At one point in my life I owned over one thousand books. When I purchased my first home, the guest room was immediately sacrificed in order to create a library with specialty built-in shelving that I begged my grandfather for before I ever even officially moved. Even after those units were filled to the brim, each room of the house contained at least one shelf stacked with more books of all kinds…and I read them all.
At this point over half of that collection has been given away, donated, or recycled (some were just too far gone to do much else with), but I am always on the lookout for more reading material. In a time when most of the people around me don’t read, or read from a computer screen, many of my friends wonder at my behavior. They think I’m weird (I admit it…I’m weird). I get called a nerd or a geek a lot, though not just because of my reading habits! Since several people have seemed confused lately, let me try to explain.
You see, tablet readers are wonderful for organization and ease. They are convenient and allow for books that would normally be unwieldy, i.e. the Complete Works of William Shakespeare (which weighs more than my fat cat and is bigger than my head), to be carried around without any strained muscles or blocked doorways. But you still have to plug them in.
Additionally, the cold, hard feel of pressed plastics has no give, no softness. The pages do not rustle in breezes or yellow and stain with age. You cannot accidentally drop a bookmark, lose your place, and discover something you missed before. Then there’s the smell. Computer screens smell like dust and popping ions at best, which is to say that there is little to no scent.
Books though..Ah! Books smell like paper and ink and whatever scents that have surrounded them in their ‘shelf life.’ (I have several books that smell of tacos and cinnamon…much more pleasant than it sounds.) Books smell of life. You cannot get that sensory experience online. Scent can trigger memories, the visceral punch of opening a door to the scent of old ink and paper can transport a person back to their first library trip, or that old bookstore they found on vacation. All the computer gives you is a picture.
The thrill of searching free download lists cannot, for me, be equated in any way to the feeling of finding a hidden gem half-buried in a discount thrift bin. Especially on the trip that sent me to a bookstore across the street from the ocean. Those books smelled like the sea and warm breezes. Maybe I am weird…
I guess that’s just life a bibliophile though. Take a deep breath now…don’t you just love the smell of old books in the morning??
May you, and your electronic device of choice, have a blessed and story filled day!