Sorry for the hiatus, everyone; I've been in France. (If you want to know why you can read my more domestic blog on www.maryhoffman.co.uk)
One morning while I was there I caught part of a TV book programme that practically made me want to emigrate. Umberto Eco and Jean-Claude Carrière were being interviewed about a book they had written together called N'espérez pas vous débarrasser des livres. My French is far from perfect but I did understand Professor Eco to say that if Robinson Crusoe had been stranded on his island with some form of e-reader, his battery would have run out within hours, whereas the Bible he had with him kept him going for 21 years!
So, I think these long-headed fellows were talking about the durability and other advantages of printed books over electronic ones. Anyway, it made me think of another advantage - or disadvantage, depending on your point of view.
How will you be able to judge the taste, education, enthusiasms and background of a person whose home you enter if the day ever comes when you can't browse their bookshelves? What will happen to judging a person by the books they keep? You can't very well ask to look at their Kindle index, can you?
If I see someone has a good set of obviously read Dickens, Austen, Trollope, say for starters, I know we'll have something to talk about. Likewise The Myth of the Goddess or If This is a man or If on a Winter's Night a Traveller ...or Ulysses (unread copies don't count) or lots of books on mythology.
If, on the other hand, it's all Dan Brown and Kate Mosse, I know that whatever else we might have in common, it won't be our taste in literature. And people can be so hard to read, I'll really miss that useful set of clues when all their choices are hidden inside an A5 sized machine with a battery.