Going back to book basics

One of Alison Flood’s well-read books!

So it seems like every week there’s a new ‘app’ for books, a new platform to read them on or sell them on. E-reading technology is moving so fast that it’s pretty hard to keep up with things. And sometimes when I look around the room at all my bookshelves, I think that maybe I don’t want to keep up with things! That’s why I really loved this article by Alison Flood I found on The Guardian.

Yes, REAL books, with REAL pages, made on REAL printing presses still exist! And not only that, REAL people actually read them! Now this article’s author is pretty dang rough on her books. In fact, I know some people who think that treating your books the way she does is almost blasphemous.

There are some books in my collection that I treat like special jewels (especially hardcovers), others that I don’t care so much about, and those ones I’m happy to lend to people. And that got me to thinking about why we keep as many books on our shelves as we do? I mean, there are probably only one or two in my collection that I’m going to read again – so why do I keep the others? There are probably some books on those shelves that I didn’t really even like very much, but they’re still there!

I think it means that even though we can get a digital copy of pretty much any book out there instantly, with the touch of a button, there’s still something pretty darn special about reading a physical book. This quote in the comments section says it all: “Reading is sacred. Books aren’t. How would I find passages I’ve loved again if I didn’t turn down the pages? How could I relax into the plot if I was worried about breaking the spine? I say, lose yourself in your books! The more dilapidated they are when you’ve finished the more you’ve enjoyed yourself. A messed up book is better than any book review.”

So how do you treat YOUR books?

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Speaking of the UK…

v0_masterLast week I was talking about some really great news coming out of England about how they were using field trips to help improve children’s writing skills. One of the things that I noticed, of course, in reading about the places they took the students, of course, was that they were taking them to places that were very different from where we’d take kids here. In England, there are castles and churches that are literally a thousand years old!

Of course, in Canada we have some amazing historical sites as well, but I have to admit I love the fact that in Europe, you can so easily visit all the sites I’ve read about in my favourite books, and so many of them are perfectly preserved and almost exactly as they were.

And that’s why I decided to set the novel I’m currently working on in medieval Scotland, in the time of Robert the Bruce. Even though the events of the book would have taken place hundreds and hundreds of years ago, when you research the time period there is so much information out there. There’s such a rich historical record that I don’t have to guess what structures looked like, because many of them are still there! With all the research I did, I really started to be able to imagine what it would be like to live in that world.

Do you have a particular time period or place that connects with you?