Kenneth Roberts in the Digital Age

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While I enjoy the conveniences technology affords us – such as the iPhone, laptops, internet, etc. – I must confess that I have not taken hold of the e-book craze.  I’ve only bought one Kindle book, and that was out of necessity.  Google Books offers numerous partial-views or full-views of books. One can own thousands of books without owning a book case.  But, that’s not for me.  I’d rather sit in a room flooded with books.  I want to hold a book in my hands and smell the pages as I thumb through them.  And when I need to reference a book previously read, I don’t mind getting out of my desk chair to retrieve the book from across the room.

Nevertheless, Google Books and the move to digitize book has its advantages to poor Ph. D. students like me.  And here is where this post connects to this website.  Ever since I began my hunt for anything Kenneth Roberts – not just his novels, but his books written in the 1920s, his Post articles, his cookbook, and his water dowsing books – I have sought tenaciously for, but never succeeded, his books written in the 1920s during his Post days.  No bookstore that I have visited – from Louisiana to Maine – has carried these books.  No yard sale has happened to miraculously have a rare copy of one of these books. Nope. Only the Ebays, Amazons, Alibris, etc. of the world have carried these books, and at a price that I cannot yet afford. So, for the longest of times, I had to yearn for these books, longing to read what Roberts wrote before his days as a historical fiction writer.

Well, thanks to Google and other digitizing efforts, Kenneth Roberts’ fans can read books such as Why Europe Leaves Home and Europe’s Morning After.  All one needs to do is to access Google Books, and type in the title or Kenneth Roberts’ name, and within seconds one can be reading a rare book in digitized form.  I discovered that one can even purchase Why Europe Leaves Home in Kindle version.

But still, I hesitate reading these titles via Google Books.  There’s part of me that wants to wait to read them until I have the book in hand – literally.

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