Paul Sakuma, File, Associated Press
In this March 7, 2012 file photo, Apple CEO Tim Cook clasp his hands during an new iPad announcement during an Apple event in San Francisco.

Four women and four iPads.

But here’s the interesting thing. We all are still readers of books — those old-fashioned things with pages. How can that be?

“Even though I have my iPad with me 24/7, I cannot read a Kindle,” admitted Olga de la Cruz, director of corporate relations and planned giving with the Boys and Girls Club of South Valley. “And I’ve only just been able to read news online.”

“I need a book in my hand,” Francine Gianni, executive director of the Department of Commerce and the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, agreed. “I go online to look at news, but in the morning, I have to have the paper. I get black on my hands and the whole bit. I don’t drink coffee, but I have my yogurt and get my hands dirty.”

There was a smile on her face.

And mine.

“I still want my kids to look at books,” Lori Midgeley from TD Ameritrade and the American Heart Association Circle of Red suggested, “but they look at me like I’m crazy.”

My boys are still young enough that we settle in bed at night with a book, or two or three. Picking out their books from the stack we got from the library is their after-teeth-brushing ritual. And don’t get me wrong. They already have what would be, without my enforcement of a one-hour restriction, an unhealthy addiction to the iPad, just not for reading purposes. ("Angry Birds" has been replaced by "Plants v. Zombies.")

With the release of the new iPad, which I still haven’t figured out if we’re calling “the iPad 3” or “the new iPad” or something else, I asked my tech-friendly guests whether they intended to upgrade.

“I want the new one, but probably not,” de la Cruz said longingly. “I can live with this.” This being the second generation.

“I have the first generation,” Midgeley admitted. I nodded to give her the “me too” signal. “So I’ll probably buy the iPad 2 at the cheap price if I do anything.”

“I’m good with the 2,” Gianni said. “I’m not going to move. I have a computer that’s a desktop, but it’s easier to use the iPad, so it’s my laptop.”

Ahh. No upgraders here, at least not to the newest got-to-have gadget.

My brother gave me my iPad some years ago, and I have loved it unashamedly ever since. Yes, I use it for Facebook and twitter and occasionally email, although I do not use it as a laptop as Francine does. I use it as a book and multiple newspapers. But it will never replace books for me. It only adds to them.

Are you one of those readers who has two books going at the same time? Perhaps one fiction and one non-fiction? I am one of those readers who has at least two books going simultaneously, one on the iPad and one in softback or hardback, and sometimes more than one of both. What if I am reading on the iPad and I run out of battery life? I can’t stop reading! Switch to the book. Likewise, what if I am reading the book and I finish and switch to the iPad?

This works for me when I’m traveling, when I’m home, in the middle of the night, at the park, while I’m at work waiting for a meeting, anywhere I might have a moment or an hour to read. It also allows me to share the iPad with my boys if they have not used up their allotted hour of iPad time. “Mama! Mama! Please, may I have the iPad?” will not lead to “Not on your life!” now, but “Sure, honey.” I have a book to turn to.

Lest you think I have no life other than reading books, I should tell you that I also read magazines and newspapers. Papers, I must admit, I read entirely online. But magazines I still like to peruse in paper. There is something about a couple of hours at the cafÉ at Barnes and Noble, thumbing through the Atlantic Monthly and Harvard Business Review and other magazines I probably wouldn’t pay $19.95 for, but which contain the most thought-provoking articles that I find so pleasurable. It’s my favorite thing to do on date night. (Yes. You can see my status as cheap date is still intact.)

Whether you read these columns online or in print, I have to tell you, my fellow lovers of words, what joy I find in writing them. Thank you for sharing them with me. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I must return to my book, "The Pleiadians," by Utah author William Guillory. Fascinating. Later it’ll be "The Berenstain Bears" and "Curious George."

Ahhh. Sweet variety.