“Books do furnish a room” is the title of one of the volumes of Anthony Powell’s entertaining series called “A Dance to the Music of Time”.
I have been a bibliophile for as long as I can remember. Rag books and board books led to pop-up books, hardback books, paperback books and some wonderful panoramic books, where the picture could be unfolded and the text told the same story as the picture.
Books for presents and books bought with pennies saved from pocket-money. Books borrowed from the library and books read over and over again. Poetry books, story books, non-fiction – and if I read them at school, a compulsory book review before I could start reading the next one. Aged seven years I was having nightmares from reading Greek myths and my mother had to intervene so that I could change my book before I reached the end! A year or two later I had written so many book reviews, I began to choose the thickest tomes from the bookshelf in the classroom in order to read more and write less. I thoroughly enjoyed “Children of the New Forest”.
(What do you say when godparents give you book by an author your family has forbidden you to read?)
Holding a book in my hand is almost second-nature.
When I am writing I consult books before I enlist the help of a search engine.
But all might be about to change…
…my laptop doubles as a Kindle. The print is bigger and I am not getting any younger. Some books may even be downloaded free of charge. Is this my chance to change the habits of a lifetime?
There is a place for e-books, but I am not in a hurry to abandon my personal library to which I am still adding books. A second-hand paperback book is light to take on a journey and can be given to a charity shop and replaced by a different one at little cost. I won’t be able to lend anyone an e-book, only to recommend it. Friends are more likely to read a book placed in their hand than to go to the trouble of finding it for themselves.
So I voted for the paperback book in the Dpchallenge poll.
Postscript: This is not the first time new technologies have changed people’s reading habits. There have been slates, wax tablets, scrolls, vellum, papyrus, paper, manuscripts, printing (initially using blocks and later more efficient methods). Jesus Christ was handed a scroll to read from (Luke Chapter 4 verses 16-22), but modern readers can read the same message in Bibles available as books or on an e-book reader.