Monday, 2 December 2013

Book sniffing

How much we love books in this house. BF and I have both acquired quite a collection over the years. We have loved books since being children. We both enjoy the escapism, the peace and quiet, the fantasy world created in your head. We love the look of books, the feel and weight of them. We even love the smell of book pages. From old to new. You’ve got to sniff books!

It’s the best. Something akin to fond memories and tantalising adventures to come. When I was young I didn’t appreciate the smell of books as I was reading them. Sometimes that musty smell curled my young little nose up as I sat wrapped in my duvet, engrossed in the narration of the pictures dancing in my mind. But now, when I smell that old musty smell, I am right back there as a youngster, sitting on windowsills or curled up in bed. Reading long hours, sometimes from dawn to dusk.

I relate some books to whole journeys, even days. For instance I read The History of the Runestaff from beginning to end on an overnight coach journey from Carlisle to London. Its a long tedious journey but I hardly noticed the 8 hours slip by as I submerged myself in those pages.

My girly friend and I went to Egypt for a week of sun and relaxation. We took the same books each (she is a lover of reading obv). We read a lot over our break, but one particular day we read the same book at the same time and barely spoke a word to each other all day basking. Except for the occasional one word grunt to clarify if we were having a fag, swim, beer or snooze. In fact they are the only words we used that entire day. Engrossed in books. We both started and finished The Room that day. Good book. Funny experience.

I’ve had many a Saturday, snuggled on my couch with a cup of tea and some low thrumming tunes and an amazing comic in my lap. Ah Comics!! What love we both have for comics. Sorry BF “graphic novels”.
What ever you call them, we adore graphic novels, comics. We love them very much. We have some incredibly stunning editions. i could never part with them. They are too much like books of art. I admire them too much. they are just the biz. Crazy little inserts of not just a writers story but an artists images. I love love love comic art work. I would cover my body with some of my favourite images if that wasn’t so, well just wrong. Why? Well...For starters I would get neck ache from trying to re-read myself. And I have other plans for body tattoos. But thats another story. Or blog maybe...

As adults BF and I read prolifically. We both read every night, we read for research of our hobbies, we read for work. We read at weekends and we take books whenever we stay away from home. On holidays we actively seek out a bunch of books to read on the way there and back, as well as when we are there. It is safe to say we both love to read.

At the moment I am reading 4 books and a whole load of gadget manuals too. Don’t believe me?
Book one on my kindle for bedtime – Not dead yet
Book two at work – The man who thought his wife was a hat
Book three in my home office – The rules if Digital photography and when to break them
Book four a toilet book – Leonard Cohans Poetry

We have surrounded our lives and our walls with these items of fantasy and fiction.

But slowly and surely it is all going to change. Because of the kindle. The damned blight of the digital age.
How we scorned the kindle. How we swore we could never be moved from the tactile sensual relationship with had with books. I love the look of old leather bound hard backs and the shiny show off gloss of a comic. I love the story the front page tries to tell. I love the look of them stacked in a line for all the world to see.

What is that? Why have we collected all these stories of other worlds and other lives? Is it for show? What are we saying? Is it the love of the fantasy, the memory of enjoyment, when you were in another place, another time, enjoying your own company and the spin of a good story perhaps?

What ever the reason I find lately that I’m  saying “look at all the books I have. And look how I store them all around me in neat rows. Look how learned i am, from floor to ceiling”.

That makes me cringe just a little but I still love them.

Yet they have to go and will go. Very soon. The time has come. The damn kindle has won me over. I have owned one for over two years now and I love it. It’s so fantastic to be able to carry sooooooo many books with you at once. Its light and easy to use snuggled tight in your warm duvet, on your side, waiting for sleep to overcome you.

I love the instant purchase from my pc. I love being able to download pdfs to it for work. Recently I have been using the kindle app on my Tablet and I like that i don’t need the light on and can fall  sleep and it will turn off. I don’t lose my page anymore. It still smacks me in the face occasionally though. I eagerly await the days when the text will be projected in front of me and page turning controlled by eye movement tracking. I want technology in my life! But that is yet another blog!

So the moment has come. We have agreed to digitise all our books. And our CDs and our DVDs, but strangely I don’t feel as distressed about this as I do the books. We have been slowly moving over to a digital collection with both of these for a while now. Oh I recall denying CDs when I had so much Vinyl! The discomfort it bought me. The horror of my vinyl getting ruined in the move to Scotland and then further annihilated by the cold weather inside my first non centrally heated houses. Oh how I have been emotionally torn by the evolution of technology at times.

But I am over that. Now I am of the digital age. I embrace it.
If only for the reason of downsizing living space and reducing clutter.

But as I run my fingers along their spines and wish them well in their new homes I realise that with books, its not about the visual content, its about the place it takes me in my mind. I think we will always keep some books. Some artistically stunning hard backs, definitely most of our comics and some of the early editions (retirement funds).

To keep the stories we need to digitise them. Or at least make a list, so we can back purchase as we want to re-read them. It will be a slow and lingering process but it is worth it. And it will be an interesting process, to see just how many we will re-read.

It is all about the reading of the story and not the physical book. So as long as I am in love with the reading I don’t mind if its on a kindle. Its about the reading, not the book. Does this sound like a chant?

Am I convincing anyone?


No comments:

Post a Comment