In Defense of Books (the actual ones)

overrunbybooks
not my actual house, but it’s close.

My house is overrun by books.  There are books in stacks in random corners of various rooms, books that line every possible shelf, books in baskets, books on the kitchen table, books on every coffee and end table, books in the bathroom, books on top of the piano.  Heck, there are even books in the laundry room.  And that’s just the beginning.  Just ask my husband.

At first, he tried being a hard nose.  “Sell some of your books, or I will not mow the yard.”  Ha!  I thought, Good one.  When the grass got about knee high and you could get chiggers from rolling the trash bin out during the heat of the summer, I thought about mowing it myself, but then speculated that that had been his plan all along, so I resisted.  He finally caved when the concerned passersby came daily asking if they could mow our yard for $20.  His eyes locked with mine as he yanked on the mower’s pull chain and I stood at the back door refusing to lower my smile, break his stare, or put down the book in my hand.  I suppose I could have at least helped to weed eat, but the story was just too good.

Several years ago, he tried again.  He bought me an e-reader: a Kindle from Amazon.  It was nice enough, fairly easy to use, and I read a couple of books on it, in fact.  But I didn’t really like it much.  There was something impersonal about it.

If you think about it, books can be a lot like new relationships.  When you get one, you immerse yourself, not only ibooksniffern the story, but with the tangibleness of it.  You hold it, carry it, protect it, run your hands over the smooth cover; you even smell it and look at it to see how far you’ve come with it.
You can’t do that with an e-reader.  Sure, you can buy a cute cover for it, but that gets old after awhile.

But, alas, my husband still hadn’t given up.  He thought the new Nook from Barnes and Noble might change my mind.  B&N had just released their first edition Nook, and it had a color touch screen on the bottom that showcased your “bookshelf,” with the covers in a pretty color format.  But the pictures were small and grainy.  And let me tell ya: I love a good book cover.  But for the sake of my marriage, I gave it a go, but ended up feeling like I was cheating myself out of the full Reading Experience.  You know, like when you fall asleep reading and your book falls to the floor and some pages get creased or wrinkled?  Or like when you want to look at your bookmark when your book is closed to see how far you’ve come or have left to go?  Or like when you want to go back to a certain section in the book and you intuitively know about how far back it was because you’re actually turning pages and can feel the growing thickness of the pages with your left hand?  Yeah, that.

So, I sold that Nook and went on reading actual books.  The grass got higher, and the sighs got louder.  Then the touch screen Nook came out.

“Look,” hubs said, “You can touch the word and it will define it for you.”  I thought, Well, that’s cool. But I didn’t dare say it out loud because, you know, at that point, I couldn’t give him the satisfaction.  I am nothing if not stubborn.  Just ask my husband.

But stubborn he is, too, so when the new Nook arrived at the house, I had to hide my excitement and anticipation that this might actually be a good thing.  I was thinking of all the places I could hide to read it, while keeping an actual book on the nightstand so that he wouldn’t be tipped off that I was reading on the e-reader.  What I ended up doing was buying both the actual book and the e-book so that I could keep up with just one story at a time.  It became expensive, and ultimately, I yearned for the real book.  I missed enveloping my face inside a book and taking a big and heavy inhalation and smelling the story.  (Don’t look at me like I’m crazy, because you know you’ve done the same thing before.)frostbeard

The smell of books is something that really can’t be duplicated (This website his hilarious.), but it’s not just about the actual smell.  It has something to do with further connecting to the story, the anticipation of what’s to come, and the romance between reader and words.

This year for my birthday, hubs embraced my book romance and bought me this, and let me tell you, some of them smell nothing like books and more like a dank and dirty basement (He probably enjoyed watching my nose cinch.)  But most of them are quite lovely, and I plan to buy many more candles from this fun company.

I’m not weird; I just take reading to the next level.

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