By “real books” I mean physical, honest-to-goodness books that you can actually touch.
Photo originally posted here.
Although I love the efficiency of Googling as opposed to flipping through a heavy volume just to check what I need, and of course the convenience of accessing content in smartphones—when it comes to sitting down and reading, eBooks don’t really do it for me, especially when what I want to read is of the classic literature variety. (Which is a lot of times.)
There’s something about actually holding the paper in your hands that makes it special. The texture can be glossy or coarse, it doesn’t really matter—though I’m partial to coarse for literary pieces, and glossy for encyclopedias and such. The sound of my fingers flipping a page provides a sense of accomplishment and moving forward. The weight of the volume in my hands add to the feeling of value in enriching the mind. (Although, ideally, heavy volumes are for reading in the comfort of my house; light paperback versions for reading while traveling.)
There are stories in books, but I think the books themselves tell stories. The smell of the paper–new ones have a crisp smell that tells of eagerness for new adventures, and old ones that have an aged smell that tell of loyal service to many. The faint dust stains, coffee stains, or tear stains narrate safekeeping, companionship, and feeling. I don’t write in margins myself, but when I see some in a book owned by someone else, it lets me in on additional insight of the owner. The folds in the book’s spine tells you which part is read the most times.
I love real books because I grew up raiding my mother’s library, and peeking into my older brothers’ collections—I can still remember the cover art of the ones I read the most, and even the ones I only saw but never actually read. I love real books because it’s something I can share with the people I love without the computerized filter of email. I love real books because it’s one of the things I can pass to my children, and they to their children, and they to their children.