I didn’t really know how to title this post. It’s not that I’m anti-Kindle or (insert other e-book device here) it’s just that I’m pro-books. Actual books. The smell (from sharp new academic texts, to fusty old, mouldy ones) the feel of the paper, the design of the cover, the choice of typeface; cannot be beaten.
Growing up, my love for the library was so great that when everyone else wanted to play dress up as doctors or super heroes, I pretended to be a librarian. I used to stamp my books before loaning them out and kept a fiercely updated list of who had taken which book.
My favourite books were pony books, and as a grown-up, I collect first editions of the ‘Jill’ series by Ruby Ferguson; my ultimate rose-tinted memory of that period.
In contrast to this, I recently enjoyed a completely new experience. My first Twitter book-club discussion, run by the lovely people at @More_Than_A. It was lovely to chat through a recent shared read (One Day, by David Mitchell) and hear other people’s views on such a popular book. A great discussion was had and it felt like a lovely way to share the love of reading and meet some new people online. I am already looking forward to the next one!
Although I still pay a couple of visits each week to the library, I have indulged in my love of books through the mighty Amazon. Like so many of us, I find the combination of choice and discounts irresistible – which, unfortunately has resulted in something of an overwhelming stack of books waiting to be read.
Ploughing through that stack of books has taught me that I need to slow down in my purchasing. To savour the buying of a book like I used to, instead of buying them in great swathes because they are cheap. It also struck me that if everyone shops like me, buying their books online, then the bookshop where I live would bear the brunt. So, this week I went to the bookshop instead. I spent a good long hour having a browse around, before choosing something purely because it felt right. (The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, by Pulitzer Prize winning author Michael Chabon, in case you’re interested.) Returning to the bookshop gave me a sense of pure, unadulterated joy. I will be back, and be spending more of my time and money in a proper bookshop, rather than just online. After all, a city without a bookshop is not a city I want to live in…