Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Yes, I Still Read Paper Books

I absolutely adore books. The different shapes, sizes, varying fonts, covers, paper thicknesses, type styles... I am intoxicated by the smell of a brand new book that has never been opened… I love the feel of the glue in the spine cracking for the very first time. I also love old, used, and library books. When I turn the pages I wonder how many other people have experienced these very pages… what their minds pictured as they read the exact same words. I feel a connection to these mysterious strangers. I love the weight of a book and how the pages gradually transfer from my right hand to my left… like a little challenge as I slowly creep from beginning to end.
For me, books are part entertainment, part conversation topic, and part art. My bookshelves are filled with so many of the books I have read throughout the years… each one a little trophy of an experience I lived through with those characters. I organize and re-organize them periodically… by date read, author, genre, even jacket color. I never get tired of going through them to make a recommendation to a friend and my shelves have turned into a little personal lending library. Whenever I borrow a book from a friend and enjoy it, I return the book and then buy my own copy… I can’t not own it.
But my love affair with books has become a problem. Our condo is tiny, and our one large bookshelf is filled to overflowing. And since I purchase books quicker than I can read them, I’ve got quite a large collection of unread books, which means I’ve been effectively forbidden from purchasing any more books until I read the ones I already own. So I made a plan and organized all my unread books in order of publication date (to that ensure each one would be read in a timely manner and I wouldn’t play favorites). I try to be very fair in my book relationships. But inevitably I wouldn’t get far down the line before I would find myself in need of a new book… perhaps a high recommendation from a friend, or a book club requirement, or something so talked about I simply couldn’t wait to read it.
My current "Need to Read" bookshelf...
Shortly after I finished reading 50 Shades of Grey in paperback, the media hype really started. I had borrowed the first book from a friend, and instead of purchasing book two (I think Stewart might in fact kill me if another package arrives from, I decided to head to the library. WHOA! 271 people holding for only 46 copies… this could take months! I weighed my options…
In any case, 50 Shades had become fairly recognizable at this point, so I wasn’t exactly thrilled at the prospect of having everyone on the bus know I was reading a sex book on the way to work. So I accepted my co-worker’s offer to borrow her Kindle to read the final two books in the series.
It’s no surprise that I have been extremely slow to jump on the Kindle bandwagon… and jump is a strong word. Step tentatively with one foot is probably more accurate. I definitely see why Kindles are appealing, but I just couldn’t imagine reading a book without turning each and every page until the end, and then placing it lovingly on my bookshelf. But let’s face it, 50 Shades is definitely not a classic that I care to own, so it was the perfect opportunity to see what all the fuss is about.
I liked how the Kindle was small and lightweight… definitely much easier for reading in bed. And it was so compact I barely noticed it in my purse, which usually contains a large book or two that I perpetually lug around with me. The percentage bar at the bottom let me know how far I had to go, but it was much different than turning the pages myself. The screen looked remarkably like the pages of an actual book, which was nice. And there was no denying that a Kindle would have been much preferred to the four books I hauled around Europe for a month. But still… I feel like I would miss my old friends, my beloved books. I kind of felt like a cheat.
So the jury is still out for me on whether or not I would like a Kindle of my own. In any case, I still have quite a few "real" books to read before I could even consider ebooks, so I’m in no rush.
What’s your reading preference?


  1. A kindle makes traveling so nice!!! That's actually my favorite part of it.

  2. Buying paper books gets a bit out of control for any sort of neat and orderliness at home, IMO. I cleared my bookshelf off of all the junk, and only keep the books that are my very favorite and I'd want to share or recommend.
    That being said, you'll LOVE the Kindle and get over the "holding the book" need right away, I bet. You and I share the same love for books, and it took me two minutes to not care cause the Kindle is that great. It's so convenient for traveling (multiple books on one device) and you never get stuck at the airport or on a plane without a book to read. You can fall asleep with it and not lose your place, it's super easy to try books out before you buy, and books are cheaper. I say give it a go! They're so cheap now, you can buy one and use it on the bus or for travel, but still read a paper book here and there without feeling the guilt. :)

  3. I definitely need to do a bookshelf purge to get rid of some of the junk I've accumulated and only keep the good stuff. And I don't think I would go on a trip again without a Kindle... just too convenient! However, I can't abandon all those unread books on my shelf so I still have those to plow through in the meantime...

  4. i know what you mean Sarah, i love books!! we have WAY too many as well.. just finished one i bought from amazon and the next one i bought at the same time is waiting.. lol
    i don't think i could get a kindle!


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