I had some short stories, poems and photographs to share ... and so here I am

The Personality of Books


Call me old fashioned. Call me fuddy-duddy. Call me an anti-advancist, if that were a correct term. But I really can't see the day when I settle for the likes of a Sony Reader to digest my new books.

I have no doubt that these devices are going to improve with time, and already the Sony Reader looks like a superb creation, which gives the sensation of really reading paper. I've browsed through all the advance publicity and I'm very impressed by the technology. It's not enough, however, and I fear it never will be.

Sony lists all the benefits: impressive paper-like display; lightweight; amazing battery life; memory for hundreds of books; browse, purchase and easily download.
What they can't address is the little-discussed subject of how real books seem to breathe for many people, how they seem to have personalities and accompany us through life.

I couldn't imagine my living room without one of the walls lined with books. They are not just things that I read and then forget. These books hold certain memories. I buy books when I visit places. I love it when they're signed. Books remind me of different times in my life. They have become furniture pieces as well, decor that makes me "happy in my skin", as the French would say. I really believe we can feel like we're being accompanied by books; book lovers feel better when they're surrounded by them. The bookcase is just as important as the sofa and the table.

I'm not sure that a Sony Reader or any other similar device is ever going to be able to fill that gap for me. It may be fine for those who aren't that attached to their books, who don't like to stroke and smell the covers and pages (I don't mind confessing to it) and who want something easy and convenient, to take with them on public transport, for example.

What's more, my bookcase is like a large painting, a multi-coloured mural, the tapestry of my life, which I'm adding to all the time. That must be some food for thought for the good folk at the likes of Sony. Sorry I can't offer any solutions. In signing off, I have a flash: I can see someone in the year 2086, looking back at this post in blogger's archives; he can't believe what he reads, and then he has a good old laugh as he injects his Sony Reader into his arm!

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think they will have their place Shameless, but yes, you are right. Nothing can replace the feel and smell of paper.
I used to have a phone with a cord - can you imagine?

Debi said...

oh yesyesyesyesyesyes. I love them there real books. But I think Minx is right (of course Minx is right) - this device and its progeny will have their place.

If the new technology in all its forms increases choices and diversity and opens up new roads but DOESN'T close down existing ones, then we can welcome it I guess.

Anonymous said...

I agree, I love gadgets and new technology, but books are here to stay.

Just added you to my blogroll.

Shameless said...

Hello Julia, welcome, from one media person to another - I used to work at the Beeb as well - what a big beast, eh? I look forward to reading your blog ... it looks great!
And Minx and Debi, I can just see you both injecting your new Sony Readers into your arms when you're in your 90s!! Bring on change!

Anonymous said...

Next week then ... you do know we're both in our late 80s, don't you?

zorak163 said...

My bookshelves (which are overflowing) give a new visitor to my apartment instant insight into who I am. The Sony Reader would not be able to give others the same experience. I also crave the tactile experience of feeling the pages of my books and live for the smell of old bookstores. I, for one, do not plan on ever purchasing the Reader or any similar device. If I'm ever fortunate enough to be published I hope that my words will be imprinted upon actual pages...

Shameless said...

Hear, hear Zorak. I'm glad I'm not alone in this. They will take me down fighting and screaming!

maryjune brown said...

I am so with you on this. I need the paper and the crack of the spine and the smell of the ink!
Just found this blog--enjoying it.
Thanks!

Shameless said...

Hey there Maryjune,
It's always a pleasure to see someone new visiting! Please do come back regularly for a cuppa! Your blog looks great as well ... and I totally relate to your sleep post! Las vegas tired! Excellent story.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you could increase the text size on it? Might be great for people with eyesight problems.

Shameless said...

Good point, Ms Baroque. I suppose that doesn't affect me yet. But I would still probably go for large- text books, which I remember having bought for an elderly friend. They just weigh a tonne, which is not good on the metro!