Craig Mod always reminds me that words are magic:
Hiking with a Kindle definitely feels futuristic—an entire library in a device that weighs less than a small book, and rarely needs charging. And my first impulse on reading Johnson’s final line, sitting on a dirt path in the mountains of Japan flanked by Cryptomeria japonica, was to eulogize him right there, smack dab in the text while a nightingale whistled overhead. The Kindle indicated with a subtle dotted underline and small inline text that those final sentences had been highlighted by “56 highlighters.” Other humans! Reading this same text, feeling the same impulse. Some need to mark those lines.
I wanted to write, “Fuck. Sad to think this is the last new work we’re going to get from this guy. Most definitely dead as I’m reading it.” You know, something in the vulgarity of Johnson himself. I wanted to stick my 10-cent eulogy between those lines for others to read, and to read what those others had thought. Purchasing a book is one of the strongest self-selections of community, and damn it, I wanted to engage.
But I couldn’t. For my Kindle Oasis—one of the most svelte, elegant, and expensive digital book containers you can buy in 2018—is about as interactive as a potato. Instead, I left a note for myself: “Write something about how this isn’t the digital book we thought we’d have.”