As I open the doors to the bookstore, the gush of air tickles my toes and my eyes glance over to what welcomes me. An array of e-readers with a coordinating colored cover in any color, from magenta to burnt orange. I’ve never paid much attention to the choices when it comes to digital book readers. The Kindle, Nook, or the iPad, for some reason, have no allure for me. I understand the validity of those who do choose to read their words in this form. The readers are light, books can be downloaded in a matter of seconds, and they are cheaper than their hardbound counterparts.
These are not convincing reasons for me to make the switch. I’ve always had a love affair with office supplies, especially paper. I am still very much a paper calendar girl. One of my favorite past times is gliding a pen across a card, note, or even a check. Turning the page of a book is exhilarating to me and in my mind, you can’t experience that feeling with an electronic medium. Just recently, I read a passage in The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe where he aptly describes what it means to him when he reads the paper version of a book:
One of the many things I love about bound books is their sheer physicality. Electronic books live out of sight and out of mind. But printed books have body, presence. Sure, sometimes they’ll elude you by hiding in improbable place: in a box full of old picture frames, say, or in a laundry basket, wrapped in a sweatshirt. But at other times they’ll confront you, and you’ll literally stumble over some tomes you hadn’t thought about in weeks or years. I often seek electronic books, but they never come after me. They may make me feel, but I don’t feel them. They are all soul with no flesh, no texture and no weight.
I found myself nodding my head up and down after reading this passage. Just glancing at the cover of a good book (or even a bad one) creates an emotion that is a part of me. It’s not only the emotion, but the whole process of going to the bookstore, walking through the aisles, and smelling all the various aromas: coffee in the cafe, the scent of new untouched pages, and the idea that a book you would never consider reading grabs your attention simply because you pick it up and read the opening line. There is a sense of coming home when I enter a bookstore. It is almost as if I feel all the books hugging me at once.
How do you prefer reading your words? What are some of your most recent book recommendations? Would love to hear your words.
This is how I feel. A bookstore is my favorite place. Even though I have read books on my iPad , it’s not the same. I love to touch and smell a book as I read it. Love this post, beautiful.
Rudri, we are leading parallel lives! 😉 I was thinking these exact things when I walked into Barnes and Noble this past Monday…and just yesterday I read those exact lines that you quoted out of The End of Your Life Book Club (I just started it).
I am intrigued by the Kindle for some odd reason but I can’t actually make the switch. I LOVE holding a physical book in my hand, studying the cover, turning the pages, and feeling the texture of the book. I love seeing books piled up in my bookcases, on my night stand, even on the floor. I literally surround myself with books because somehow they make me feel safe. I have over 10 books sitting on my nightstand for no real reason other than comfort. And I really miss bookstores…
I’ve just finished Bringing Up Bebe which I really enjoyed. The parenting insights from France were very interesting of course, but beyond that what I appreciated was reading about a mother’s intercultural struggles with marriage and motherhood, which I can very much relate to.
While I do love REAL book, the smell, the feel, the sound of flipping pages, I love my kindle. I like the convenience of traveling with many books tucked in one small package. I love that I can order books and have them within seconds. Another perk is that reading a book while riding in a car makes me sick, but a kindle screen does not have that effect on me.
I am a bound book lover all the way. Like you, I feel a deep connection to the physicality of an actual book. I can absolutely see the benefits of the e-readers (especially for travel), but none is enough to persuade me.
My favorite recent book was Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh. It’s the first in a trilogy and I can’t wait to read the second.
Although I LOVE my Kindle, I’m still getting used to the experience. I tend to order a few e-books at a time, usually something recommended by a friend. When I sit down with my Kindle to read one I miss the “pre-reading” information I get from the paper version. When I read paper books I review the back cover copy for a quick synopsis first, even though I read it when I bought the thing. This is more of a “refresher.” I also think the cover art and the size/weight of my brick books set up my reading expectations. Of the last 20 books I purchased, 12 have been e-books. Right now I’m reading Angle of Repose on my Kindle and next up is The Fault In Our Stars, which I bought in hardback.
I’ve long thought owning the little bookstore in the little town of Edwards, Colorado which includes a little organic bakery and coffee bar would be my dream job. It’s tucked in the mountain foothills and I think I’d be in heaven. For now, just stopping in every time I pass that way is enough.
A recent read that was simply wonderful? The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Just finished it a couple days ago. Made me cry with poignancy and wonder.
I love the word physicality about books. I just used that word a few days ago. I especially love hardbound books. They lay open on my lap and I am in whatever world the author has chosen for me. I do have a Kindle. I do use it from time to time. Funny thing is that I bought a paper version of Hunger Games and was going to buy the next when my daughter offered to loan it to me. I reluctantly agreed. Turns out she had already loaned it and couldn’t loan it again. Sad Beans. I wlll have to buy a copy. Smiling at the thought. Enjoy Saturday Sharefest.