Confessions of an avid book reader

Handpicked

Source: Joe Queenan: My 6,128 Favorite Books — WSJ.com

As a lover of physical books myself, I couldn’t help but smile when I read this bit:

Books as physical objects matter to me, because they evoke the past. A Métro ticket falls out of a book I bought 40 years ago, and I am transported back to the Rue Saint-Jacques on Sept. 12, 1972, where I am waiting for someone named Annie LeCombe. A telephone message from a friend who died too young falls out of a book, and I find myself back in the Chateau Marmont on a balmy September day in 1995. A note I scribbled to myself in “Homage to Catalonia” in 1973 when I was in Granada reminds me to learn Spanish, which I have not yet done, and to go back to Granada.

None of this will work with a Kindle. People who need to possess the physical copy of a book, not merely an electronic version, believe that the objects themselves are sacred. Some people may find this attitude baffling, arguing that books are merely objects that take up space. This is true, but so are Prague and your kids and the Sistine Chapel. Think it through, bozos.

The world is changing, but I am not changing with it. There is no e-reader or Kindle in my future. My philosophy is simple: Certain things are perfect the way they are. The sky, the Pacific Ocean, procreation and the Goldberg Variations all fit this bill, and so do books. Books are sublimely visceral, emotionally evocative objects that constitute a perfect delivery system.

I also liked some of the comments (something that’s getting increasingly rare for me nowadays), especially this one, by Craig Smith:

I love the printed book. I enjoy reading hardbound books for the ability to write notes in the columns and underline inspiring thoughts or well-written sentences with a highlighter — like articulate sound bites that I get to enjoy over and over. I bought books for my grandchildren when they were young, I would read the books to them on warm summer nights at the cottage, during rainy days on vacation or while babysitting. I’d always write the date and a short note about the day we were together on the inside front cover. They are both good students now and they love to read. But now, when we return to the cottage in the spring to get it ready for summer vacation or when they come back home for the holidays, they love to go to the bookshelf and find some of the old books we read together. They can’t wait to look inside the books to read the note I left behind years earlier. They love to recall the special time we shared reading the book together. I do too.

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