Today we celebrate not needing a reader’s shelf
A reader’s shelf. What is that?
Before Gutenberg, before movable type, a literate person desiring to read a book went to a library, most often housed by a church or royalty, and requested that particular book. The book was retrieved and placed upon a reader’s shelf to be read there, at that sitting.
The means to get to the library? By foot, by donkey, by horse, by carriage, by boat.
Right now you are reading this . . . from anywhere. Some of you are on toilets, in offices, poolside, in bed, in transit, listening to this being translated to voice, viewing it from virtually anywhere you damn well please.
Imagine the constrictions on the seekers of knowledge back then!
The learned would be appalled that I wasted this luxury not long ago
– the same day I became aware of the reader’s shelf in a lecture I was attending by car (!) via audio recording
– by clicking onto a Kanye West tweet displaying (purportedly) an exposed Kardashian backside.
Lovely as it was
– and enlarged as the posterior was
– this click while researching the reader’s shelf was a frivolity that would have been unthinkable for any in a previous age.
When I say a previous age, I mean even a previous age of my own! Age ten, age twenty, age thirty . . . none of this was possible. We adjust so quickly to the innovations of the age we forget we live steeped in a world of wonder.
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