Cicero sure was right. Even back around 70 BC when he said that. I have books in every room of my house. I try to reduce my consumption of other objects and gadgets in my life so I can splurge on my love of books. I blame my parents for my book-hoarding gene, they both have large collections. My mother practically has her own lending library, I often leave her house with an arm full of a dozen or more.
I was pleasantly surprised to find a few followers who also love the smell of a book. Think about that. The smell of a book? Next time you walk past a used book store pop in for a moment and inhale. What do you smell? I smell memories of curling up in a hammock on a fall day with Nancy Drew, my old copy of Goodnight Moon I probably chewed to death as a toddler, trudging through the Brothers Karamazov trying not to lose track of the characters... Books have one of the best scents ever.
A big part about my trying to live more mindfully is to be aware of the things that I would otherwise normally forget about. Reading a good book is more than just the words: it's the smell of the paper, the feel of the paper, the weight of it, the soft sound the page makes as I turn it, the pressure the corner of the hard binding makes in my stomach as I lie on the couch transfixed by the characters.
I don't think I will ever download a book and read it on a screen. I feel like that's somehow cheating. I don't care if I can carry one hundred novels around on my laptop when I can only cram two or three in carry-on luggage. I just don't ever want to be without the smell, feel and other sensations a book gives you while reading it.
Likewise I have similar feelings about my ipod. I miss vinyl. I am actually old enough to covet the sensation of opening up the book-like cover of a double album, hearing the creak of the cardboard, admiring the art and reading the words covering every square inch. Then slipping out its papery sleeve releasing the scent of 70s, feeling the grooves of the recording on the vinyl. Finally balancing the needle on the record as you start to hear the crackles of the empty space before the music starts.
As technology replaces books and records I will hold on to my old-time collections. And I will gladly lug around a two pound copy of Harry Potter in hardcover. The day my copies of book seven arrived on the porch with a thug (we ordered TWO copies so my husband and I could read it at the same time) I ran out and thanked the mail man. He said, "I've been carrying a lot of those around today" with grimace. It's good to know that I'm not the only one who still loves a book, and a long long one at that. Are you also sad when a good book ends? That's why I keep so many of them around. It's nice to know that I can visit the characters again whenever I want.
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