Richard Cohen: Whatever Happened To Books, Dagnabbit

Our favoriteWashington Post old crab Richard Cohen has put together another gem today, following his recent coot-ish rambles about tattoos, his eyesight and, of course, uppity Negroes. Today's topic: books! He is in Boulder in a bookstore, with the books that the children don't give a hoot about anymore! They are buying them on this "Amazon" internet page, or not at all, because they are terrible, bwah bwah bwah.

Complete fucking psychobabble:

BOULDER, Colo. -- On an average day when I am here, I amble over to the Boulder Book Store. Often, I simply browse -- it's a very good bookstore -- and sometimes I buy something, but mostly I just like the feel of the place. It has a cafe and lots of specialized sections, and recently I watched my granddaughter as she observed a yoga lesson for children. I bet they don't do that over at Amazon.

Instead, over at Amazon they are inadvertently thinking of ways to make the world worse for children and for the grown-ups who love them to pieces.

No, that's true, because Amazon is a rainforest in fake Mexico or some such. They hunt wild parrot for food and do not have time for elitist yoga. WAIT, he is talking about the Amazon River? That's it. WAIT, no, the website,, where you buy, what is it, BOOKS. But he is right: they do not offer yoga classes at this online bookstore.


The book is warm. The book is handy. The book is handsome to the eye. The book occupies the shelf of the owner and is a reflection of him or her or, actually, me. The book is always there, to be reached for, to be thumbed and, too often, I admit, to wonder about: Why did I buy this? My bookcase is full of mysteries.

"Many of my book's pages stick together after all the years, due to said warmth and handsomeness."

Amazon has this device that downloads books. It is called the Kindle, which must be one of those focus group words. Sounds like the German word for children. Sounds like kind. Sounds innocent. Of course, it is not. My friends, book lovers all, have bought Kindles. At first, I was shocked: You? A Kindle? It's like discovering some sort of secret perversion.

Feeling oddly guilty, I bought a Kindle myself. Someday soon, I'm going to see how it works. I hesitate because I know it represents the beginning of the end -- books as books, bookstores, book lovers and, inescapably, the brilliant Frederic Manning, resurrected by a bookseller only to be eventually reinterred as too obscure to be Kindled.

That's seriously how he ends the column. YOU, A KINDLE? Ha ha ha, he is just out of his mind forever, totally batshit.


The Book on the Shelf [Washington Post]


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