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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Writers can be a crazy lot—our quirks and collections can rival anyone out there. Most often, our collections are focused around the tools of our trade: notebooks, pens, pencils, typewriters, etc. I myself have an impressive collection of notebooks and pens, but it’s not strictly ornamental. Despite how digital everything, including the writing process, has gotten I still find myself taking an ‘old school’ approach to my craft. While it may surprise many: I write everything first with a pen and paper.

I’m the first to admit I’m not the most technologically savvy of people, but it’s no techno-fear that’s led me to writing longhand. I really feel like there’s something fundamentally different about putting lead to paper as opposed to banging away on a keyboard—I just feel more creative doing so. And it turns out, there’s some science to back me up!

It turns out that children write better when they use a pen as opposed to a keyboard, and the simple act of connecting the form of each letter actively engages your brain in a way that isn’t seen in typing.

But even if there wasn’t the scientific evidence there, I doubt you could dissuade me from utilizing my trusty notebooks. The fact is there’s something special about how these simple tools have been used to create masterpieces. This author summed it up beautifully.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go get some fresh notebooks and a spankin’ new pen.