A few months ago I was grappling with the idea of an e-reader. Almost immediately after, I ended up ordering the Kindle.
Looking back, all that drama was so pointless. Once I got the Kindle, I couldn’t put it down. It’s beautiful, handles really well, is very light and is a pleasure to read. I did have quite a few issues with it for the first few weeks, and to my surprise, when I called up Amazon support, they replaced it.
I’ve been trying to understand what caused me to resist it so much in the first place. Is it that while music and film have changed formats, books have essentially remained the same through history. Sheets bound together, to be turned by hand. Is it that my memories of childhood, libraries, friendship (oh, the stories of ‘borrowed’ books), summer holidays overpowered the usual rational self.
But books are emotional objects for me. A lot of books have moments appended to them. Markers of foolishness or adolescence. Some that I cringe at, when I recall announcing loudly to peers that I’d read something that they wouldn’t understand. And the scores of books that fall broadly under chick-lit or some other such tag. Books that have filled hours and shelves.
What is a book then? That specific sequence of words? Or the physical printout?
Over the year-end break, as I lay in bed, unable to move for a few days thanks to a strong bout of flu, I bought one book after another. Some through serendipity and others through recommendations. I read more now. Not afraid to exhaust my reading options whilst sitting on a train. I still buy physical books, but 70% of new books are in digital format.
All I want are books, and to be able to fit in small alternate worlds in my bag when I leave in the mornings. I used to do that earlier too, I just do it a lot easier now. One of the reasons I don’t blog that much anymore is the Kindle. I’ve never read this much in my life.
I no longer see the point in writing.
(In a few months, I’ll come back to my senses.)
PS – Happy New Year and all that. It’s been a slightly manic year – and I hope your year is that curious mix of contentment and excitement. Some stillness to go with that jumpy ride, yes?