Friday, July 9, 2010

The Comfort of Books

A few months ago my husband made a secret confession. For my birthday or a special occasion, he was considering purchasing a Nook, Kimble, eBook for me. Thank goodness he's so open and honest. He must have known it wasn't for me because, otherwise, why would he ruin a perfectly good surprise? Anyhoo, my immediate gut reaction was to shout out "no" at him. No, please don't. I know I'm probably an anomaly but I can't even bear the thought of owning one.

Yes, I know all of the great things about owning an eBook (or whatever they're called - I'm a technological idiot and proud of it). I understand they're great for travel. I understand the books are cheaper. I get all of it.

But then there's this:
1.) I get 99% of my books for free at the library.

2.) One of my favorite things to do is to visit said library and browse the "New Books" section. I usually leave with 3 or 4 on every visit. I do not derive the same pleasure from browsing books online. Nope. Not for me.

3.) I can't, for the life of me, imagine being an author.....dreaming your entire life of writing a book....knocking your head over every detail of your novel.....researching for years for your non-fiction book.....and then knowing that people are reading it on a hard piece of plastic (or whatever it is they're made from). Imagine you're that author.....there are no longer any bookstores.....and you'd never have the pleasure of visiting one just to see your book sitting on the shelf. Ick.

4.) I love the visible signs that someone has visited a book before me. I adore dog-eared pages. I smile when I see highlights or (gasp) handwritten notes. I don't even mind a little tiny bit of moisture damage (sometimes, on rare occasions, you can tell they're tears). My favorite....when someone has left their library receipt hidden deep in the pages. I often read over them to see what other books they checked out and how long ago. It's like a tiny little window into someone else's life. Because one's taste in books is very, very personal. Yes, these books have history. And if they were a stuffed rabbit, like in the Velveteen Rabbit, they'd have eternal life from being loved so much. To me, that is the sign of a good book.

5.) Books bring me comfort. The hard cover, or worn soft cover. The smell. The tattered pages. When I was most unhappy in my life (during the last few months of work at the bank), I carried a little bag with me to work every day. It was filled to the brim with books. And heavy. But, somehow, it did bring me a world of comfort. There was more to me. I had a lot of interests and not enough time to pursue them. I was more than just my job and making decent money and buying more possessions. People would often ask me why I carried that massive beast to work every day. But I could never adequately explain it. They would never understand the pleasure I took during my lunch break (this was after the crash) when I picked the book I wanted to share my lunch with. It was the only pleasurable part of my day back then.

6.) I usually read about 4-5 books at a time. I know it's weird. No, I don't confuse them. I read whichever one I'm in the mood for. And I just can't understand how this would work on a machine.

7.) I love, love, love, love, love the stack of books that is always taking over my bedside table. Other people may not. You usually can't see the alarm clock. And the cleaning lady is clearly not a fan. But, to me, a stack of books on a bedside table means an interesting person sleeps there. You could look through that stack at any given time and know exactly what's on my mind. AND, for the record, Alain has his own stash....although his stack changes less often than mine. Still, I love that about him.

8.) When I really love a book.....and I mean I read a passage that moves me almost to tears, I touch the page. I have no idea why. But I do know that touching a screen is not the same. Will never be the same.

9.) When I am reading a massively big book (for me, that's about 700-800 pages), I love the feeling of accomplishment I feel when I see my bookmark moving closer and closer to the back cover. Again, how does this work on a machine?
10.) I love fonts. The right font could make or break a book for me. I'd love to have the job where my only job is to pick the font for an upcoming book. Do they even have different fonts on these eBooks?

So, enough. Clearly I am not a fan. I love the very sweet thought that my super hubby was putting into this idea. He clearly knows how much I love to read. He said he was trying to make it easier on me.....carrying a ton of books on a plane, for example, is not fun. But, for me, it's a small price to pay. I crave good books the way another person might crave, I don't know, doughnuts. I can see how one might think I would like an eBook. But I'll take my books in hard form any day.
PS: Just after I finished writing this post, I went into Sophie's room to straighten a little. And I couldn't help but notice her bedside table. Clearly, she's headed in the right direction.... (smile)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails