09 November 2012

A Love Affair With Books

During this year a lot of my reading has been on my Kindle. That was until a month or so ago, when my daughter lent me a paperback she thought I would enjoy. I did. The time travel nature of the book reminded me of an unread book I bought some time ago, and so I searched through the bookshelves (double packed with the ‘to be read’ books in front), and then the teetering tower of Pisa in the corner of the room, and found the book. Since then I’ve been working my way down the stack, which no longer sways in a light breeze, and the incline is almost non-existent now as well.

I’ve had a love affair with books since I first learnt to read. I’d save up my pocket money until I had enough to go to the local shop and buy a book. It was actually a newsagents shop, but they had two rotating stands of books, one for children.  I would hurry there with my money clasped tightly and spend a delicious half hour deciding which book I’d buy. Around that time I acquired my own library ticket and would go with my dad to the library and also select books there. I worked my way through all the books, and then sneakily started on the adult ones on the shelves next to the children’s area. That was how I found Agatha Christie. I read most of her books when I was around twelve or thirteen, and then moved along the shelves and discovered historical novels. I flirted with these for a year, but went back to crime (as in fiction) and thrillers.

Both my parents loved reading, though they didn’t own many books, so we were regularly at the library.

Book prices are now much cheaper, relative to earnings, and so I have quite a book-buying habit. Acquiring a Kindle certainly didn’t do anything to lessen that. It also made me realise something else, and some people will no doubt reel in horror at this admission, I don’t have a love affair with books, it’s with reading.

I still buy print books, still browse through bookshops, and I think I will probably always buy non-fiction print books, especially if it’s something I need to refer to for learning purposes. However, I read more widely on my Kindle and am reading classic books that I might never have tried. Recently, when  reading an 800 page print book, I wished I’d bought the eBook as it's much easier to carry around!

I have books on my bookshelf that are special, and that I’ll never get rid of. As I was looking for the unread book I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I picked up a book I bought for my father as a birthday present a few years ago. He died just weeks after his birthday, and when I went home I found the book on the shelves next to his chair. I could see he’d read it, and I hoped he'd enjoyed it. I brought it back with me, and enjoyed reading it, but sometimes a book is special for more than the tale it tells.

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