Books.

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.

Pony Books

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…

11 Responses to Books.

  1. Olga says:

    I used to love the Jill books – I think I read all of them, although I don’t have them any more… 🙁

    I agree about the use of real bookshops, and I get a lot of books from charity shops, but I do admit to (over)using Amazon…

    My ‘to read’ list is 85 books long, and that doesn’t include books I’ve borrowed from people or non-fiction books which I bought as reference/I’d like to do that someday-type of thing. Probably the number is closer to 100!

    • scannermum says:

      I still have the Jill books from childhood, but tracking down the older editions is really fun – although frustrating, as there are very few in decent condition around. I have heard of a 2012 Challenge, for people to only read the books they already have – have a look at Leeds Book Club blog, I’m sure it was on there…might be something for both of us to think about!!

  2. Hiya!
    I love reading books, whether on the Kindle or in print. And I still buy loads of actual books, new and old, even though I have a Kindle. Much the same as I still buy CDs and records, even though I have an iPod.
    I used to pretend to be a librarian when I was a kid too! (And now I am one as a grown up, though sadly I’m too senior to do any of the stuff I used to pretend to do when I was a kid.)
    And it’s funny that you should mention ‘One Day’. I’m intending to write a blogpost called ‘One Day, four formats’ soon.
    Ruth

    • scannermum says:

      I love that you used to pretend to be a librarian! Such an important part of my childhood, the ritual of the little cards and the stamps. Although I appreciate that technology holds many advances, I do miss that. I look forward to reading your post about One Day. I liked it, but don’t really believe it to be one of the defining books of my generation.

  3. I find it just so very risky going into a bookshop, I end up leaving with bulging bags…. I tend to buy most things online, no toddler tantrum in the isles, no stuff that they want and I don’t. The same goes for books, easy browsing and no pain online. Apart form old books, charity shop here I come. Dump the kids in the kids books corner with a quid each….

    • scannermum says:

      I know how you fee, both about the bulging bags and about toddler tantrums! I once (in some idyllic haze) had the idea of taking my two to the local bookshop to choose a book each. After I’d spent an hour or so, desperately trying to stop them turning out every shelf in the children’s section, I have reluctantly decided that I might make the majority of their book choices for them! They’re the same in the library but we do have a great relationship with the librarians, which helps…

  4. I love books but I also really love my Kindle! It’s a different way of reading but because it’s bit easy to flip back or ahead I find I concentrate much more when reading and get a richer experience as a result.

    I also love going to bookshops and having a good browse. Books are my comfort blanket when things aren’t as sunny as I’d like I find a book that is for cheer and hope.

    The hardest thing for me is that I get so attached to a book it’s sometimes hard to reconnect with real world! The joy of the Kindle is I can carry most of my favourite reads with me all the time, although the pile of ‘real’ books on my bedside table doesn’t seem to be diminishing…

    • scannermum says:

      It’s really interesting that you say the Kindle makes you concentrate more – I’ve never really thought of that. What has been really interesting is that everyone I’ve spoken to who loves their Kindle isn’t going to give up real books any time soon – so there is clearly a place for both of them!

  5. *not* easy that should read- fat morning fingers…

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