There is something infinitely more appealing about a book than yet another gadget. Before I continue I would like to say that I’m not opposed to technology in general but this is one occasion where I will not be persuaded that a sterile tablet of technology can triumph over the plain old book, which, I might add, will never need recharging!
You just can’t replace the feel of a book in your hands, the smooth cover and the soft grain of the paper against the pads of your fingers. Granted, I can see the appeal of a light Kindle in comparison to the wrist-cracking weight of a 600 page volume but that didn’t stop millions of people from reading say, all of the Harry Potter books, the last four of which definitely come under that category. I’m going to sound weird now outing myself as a book-sniffer, but even the smell of a book adds to its attraction. Old or new books have a wonderful smell, either the new book smell of freshly pressed paper and its binding or the musty scent of a book that’s done its time on the shelf. Both have something magical about them that certainly can’t be replicated by an electronic device.
I love bookshops. Either bookshop giant Waterstones or a little second hand bookstore crammed wall to wall with higgledy piggledy bookshelves, I could spend hours in them, just browsing, picking books off the shelves, reading their blurbs and admiring the covers. There is something special and exciting about selecting a brand new book, the spine uncracked and the pages unopened; you are the first person to ever read this copy. Yet there is something equally special about reading a second hand book, knowing that someone else has turned the pages before you. What did they think about the story and the characters? Did they think the same as me? Several times reading a book from a charity shop I have stopped to decipher the little scribbles and doodles left by the previous owner, or hidden in the pages I’ve found a discarded train ticket or a postcard and have wondered who they belonged to. It’s like a missing piece from another story that someone is living. I now leave something tucked in every book I donate to the second hand shop just so that the next person who picks up the book can wonder where it came from. It sounds ridiculous and rather sentimental now that I write it down but a Kindle just couldn’t give you that sense of real life.
Today the sun is out (finally summer feels like it might be on its way!) and I will definitely be sitting outside, sunglasses on, the warmth of the sun on my skin and with a book in my hand.