I have but only recently discovered, there are readers and then there are lovers of books. For most of my life I assumed us one and the same. If you love to read, you love books, right?
Alas . . .
It was a cousin who opened my eyes to the truth. He made the grave error of stating, matter-of-fact, with little to no alarm, that there would certainly be no need for actual books in the future. What’s the point? With technological advancements, the screens of electronic readers will read much the same as paper (if not better since you can adjust font size and lighting). And let’s not forget the fact that electronic readers allow you to carry a plethora of reading materials with no injury to yourself or others, no matter what you do or where you roam.
I blinked, took a few puffs into a brown paper bag, and otherwise attempted to collect myself before providing a counter to his argument.
After all, we do not read printed books because we’ve no other option; we read printed books because they’re our only true option.
Sure, the likes of Nooks and Kindles are good for cutting back on airline fees when we travel. They come in handy when weeding out the riffraff in choosing books that will earn a place on our bookshelves. But when it comes to lounging about, getting lost in a story, only a real book will do. We want to breathe in the scent of aged leather and freshly inked paper; we want to feel the weight of a strong binding in our hands, to turn actual pages–to have physical evidence of how far we’ve come, and how far we’ve yet to go.
We want something new to pass on to those we love; and something old, that has traveled through time.
Think of it! I exclaimed.
In a world without books there’d be no libraries, no floor to ceiling bookshelves;
There’d be no gilt and marble edges, no fanciful endpapers, no illustration that seems to dance right off the page.
In a world without books, you’d find no flowers tucked between pages, no whispered stories penned within the lines of inscriptions.
No, a world without books is not a world in which I’d care to live.
My cousin said not a word as I carried on with my diatribe. Then, once he made certain I was quite finished, he calmly replied, Well, I guess I’m just lacking the romance.
Perhaps that’s it. Perhaps we’re little more than romantics.
It’s why we guard our books closer than we guard our children; why we buy new books, before we buy new shoes; why we are determined to keep a book blog, despite the fact there are not enough hours in the day.
Extravagant, imaginative, and completely fantastic, that’s what romance is made of.
So here’s to us, and books, and keeping the adventure alive . . .