Wednesday, November 7, 2012

For the Love of Books, Just Read Already Why Don't You!

I read books.


If a book is good I will read it in a few hours. Density of course is a factor i.e. size of print and number of pages as well as depth of story. Case in point - "Anna Karenina" took me a a lot longer than a few hours.

This weekend I did what I haven't done in a long time. I purchased actual books. The kind you can hold in your hand and feel the texture of the pages. The kind that smell like words, letters, stories, imagination and escape.

The husband purchased an iPad for me as a gift a while back. I love it. I use it often. I swore I would never read books on it. I lied. I succumbed to the ease of downloading a book from iBooks and not having to leave my house or wait for to send me my next anticipated novel.

It just isn't the same though. There is absolutely nothing like the smell or feel of a new book. And yes, I am book snob who only likes to read new books. People talk often of going to the library and borrowing a book. What is this library thingy you speak of? Why would you ever want to hand over a book you have just read to someone else never to read it again?

I re-read my books. Often. Here' a photo of my copy of the "The Hobbit" by J.R. R. Tolkien.

It is lovingly falling apart. The cover has been taped on, the pages are falling apart and the rips and tears tell you how many times I have read this book. A lot! Too many to count. Each time I read it I am transported to a different place and always take something new away from the story.

My "Lord of the Rings" trilogy looks much the same as does my "The Chyrsalids" by John Wyndham. I still believe this book is as relevant today as the day it was written. If you haven't read it, you should!

What I am getting at here is that I hoard my books. I like them new and I like to read them until they look like the "Velveteen Rabbit" (which I also own and makes me cry just thinking about it). I love the feel of a new book. I like to hold it in my hands for a while before I open. If you are an avid book reader you will understand why. I stroke it and turn it over in my hands. I even smell it. (Aaaaaaah! There is nothing like the smell of a book except the smell of a bookstore. Seriously, bookstores have the best smell.) I like to be the first one to read a book and I like to preserve the spine for a while and then eventually, with much satisfaction, I like to break the spine for easier reading. I know some people will disagree with me on this and probably think I am breaking a cardinal rule - NEVER BREAK THE SPINE! I do it eventually.

I don't open the book right away because the anticipation of the story waiting inside for me is just too good. I savour it. Because eventually all the goodness inside the book will be revealed and I want to hang on to it a bit before I turn the last page ending my journey.

I'm a bit like Pavlov's dog with a good book. When I'm in the bookstore I will take my time finding a book. Maybe the cover art will catch my eye and encourage me to take it down off the shelf. If I know the author and have read some of their works before that may be my enticement.  A recommendation from a friend will do the trick too.  I love to read books that have "NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER" or "INTERNATIONAL BEST SELLER" printed ostentatiously across the top of the cover page. I don't know why...I guess I need to know others liked it too.

If you know me well, you know I LOVE Steve Martin - yes this one - and when he writes a new book I read it! I mean - who doesn't love a guy who is funny, cute and can play a mean banjo???!!

Eventually the right book ends up in my hands and how do I know it's the right book?  Well, I start to salivate!

There people who don't read books.  It's cool! Engulfing oneself in a 1000 page book can be intimidating and time consuming.  Definitely not for everyone.  I get it.  O.k. I really don't. I just smile and nod when someone tells me all the reasons why they "can't/won't" read. 

Here is what annoys me though.  People who don't read who like to ask a mountain of questions about the book you are reading.  Really people.  Do. Not. Ask. me to give you a synopsis of the book I am reading because I won't do it.  My stock answer will always be "You should read it and find out". 

Maybe it seems like I am being harsh but here's the thing:

In know way can I do the author or the story they are telling justice by explaining it to you, their words on the pages tell the story and this is how it is meant to be read (I'll give people an exemption for listening to audio books something I have never done but an exemption nonetheless). There is no possible way I can articulate in words or emotion what the story is about. Believe me I've tried. I fail miserably every time.

I don't give book recommendations lightly because I think selecting a good book to read is very intimate and personal. A connection is made between book and reader once it is in their hands. When I do insist someone reads a book, it's because I truly think the story is worthwile and needs to be shared with others.

I just finished reading this book

I read it in about 3 hours.  I was travelling while I was reading it and someone in the airport stopped me and said "I just read this book - great read!"  I love when someone validates your choice of book. 

I still can't get this book out of my head.  It's how I see our 2 dogs. 

I insist you read it!

What's it about?

You should read it and find out.


  1. I didn't know about your love for Steve Martin! His 'late for school' song, banjo and all, is often our morning anthem on the way to preschool.

  2. I LOVE Steve Martin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love him!!!