You get them electronically now. You download them on little tablets; Kindles, ipads and whatever else. And I know that’s not actually a bad thing. I know the time will soon be here to take up the Kindle. It’s cheaper for one thing. When I go away anywhere my luggage is heavy – and more than anything else it’s weighed down with too many books (you can’t simply take away one. One day you want fiction…the next non-fiction…you also have some research to do). It’s been a while since I’ve hiked through the rainforest, but my backpack was always loaded with too many books. Kindle may save my back.
But I like the book.
When I eventually take up whatever little electronic tablet thing, it’ll have its uses, but I won’t swap one for the other. I’ll never let go of the book. The feel of it in your hands. That fresh paper scent of a new book (there are several, all nice), the sheer tactility of the touching the turning of the page, the vivid imagery of the covers even.
I like the book.
And writing…writing! I type, yes I type. But everything I tap out on this cold, soulless piece of hardware has its genesis in a book, scratching out ink lines, my heart and mind etched in my distinctive and by no means dignified looking scrawl. I simply don’t know what to write when seated at my laptop. The keyboard freezes the flow of thoughts that my brain wants to spill out into the world as if someone turns off the oil heater in the middle of winter and the little uninsulated room I live in turns to ice. But when I’m scratching them out through a ball point between the black lined pages of my notebook everything becomes warm, everything thaws; slowly at first but then the trickle becomes an increasing flow. And that book which contains my words, my recollections, my very self – that is a precious object. I keep it near me. I treasure it.
I love the book.