Day 183. Both Actually

I had a meeting with a client yesterday afternoon.  Not long after I arrived something requiring his attention cropped up; and I had to wait for him.  Usually I have fence sittingmy computer with me.  In which case, I could have done some work.  But yesterday I didn’t.

Luckily, I had my iPhone; and I was able to pass the time reading a book.

Ironically the topic of yesterday’s Daily Post was about reading preferences:  eReading or paperback.  A poll was also included.  There were two choices.

  1. ebooks — you can get new books in a flash and bring multiple reads with you everywhere you go
  2. paperback — nothing beats opening up a brand new book or rummaging through a bookstore

In my case, it would have been ideal if there’d been a third choice:  Either, or, depending on the circumstances.  Because although there was a time, not too long ago, when I swore I’d never read on a device, I now do.  Not exclusively, but I do.  So I guess you could say, I’m on the fence on this one.

But there wasn’t another choice, so I had to choose one or the other. I chose number 2.

Because no matter how convenient ebooks are, nothing will ever be as pleasurable as holding a book in my hands.  Feeling its weight.  Feeling the texture of the paper.  Feeling the crispness between my fingers.  Feeling the sharpness of the edges as I turn the pages.  Hearing the sound of the pages turning.  With a gentle ‘whoosh’.  Hearing the thump when you lay the book down.  Smelling the ink.  Yes, I can smell the ink.

Reading a book, a real book, doesn’t just engage your mind.  It engages your senses.

And there’s something very sexy, very sensuous about that.

There is something comforting about laying a book down on your chest, or across your lap, when you suddenly find yourself a bit groggy in the middle of a chapter or a page, and decide to take a nap.  There is something comforting about walking by a table and running your fingers over the pile of books, haphazardly stacked there.  There is something comforting about knowing wherever you turn, in your home, there’s always a book within easy reach.

There is something comforting about knowing the books you’ve read and enjoyed over a lifetime are there, standing side by side, in your bookcase.  Giving one and all a glimpse into your intellect, into your heart and soul.

Books have been my closest friends since I was a little child.  My mother used to tell me, even before I could read myself, I’d grab one of my favourites and bring it to her or my father, so they could read to me.  In school when we’d get the year’s reading list, I’d have read every one before the first term was over.  Then I’d turn to the books my mother was reading.  Or my father.  Or my aunt.  I can’t remember how young I was when I read her copies of Lolita and Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

Way too young, I am sure.

All I know is, I always had my nose in a book.  And it is not the same thing to have your nose buried in an iPad.  Much as I love my iPad.

For me, ebooks are about convenience.  Knowing as long as I have my iPad or iPhone with me, I am never far from a book.  Make that books.  Because you’re never out of books to read.  You can download a new one 24/7.  Any hour of the day or night.  Including statutory holidays.  No waiting.  No delays.

And for avid readers, like me, it’s very good news.  And I take full advantage.

But it will never replace the joy of holding a book.  Curling up with a book.  Touching a book.  Sharing a book.  Even just gazing at a book.  Just seeing them there, waiting for me, makes me feel good.

And nothing, not all the convenience in the world, can ever replace the joy I feel whenever I’m in a book store.  Preferably one of the few, remaining independents, where the staff love books and reading as much as I do.  When they leave you alone to wander, to explore, to sample at your leisure.  Never minding when you plop yourself down in one of the big, easy chairs, and start to read.

Until you’re ready, to discuss anything and everything about books, books, books, and more books.  Something they’re always more than willing to do.

My iPad can’t do that.  And frankly, I prefer it that way.  What about you?

26 thoughts on “Day 183. Both Actually

  1. I’m with you – ebooks are great for traveling about. I tend to read 4-5 books at the same time, depending on my mood and time frame at the moment, so an e-reader does a great job of providing that option. But I will always, always love paper books – in bookstores, libraries, in stacks next to my reading chair. It definitely is a sensory experience.

  2. I could not read on a device – well that is a white lie as only for this device I would not have found your postings Fransi, but you are right nothing like the feel of a good book.

    • And very glad I am that you did find my postings :). And, that I found yours. So devices do have their place. But not on my book shelf.

  3. I’m conflicted too. Reading a book on my iPad is so convenient especially when I’m traveling for work and don’t want to bring books and magazines along. But I still like paper a lot, for all the same reasons you listed. I used to love finishing a great book then giving it away to a friend. You can’t do that with an ebook.

    • Yes. Ebooks are a convenience, especially when traveling. But they can’t replace the overall experience of reading a book.

  4. Yes, I still like both. I particularly love hard covers, like a special edition of a favourite book… I’ve even kept all my anatomy, physiology and forensic books from uni, just because they are too beautiful to give away – huge, hard-covered books filled with information and wonderful, detailed illustration. Like you, I’ve been reading ever since I can remember & devoured everything in the house at a young age. I remember my parents had some Harold Robbins books when I was about 10-12 so I went through those (I’d already read Wuthering Heights & Jane Eyre about 3 times each & needed to move on, lol), but I found more interesting books in my grandfather’s bookcase. Now I intend to keep an interesting bookcase for my new little grandson when he’s ready 😀

    • I LOVE hard covers as well. And special editions, too. Even old outdated encyclopedias. I forgot about Harold Robbins :). I made my way through those, too. It is wonderful that you are saving books for your grandson. My mother was an identical twin and her sister, among so many other things, was my reading companion. I have tons and tons of wonderful memories of her and all the times we spent together. But my some of my all time favourites involve reading and books. Even when I was already an adult.

    • So do I. No matter how carefully I edit online, I always make changes and find mistakes I’ve missed once I print the work out.

  5. Like you, I would have liked a third option, but also like you I realise it’s a convenience thing. There is nothing like the real thing, but convenience and economics often lead me to read on an e-reader, rather than wait for a book to cross my path or even to be able to afford it.

    For me the e-reader has brought a kind of democracy to reading, a bit like Amazon did when it facilitated readers being able to sell their books. Without my e-reader there is no way I would be reading newly published books, I simply couldn’t afford them and living in a country where there are slim pickings for readers in the English language at the local library (but I frequent it regularly anyway), I’d become a bit of a bookshop window and shelf browser until a second-hand kindle turned up in a Christmas gift exactly one year ago, coinciding with the humble beginnings of my book blog Word by Word and then discovering NetGalley and then the blog being discovered by Penguin. Wow, a whole world I never knew existed started to open its doors. Something my nostalgia for the real book would never have been able to do, but will always be inexplicably linked to.

  6. Confession: I have never read an ebook. I have thought about it, even wanted to at times, but I can never bring myself to do it.

    I have loved books my whole life. My favorite store in the mall has always been the bookstore (although malls rarely have bookstores anymore) and I can spend hours in the library.

    I grew up reading books any and everywhere. On the porch swing during a storm, in the bathtub… I feel sad for the young people who will never have those experiences.

    I don’t know if I will ever manage to break down and try to read an ebook. It seems scary!!! How did it make you feel… your first time? Kat

    • Really you’re not missing anything but convenience. I am a film festival junkie. Typically would see 50 films over 10 days. Lots of standing around in lines. Part of my film festival survival kit was always a book. But when the book was finished That was it until the next day. For that reason a friend finally convinced me to buy an iPad (which I also used for lots of other good reasons.

      So I loved the idea of never running out of something to read. And those are the times I enjoy it. When I travel or know I will be somewhere for a long enough time That I don’t want to run out of reading material.

      But I will always prefer reading a book.

  7. I’m still using the old school things–real books! And I love all the details you go into about them, which I agree with wholeheartedly. I don’t know if I’ll convert to a Kindle, for example. But I don’t say never, ever. (That’s not true. I just liked the way that sounded.)

    • Thanks. Actually, I never say “never”. When I was a kid and I’d say “I’ll never do this or I’ll never say that or I’ll never do whatever” my parents would always stop me. And then they’d say “Fransi never say never. Never is a very long time.” It stuck. I can still hear them saying it 🙂

  8. My mom worked at a District Library that had a large valuable collection of children’s books. The Head of the children’s section loved me and she secretly allowed me access to them. Opening the door, there is absolutely nothing like the smell of thousands of books over a hundred years old. I would spend whole days carefully reading one after another. Old books are my favorite objects, not only for the memories, but the smell, texture, font all have the ability to transport one back in time.

  9. I LOVE the feeling of physical books as well, particularly paperback books. Those are my personal favorites. I get most excited when I have a series or set of paperback books.

    However, for traveling, I will take my tablet instead because oftentimes paperback books can’t stand up to the wear and tear that comes with traveling and adds a lot of extra weight. Plus I can’t bring several different options to read depending on my mood.

  10. I can’t read books on devices. It’s too distracting. I mean if the electronic device is there, why not use the apps? Books are easier for me to follow and keep track of where I am. The font size on devices are too small, but then again I only have an iPod.

  11. I prefer real books but use my kindle too – pretty much for the same reasons as you. Although I have found Kindles are good for lying in bed and reading as you don’t have to hold it like a book, you can balance it on its side. The main downside is when you fall asleep reading and get woken up at 2am when it falls over, smacking you in the nose…

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