I miss books
I miss books. I miss paper. I miss the swish of a turned page. I miss typography. I miss the roughness or smoothness of each bound sheet. I miss both the stiff bindings and the ones that flop agreeably open in your lap. I miss cheap, already-disintegrating paperbacks. I miss hefty hardbounds with which you can kill large bugs. I miss the smell of paper and glue and magic. I miss books.
I have been travelling for almost a month now with my trusty Kindle to hand, all filled up with library books and Project Gutenberg classics. I have read more in the last month than I have in the previous two months probably because of the idle time spent on various planes, trains, trams, and boats. And yet…I miss books.
At this point in the endless book vs. e-reader debate, I very much hope we can all agree that neither is naturally set against each other and each has its own positive qualities. However, even as I appreciate the tonnage of text that my Kindle has allowed me to bring on this trip, I still can’t help but miss the physicality and pleasure of a good, old-fashioned codex.
I love a lot of things about reading, but in the past month I’ve come to realize how much the form my reading takes matters to me. I like books, bound ones, and for all the peregrinating freedom my Kindle gives me, it has never wormed its way into my heart. I don’t love it. I don’t hate it, either, ergo my use of it on this trip, but it isn’t a form of reading that I will ever adore. The Kindle makes reading feel quick and modern, when I’d rather reading felt like a journey and an immersion.
So I hope those of you not travelling will take a moment and give your nearest book a hug for me. Crack open that spine, sniff inside, and run an appreciative hand down the typed page. Maybe you can even feel the rise and fall of the type. Or maybe you’ll just feel the sensation of paper. Either way, I envy you and look forward to joining your book-holding ranks in another few weeks. Until then, I will undoubtedly continue to really and truly miss books. Sorry, Kindle.