Posts filed under ‘Transgressions’

I miss books

from online image arcade

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.


July 16, 2015 at 4:10 am 2 comments

Literary Transgression: Reading Magazines

Can we talk about magazines? I feel like magazines get pretty short shrift on blogs about reading and books (i.e. they are never, ever mentioned), which makes them a perfect fit for a blog called “Literary Transgressions”! I’ve been reading a few back-issues of New York lately as part of my goal to make time to read everyday and have come to conclusion that magazines should have their day in the book blog sun.

In particular, I’ve been wondering what magazines the bookish of the world gravitate towards. In my ideal world, I would be able to subscribe to a magazine that focused on all aspects of bookishness, from the act of reading itself to book history to publishing to design. I want literary essays (a la Anne Fadiman’s Ex Libris and Alberto Manguel’s The Library At Night), obligatory book recommendations (perhaps categorized by type of reader, rather than type of book), a section about typography, something about book history, and a funny little page at the back with a personal essay or cartoon about the reading experience.

Does this exist already? Because I have my wallet out ready to subscribe if someone could only point me in the right direction. (more…)

September 2, 2014 at 4:38 am 2 comments

Literary Transgression: Reading at Group Gatherings

This post is part of a long-running and sporadic series of Literary Transgressions! These Transgressions feature posts by me, Kate, or one of our delightful readers in which we share an embarrassing literary admission with some commentary. If you’d like to join the madness and share your own Literary Transgression, please e-mail us at literarytransgressionsATgmailDOTcom. We’re always looking for guest posters!

Remember when you were a kid and it was perfectly acceptable to just hole up in a corner during social gatherings and read a book while adults socially ebbed and flowed around you? Transgression admission time: I really wish I could still read instead of being social at certain gatherings!

I was a tag-along at a conference last week filled with ‘adults’ who all knew each other and had loads in common. As the odd girl out (and the youngest person there by about twenty years), I desperately wished I could just be my 10-year-old self again and dig out my book without being glared at for committing social rudeness. (more…)

July 1, 2011 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

Riddle me this…

February 17, 2010 at 12:00 am 10 comments

Literary Transgression: Poetry

I loathe poetry.

Well, maybe that’s unfair. I do like some poetry: Emily Dickinson, Shakespeare, John Donne, Edna St. Vincent Millay, selected Rilke and Blake, and a smattering of Yeats, Shelley and Coleridge. I enjoyed what I read of Edmund Spenser very much, and I even got on board with a few of Anne Bradstreet’s poems.

What I don’t like is how poetry seems to be the official chosen form of the teenage writer, most of whom  seem to labour under a few poetical misconceptions. Namely, that 1) because poetry is short, it’s easy to write; 2) if it rhymes, that’s better; 3) the best poetry is autobiographical; and 4) metaphors must be made explicitly clear to the reader, because the reader is not as smart as the writer. (more…)

October 28, 2009 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

Literary Transgression: Encyclopædias

While this may not be particularly transgressive or literary, it is still a slightly embarrassing confession and confess I shall: I love encyclopedias. I’m not talking about online encyclopedias that are governed by an angry hoard of anal fussbudgets (any and all of these such an encyclopedias shall, of course, out of decency remain nameless). I’m talking about those dying breed of printed and bound encyclopedias updated sporadically and used to briefly and in as unbiased as way as possible define the known world. I love them, both in theory and in practice. (more…)

September 11, 2009 at 12:00 am 2 comments

Another Literary Transgression

(This is second in a series of Literary Transgressions! These Transgressions features posts by me, KT, or one of our delightful readers in which we share an embarrassing literary admission with some commentary. If you’d like to join the madness and share your own Literary Transgression, please e-mail us at

Clio, the muse of history

Clio, the muse of history

While I realize I spend a lot of my time on Literary Transgressions complaining about “fluffy” history books, I would now like to take a moment to indulge one of my literary transgressions and admit that I actually most often love “fluffy” history books. Yes, you heard it here first, my snobbery only extends into the academic realm and, personally, I actually like Alison Weir’s books. No, I would never use them or read them for school or any academic purpose, but that doesn’t stop me from reading them constantly in my spare time! (Nor, apparently, does it stop me from complaining about them in the blogosphere.) (more…)

August 31, 2009 at 12:00 am 2 comments

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