Just Sayin’.

IMG_2062

After visiting 7 independent bookshops in 7 days for Independent Booksellers’ Week, I’ve decided to take a little break.  This is mainly to give my bank balance time to recover.  But I thought I’d share this little story with you.

Like many of you, I make a point of always having at least one book with me at all times, so that I’m never left without something to do.  But today, I did something a bit dumb.  In addition to the book I’m reading, I put a water bottle in my bag and forgot to make sure the cap was closed tightly.  Ten minutes later I realised I was dripping.  The cap had fallen off and my water bottle had soaked half of my bag, including my book.

This led to a deliciously smug moment.  The spill was a blessing in disguise; my book, of course, was fine after a few hours of drying out and by the time I was reading on the bus later, I realised that the crumpled pages now give off that beautiful used book smell, long before their time.  The pages swell out like the faces on the front cover, as if their stories can barely be contained inside the book.

I’m grateful for the spill because now, I have a perfectly good book whose pages are a little more crinkled and a little more yellowed and which looks, if anything, more loved than it did before.

If I’d been a Kindle user, I’d have no entertainment for the rest of the day and be £199 out of pocket.

Books are tough; they can not only survive, but gain charm, character and stories from their time with even the most adventurous, wanderlusting, absent-minded or accident-prone readers.

Just some food for thought.

Advertisements

27 responses to “Just Sayin’.

  1. Love, love, love this!!!

    Like

  2. What a wonderful post. I love your description of the dried out book.

    Like

  3. Your posts are such a treasure Emily! I can’t visit a bookshop without wondering what you’d think of it. Your love of books and gift in writing has inspired. Thanks for sharing that. I’ve been transported to every shop. I hope your break is refreshing but not long!

    Like

  4. Eurgh, I’m so glad you’re not keen on Kindles either. I mean, I can sort of see why people like them, because they’re light and have adjustable print and can store many books at once, but somehow..no. Where’s the romance!?

    Like

    • Absolutely – they are the killers of the romance of books. I have to say, I don’t really understand any of the arguments for them – I know what they are, but they just don’t make sense! Books are light, you can order large-print books if you’re visually impaired, your bookshelf can hold hundreds if not thousands and most importantly, even if they do let you carry 1 million books around with you – when do you EVER need that? It’s one of those problems that we no one ever thought was a problem until technology and its advertising came along and told us that we have been miserable up until now and their product can fix it. I can fit two or three books in my book bag and I don’t know when I’ve ever needed more than that on an average day.

      Like

  5. If and when I get to the UK, I am hiring you as a book store tour guide! Thanks for the great posts!

    Like

  6. I’ve bought a couple of bottled drinks lately and noticed that the caps are getting smaller meaning they’ll come off easier. I was worried and had to stick cellotape over it to prevent just this incident happening!
    FM

    Like

  7. Yay for being smug about printed books! I always worry that I might get stuck somewhere with only a kindle and no plug to re-charge in, which is why there are roughly five books in the boot of my car and at least two in my purse at all time. Unfortunately, the extra weight makes my posture pretty crooked, but at least I know I’ll never be bored. I do like to have some books on my iphone too, though. Just for a little variety.

    I love your idea about books being able to gain charm. There’s a quote from Inkheart by Cornelia Funke which reminds me of that:

    “If you take a book with you on a journey…The book begins collecting your memories. And forever after you have only to open that book to be back where you first read it. It will all come into your mind with the very first words: the sights you saw in that place, what it smelled like, the ice cream you ate while you were reading it… yes, books are like flypaper—memories cling to the printed page better than anything else.”

    I really enjoyed reading your bookshop posts!

    Like

    • Yes, I love the bit from Inkheart – I am such a fan of Cornelia Funke! I totally agree, there’s absolutely no fun, no romance, no adventure to be had when you use a Kindle. There’s nowhere to leave your train ticket tucked between pages to be found again years later or write an inscription on the front page for someone you love, not to mention the fact that you can’t share, lend, dog-ear or annotate them. Well said, Cornelia!

      Like

    • PS – I know how you feel about the crooked posture, but isn’t it worth it to be the kind of person who always has two books in her bag? Isn’t that just the kind of person we all want to be? 🙂

      Like

  8. Completely on board with you about the durability of books versus Kindle, or any other e-reader. On a book trip to New York City and Brooklyn, first day, my friend’s Kindle stopped working. She’s not an addicted bibliophile, like me, but she loves New York and going with me to the area’s independent bookstores (we went to 14 in three days). So, to have a book to read at night, she had to buy one. I pointed out to her the ridiculousness of her Kindle and the reliability of books, but she still loves her Kindle.

    Like

  9. Couldn’t agree more! All hail the magic of the printed product 🙂

    Like

  10. I love printer books, but my Kindle is the only way for me to blog at the moment (my MacBook was on loan from college, now I’ve left it no longer is mine…) so I can’t be without either, to be honest.

    Like

    • Yikes! I can’t imagine how awful it would be to have to use a Kindle! Hope you’re not planning on doing anything remotely interesting in the next little while- Kindles don’t hold up to adventures well at all! 😉

      Like

  11. HA! Used book smell is one of the best smells in the world…and books beat kindle every time, hands down.

    Like

  12. No Kindle, Nook or Kobo for this reader ’cause nothing beats holding a book and never will. A screen gives back nothing when it comes to awakening one’s senses in unexpected, delightful ways.

    Like

  13. I have been known to iron the pages of a wet book one by one … helps to stop the mould growing. It goes against my heart, but I do use a Kindle for all those free classic books you can download – I’ve never spent a penny after the initial purchase – and when my poor ageing eyes get tired I can make the font big and keep on reading, so there has to be something to be said for it!

    Like

    • Can’t get on board I’m afraid. The idea of free books is great, but we’ve got libraries for that and we need to support them instead of massive international companies that don’t pay their taxes. Besides, do we value the printed word and the work and creativity that goes into producing it so little that we can really demand to have it for free?? Frankly, I don’t want to live in a world where people’s priorities are so skewed that they will gladly spend £4 on a latte, but won’t shell out £1 for Jane Eyre. Sorry!

      Like

      • Well, you know, I don’t think Laurence Sterne and Izaak Walton and Machiavelli are going to be out of pocket on royalties on community-created files of their books, whether on Amazon or Project Gutenberg …

        Like

      • Of course you’re very right for writers who are long dead, but I still think there’s something in the principle of the thing. I think it doesn’t set a great precedent for us to devalue literature by making it just another free file that we thoughtlessly download without thinking about it. Obviously I recognise that it’s a slippery slope; you don’t want to end up being elitist by making literature inaccessible to people, but again we have public libraries for free books and always have. The difference between libraries and Kindle files is that they both give you free books, but with libraries, what you get on the side is the expertise and training of librarians, social programmes and a sense of community. What you get on the side with Amazon is an impersonal website, tax evasion and what I think are unethical business practices. Machiavelli might not have an issue with that, but I reckon a lot of other writers would be on the side of the good old fashioned public library.

        Like

  14. Spent a penny on e-books, I mean! My print and paper bill is still embarrassing…

    Like

  15. Archie Duncan

    Dear Emily,

    Just a quick note to say what a wonderful job you are doing….your bookshop visits make very interesting and entertaining reading (and what a great batch have arrived in the past week). You deserve a break, but I will be looking forward to your return.

    Enjoy your break (and your books,

    Kindest regards,

    Archie Duncan

    Like

  16. Another one in the eye for the kindle, great story, it is tempting to throw all my books in the bath right now but I shall refrain. I love your description of the pages swelling out.

    Like

  17. Lovely story, and I tend to agree. Books have such personality to them, and I love the smell and the feeling of holding them in my hands.

    Like

  18. I’ve had this happen to me, too – another stain, another story that the book tells about your journey. I love the memories evoked by a watermark or stain – even if it’s just remembering your panic over the soaking!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s