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 my 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.
- ebooks — you can get new books in a flash and bring multiple reads with you everywhere you go
- 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?