumulated over the past few years, there’s really no need, at least for now.
All that to say, a few years back, I thought I would try to be more environmentally friendly and instead of committing myself to long-term relationships with these books, and having them move into my limited shelf space, I could simply date them by getting a library card. All good in theory… until the reality of the return policy hit home. You have about three weeks to return a regular book, but only one week if it is a new release, or as the Toronto Public Library likes to call it, a ‘Best Bet’. I can’t handle that kind of pressure! I remember the days when I could easily finish a book in under a week, and I’m hoping to reacquaint myself with those times again very soon, but until then, my multi-book dabbling practices will no doubt continue for the foreseeable future.
Which brings me to today’s new thing. Who knew that while you were out clubbing and working all this time, your local library grew up, too? In addition to the things you remember from school, they now also lend out videos, DVDs, language-learning videos/DVDs, CDs, eContent (for real!) and even pedometers! On top of all of that, they act like local community centres, offering various programs, creative workshops and even movie nights, for free. I almost feel a little foolish having paid for all of the workshops I’ve been taking lately, as many similar ones are being held at the libraries, but then I got most of them at a substantial discount, thanks to my delightful deal vouchers, so it’s all good.
Tonight, I went to a movie at the library to see Force of Nature, an NFB documentary movie about David Suzuki. Yup, that’s the guy you might remember who hosted The Nature of Things for 31 of its 50 year run, which is an incredible feat for any television program made anywhere, ever. He truly is one of this country’s greatest treasures, and is the original myth buster, in my opinion. You’d be hard pressed not to learn something any time the man opens his mouth, even to breathe. His passion for the environment and what we are doing to it makes Al Gore look like a hobbyist. What’s nice is that it weaves David’s own personal 75-year history into the film through a series of flashbacks while he is giving a speech. The groovy shirts and hippie hairstyles along the way are enough to make us all laugh out loud, and are a nice counter-balance to the heavy opener about the internment of Canadians of Japanese descent during the second world war, including Canadian-born David and his family. Heavy stuff.
I enjoyed the film immensely, as I still kind of revere Dr. Suzuki as the living legend that he is, and walked home thinking about sorting my recyclables better, unplugging unnecessary appliances, conserving water, and buying only Ocean Wise fish. Basically, wanting to become a better environmental citizen. It is precisely this kind of programming that the NFB and CBC have delivered over the years that make me proud of our country, and make them institutions worth preserving. Okay, sorry to get all political on you there for a minute, but it’s just the facts. Now back to our regularly scheduled light-hearded programming, delivered to you in digestible nuggets. Mmmm… nuggets of savoury cheese curds melted on top of poutine… Peace out.