I was initially dubious of e-readers. The first ones that appeared looked a bit shiny and alien and I wasn’t convinced they could ever compare to the tactile pleasure of leafing through an actual book. Plus they were ridiculously expensive and it wasn’t exactly clear where you were meant to buy the books. And the books themselves turned out to be expensive… the whole business appeared a bit soulless. Then there came promises of being able to read books on your phone! It seemed a bit ridiculous reading a book ten words at a time because that’s all that would fit onto the screen of your phone.
Then something happened. I finished my book one day, and was out or away or something (can’t remember, memory like a sieve) and I was driven insane by not immediately owning the next in the series. I think, sadly, it was when I was reading the Twilight books…cringe! I found I couldn’t care less about the leafy pages or the nice tactile-ness of the book, I just wanted to find out what happened! I am a product of the digital age which means I am ridiculously impatient and need everything NOW! Waiting just isn’t an option, and besides, they make books so exciting these days. We seriously wouldn’t be having this problem if it was the early nineteenth century.
Then, in December I went on holiday to Goa. I could only fit one book into my bag and the one I took (The Snowman by Jo Nesbo) had its glue binding melted by the sun and completely fell apart in my hands (see picture in previous post). What’s extra awkward about all that is that I borrowed it from someone and now I’ll have to buy them a new copy. Meanwhile my friend Olivia was all smug and fancy with her cool kindle in its posh leather case.
need no longer shamefully hide the cover of my book on my desk at work during lunch. Incidentally, why do they make the cover art so bright and obvious for sci-fi and fantasy books? I even feel a bit cool and modern reading my kindle in public, and I can look disdainfully at people reading books: “You don’t have an e-reader? How old-fashioned!”However, I’m not giving up on corporeal books yet. I love them, and despite me complaining about brightly coloured covers, I love them really. I like the big overfilled bookcase in my bedroom, and I especially like massive reference books; none of this online dictionary and thesaurus stuff thank you very much. I am by no means giving up on reading paper fiction books either, some are too beautiful to not be read properly! I adore old books and pretty much the best part about studying history at Leeds was getting to use the Brotherton Library, a huge art-deco style circular library with all the books you’d ever want and more.
I think I will likely end up reading a mix of kindle books and paper books. A sort of happy medium. So far all the books I’ve read on my kindle have been great, but I’ve heard horror stories of lost chapters and floods of typos. Mind you, this isn’t unique to ebooks, I have a copy of Jasper Fforde’s First Among Sequels which has no footnotes in it. If you’ve ever read any Jasper Fforde you’ll know that footnotes are kind of a big deal in his books! Anyway, I’ll let you know more about how I get on. Maybe. Are e-readers the future of reading? I suppose it could be one of those fads. A really really good fad.