"A room without books is like a body without a soul."
To flick or not to flick?
Ahh, books. Those magical things that take us to faraway lands without having to physically move. The joy of owning something tangible that can take up needless space, either on the aforementioned coffee table or on bookshelves that are already crammed full with things that don't really fit anywhere else. Tall ones, short ones, thin ones, thick ones, old ones, new ones, there's a certain joy in holding a book - you don't even have to be reading it to experience part of that joy. But if you do that joy just increases. And the book doesn't have to be a story, of course. We use them for humor, for titillation and education, for analysis and for abstract thought. But best of all - at least to me - is that you can take a good book to bed or the bath and just relax.
So why write an article here, you ask? Well the reason is simple. There are those who would argue that books are old-fashioned and that tablets and e-readers are the 'new way'. Personally I don't get it. I mean, I've got a tablet and I've got a very nice smartphone. I can read ebooks on either but I generally don't. For me, part of the enjoyment is holding a book, turning the pages and feeling some sort of connection to the author. That's all in my mind of course. They're just words on paper. But subconsciously, I feel as though the writer used the very same paper I had in my hands. E-books feel as though they're just copy & paste text (which I suppose they are.)
Still with me? Good. Here's where I'm going with this. Those coffee-table (or under-the-bed) books that we and our parents turned to in bed are arguably a dying breed. Sure, a backlit piece of plastic will give the same information, but doesn't it just feel more romantic to be lying in bed with your partner with both of you holding a book open, helping the other turn the pages, giving little words of encouragement ("I'd like to see you doing that...")? There's a certain bond in sharing a book. To expand on the copy/paste analogy, there are some of us who feel that reading an article or, even better, a sex book in bed with a lover is an intimate act in itself. Bring your tablet to bed and you might as well be checking emails together. It could be argued that just owning books makes you feel as though you have real, tangible knowledge at your fingertips. Conversely, there's an ad on TV at the moment for a car insurance company where a young woman makes an incorrect statement, backing up her claim by saying that she got her information from the Internet. "They can't put anything that's not true on the Internet" she says. "Where did you read that?" the man she's talking to asks. "The Internet" is her reply. Real books, books printed on paper, aren't infallible. But they make you feel as though they are.
I admit that I can be a little precious about my books. I like mine to be in either mint condition or looking like they're 100 years old, but usually never in between. I love a book that still looks and smells new, but I equally adore books that look loved. I learned to read early and still have one or two of the books I owned as a little girl. They're a little worse for wear and might have the occasional torn spine or loose page but I can look at certain pages and see little chocolate smears or crayon marks and know pretty much exactly when I made them. I defy anyone to get that from an e-reader. And that's part of why I'm writing this. I have a handful of books that give tips on everything from sex positions to how to have a 'perfect threesome' (I'm not saying anything about that one!), or more recently, a book of recommended positions for anal. Some of those books might only ever get read once or twice, some might only be used to get some ideas from the pictures. But they all have their place and I wouldn't exchange a single one of them for a 'more convenient' format. In years to come, I want to look back at those books in the kind of way I look back on my childhood ones, although this time I want to see little creases and lube stains and remember the fun I had putting them there.