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The comfort of a book

Feeling a little under the weather, I took a day off and sat down with a cup of herbal tea … and a book.

After I had finished the book (its spine cracked with love, its pages beginning to age, its shape and weight comfortable in my hand) I went back to the computer to take a look at what had been going on in the world since I had last looked in on it and discovered a discussion on e-readers.

E-book readers are proliferating like mushrooms after the rains, and the more popular ones can do SO MUCH MORE than just letting you read a book. You can access your email. You can write on your blog. You can paint a picture.

But here’s the thing. I was feeling off, and miserable, and out of it. What did I reach for…? A *book*. The kind which I could let flip open to a favorite passage (and I knew where to look for them, in the book, on a page). I could curl up with this loved and intimate object, and sip my herbal tea, and dive into the pages and pretend I was in a different world while the rain fell outside and the cats came to curl up at my feet. I was holding… a book. I had reached for one out of a need for love and comfort,out of a need for something solid and familiar and warm.

Could I have done this with a Kindle, a Nook, a Sony, an iPad?

Perhaps. Maybe. Some people no doubt have that ability. But I find it hard to derive comfort from even the idea of doing this, of holding a screen, of tabbing down through the pages rather than turning them with my fingertips when I’m ready.

Yes, I know the advantages. Yes, I know you can have an entire library in a single Kindle. But here’s the thing – I don’t read 3000 books at once. I read one. And I am more than happy to have the other 2999 of them surrounding me on bookshelves in my home. The books give my house a soul and a presence, they show the people who step through my door what kind of person I am, and they are all always there for me, just an arm’s reach away, when I want any one of them.

I don’t think I’ll be buying an e-reader of any sort soon. I have bowed to a lot of the things that make up this cyberworld I live in, and have adopted the computer for a lot of things that I would never have dreamed it was possible for a computer to do in the relatively short time that it has been a part of every modern household. But reading…? Reading I do for love and comfort. And nothing beats the healing power of a real book in my hand.

Yes, thank you, I do feel better. Tomorrow it’s back into the salt mines because there is a lot of work to do. But the medicine that healed me did not come from electrons. It was words, on paper. Love and comfort.

Long live the book.


About AlmaAlexander

I'm a scientist by education, a duchess by historical accident and an author who shares writing tips and glimpses of a writer's life, the mundane and the magic

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