I surprised myself when I bought a kindle a couple of years ago. I like reading books! I like the feel and smell of them. I like buying second hand books with weird old covers. I like books that look a bit lived in and used rather than shiny and new. I know it will horrify a lot of people, but I like folding over the pages of my favourite bits.
I also like the way that people all treat their books differently. I don’t mind a mark where the book was ill-advisedly used as a coaster, or sand between the pages from taking it on holiday, or the cover looking a bit battered. I also am happy to lend my books out to friends who forget to give them back. On the other hand, I know people that keep a record of which books they lend out and to who. Once I spilt some water on a book of my boyfriends which crinkled the pages. He wouldn’t read it with crinkly pages so I secretly bought him another one and switched them to see if he would notice (he did).
I bought a kindle anyway, mainly because I am a messy person and I buy a lot of books. This meant that my already messy room would be overtaken with books that had no place to go, a pile of books on my bedroom floor became more of a permanent fixture rather than something I was just getting round to clearing up.
So in an effort to live a less cluttered existence, I bought a kindle. It is useful, it is nice being able to get books straight away. If I finish a book I will usually have something on my kindle to read next. I also put the lecture slides and notes for my university courses on there to save me printing everything out. It is also very useful that books published before 1900 are all free on there.
Recently, I have found myself reading books again. No matter how practical and convenient a kindle is, you cannot recreate the feeling of a book. In my recent visit to Paris I went to the English bookshop Shakespeare and Company, I urge any book lovers to visit there because it is lovely!
I bought a copy of Guards! Guards! By Terry Pratchett. It looks lovely and I got a Shakespeare and Company stamp on the inside. Whenever I see that book I will think about how I bought it on my boyfriend’s birthday in Paris. About how it was a few weeks after Terry had died, I had been wanting to read the Discworld books again and buying that book just seemed like the most fantastic idea. You don’t get that with a kindle.
However, I think I have managed to reach a middle ground between cluttering my life with lovely books and tidying them all away on a kindle. I now live near a library! A 15 minute walk and I have a massive selection of books I can read and then give back, for free! I will have to avoid folding over pages or bashing them up too much though, which is a shame.