In the beginning...a little history lesson...pictures were painted on cave walls. Later, the Sumerians made tokens inscribed with pictures. These tokens were pressed into clay to keep a record of cattle, grain and land transactions (remember those days?). There was cuneiform, pictographs drawn with a reed stylus by scribes (some of our first authors). In the forth millennium BC, the first alphabet morphed into Egyptian hieroglyphics drawn on papyrus. Then along came the Archiac scripts, and the Aramaic square scripts.
Along the way, either simultaneously, or independently, alphabets were developed in the Indus Valley, and by the Olmecs and Mayans. Fast forward to the biblical scrolls, the Greek, Roman (wax tablets), Gothic, and Italic alphabets. Soon came parchment, allowing monks to hand scribed books for the nobility. Paper was developed in China.
All this before the quill and the Gutenberg Press made their appearance. Rag paper, made from recycled clothing from the Great Plague (as a nurse, this makes me wince) became readily available. For the first time mass production of books is possible. From there it's a mad dash to digital books and the hand-held reader, though we did linger for a long while with the printed book, which has not totally been lost in the recent rush to the digital age.
Along this historic journey, there have been story tellers, stringing their words together that make me either laugh, or cry, or both at the same time. It's a new world out there, and I think as humans, we can learn a lot about where we're going by knowing where we've been. Today, print along side digital books and the e-reader. Tomorrow … ? Any guesses?
Susan Lute is an avid reader and the author of Falling For A Hero, The Anthology, and Dragon's Thief. You can find her on Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.