I’ll just finish this chapter…..

I’ve embarked on this blogging adventure in part to test and improve my relationship with digital technology.  I’ve made some progress, although it may not all be obvious yet.

In this spirit I have paid more attention to my friends when they extol the virtues of their newly acquired e-Readers and Kindles.  It seems Santa did a roaring trade in them last year, and there is no greater proselyte than a brand new convert.

Now, I can immediately see the benefit of having as many books as you want, available at any time, on such a small piece of equipment.

I used to do most of my reading on my way to and from work on the Tube, and for a short time was a member of a book group; but I had to give it up, largely because of their unfortunate habit of selecting books available only in hardback.  I built up quite a head of resentment against carrying around heavy, but unpalatable  books; it was finally Peter Carey’s ‘The True History of the Kelly Gang’ that pushed me over the edge.

Who knows, I might still be a member of the group if I’d had a Kindle.  I’d certainly be able to take a smaller suitcase on holiday with me; I’ve never been away without at least four books.

Isn’t there something about not putting all ones eggs in one basket, though?  Am I being just too pessimistic to ask what happens if you lose your e-Reader?

Most people have replied that they would still have plenty of paper books as back up.

When you have a book in your hand you can tell how much there is to go before the end; does the information that you are 80%  completed give you the same degree of information?  It presupposes you know how long the book is to start with: an inch or three inches thick?

Can you promise yourself that you’ll stop reading as soon as you’ve finished this chapter, by flicking through to see the next break?  I guess so.

While reading is largely an act of imagination, there is no avoiding its physical characteristics; the feel of a book in your hands, the smell of the newly printed, the aged aroma of the ancient, the sound of the air when you flick through the pages, the gratifying thump when you throw an unsatisfactory specimen on the floor.

Is there a book by your side in a holiday photo that reminds you of where you were when you read it.  Or is there sand stuck between the pages, or drips of suntan cream on the back cover?  Or, in my case, is there an airline boarding pass stuck between the final pages, which catches you sideways with memories?

Have you ever bought a second hand book and wondered at the stories of the previous owners or studied the traces they left behind between its pages?

Will book-lined room become things of the past?  Will borrowing a book from a friend become a quaint old custom?

I admit it.  I’d like to have a Kindle, but I don’ t think I’ll ever entirely give up on the ‘real thing’.

Leave a comment


  1. Hello Miss Rowena,

    I have posted two similar posts on my blog. If you want to read them, they were titled: Paper Books VS Electronic Devices and the follow-up to that was Open Mouth, Insert Kindle.

    I love my Kindle, however, I will never give up my obsession and desire to peruse both new and used bookstores, or filling numerous shelves with my finds. Like you said its a physical pleasure for all your senses that no E-reader can duplicate.



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