Physical books matter to me.

I’m pleased that people cherish paper books.  Many don’t know how to explain.  I’ve given it a lot of thought and dig deeper than “I like the feel”!  First, re-wire the idea that emptying our rooms of possesions is everyone’s goal.  What if literature is your decorating theme?  What if you have a place for your collection?  Other than trading unneeded copies;  mine aren’t an obstruction to “get rid of”.

They bring more than their subject.  Think of ‘e-books’ as a poster.  Posters show what art looks like.  But some appreciate the dynamics, the world, of original paintings:  valuable, sentimental.  There’s a broader purpose than viewing the image.  The reason ‘kindles’ are meaningless to some people;  will never feel like we “HAVE the book”, is because it isn’t solely about the text within.

Maze In The Heart

Finding what I wished for is a quest!  Scoring low-priced, high quality copies, is exhilarating.  Some quests take years.  I celebrate having them in my hand:  “The Maze In The Heart Of The Castle” by Dorothy Gilman and even more so, her autobiography “A New Kind Of Country”.  You’re more excited about a meal if you went to the work of growing the fruit and vegetables.

Next, is childlike excitement to make room for them!  I love carrying a pile of acquisitions into my library and scooching things around until they fit where they should go.  Some might not be read for a decade.  I swear, sorting is the best part.  I stand back and gaze at what I collected, in a way admiring my life’s work.  I feel satisfaction and peace.  I derive enjoyment well ahead of the act of reading.  And maybe wonderful vibes have now been passed along to my home.

Eden Gilman Whitney

Why do I treasure the tangible?  “Psychometry” explains the energy we leave on objects.  A digital file is a world away from a letter your Great-Grandmother touched.  Museums are valued because artifacts, like us, are affected by time.  Their survival awes us.  By the presence of an object older than me, I touch a past era.  If my book is new, then I am the beginning of its lifetime.  We are the ones with a shelf life.  It’s comforting that our touch impacts what we love and use.

A separate explanation is that we do so much with computers;  I like some pastimes independent of them.  I don’t want to involve software in everything I do.  All eggs ought not rely on the same basket.  When photography turned digital, after music, movie-watching, and Christmas ‘cards’ (yuck);  I wondered how many non-electrical hobbies we had left.

 New Kind Country

Lastly, tangible items contain an opportunity for tangible surprises!  Thrice in a used book, I’ve discovered the author’s autograph.  Once there was a viable tomato seed.  In an eerie moment at night, a child’s school photograph fell out of an old mystery.  These encounters aren’t possible with a ‘kindle’.  It makes no sense to urge everyone:  “Try it”.  So, how is this reasoning compared to “I prefer to turn pages”?  ;)  I pray books are always in print  because the legacies of personal mementoes, the aging of time, our energy, and the physical…  all matter.


This and my other articles were a spotlight on the Canadian reading website.

* I created my own challenges, débuting February 2014.  See them at this link!  :)


About RIEDEL Fascination

I cherish animals, plants, reading, music and free spirituality. I welcome you for articles, literary activities, and interaction! Surrounding ourselves with good people is a delight. I occasionally review at The Book Depository.
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6 Responses to Physical books matter to me.

  1. Cath says:

    I’m that weird phenomenon – a real books person who also owns a Kindle *and* a Nook. I love my eReaders but still have a preferance for real books, especially when it comes to classic fiction or my favourite non-fiction reads, travel writing. They’re just not the same on an eReader, plus you don’t get those gorgeous arty covers on the classics that I love so much. No, I love the bookshelves of real books that I have everywhere around the house and it would grieve me considerably if I couldn’t own the 800 – 1000 books I have. *And* buy more! LOL.

    • I’m really pleased to have your observations of what books add to your home. Do my other explanations resonate with you? The deep ones about caring for something, affected by time and environment as we are. The fun reasons about collecting. The practical one about not having 100% of our activities on a computer.

  2. fredamans says:

    I appreciate your choice.
    I prefer hard copies as well, but do have a Kindle and use it a lot. Sometimes it’s easier to get a kindle copy, so then I do, but at all costs if I can acquire a hard copy, I will. My library won’t go with kindle copies. :-)

    • Thank you Freda. :) The crux is if it were about reading the information, e-books all fit in one hand. There’s so much to the objects I savour, without reading a word. Caring for them is touchy, which is why it’s a reward that books outlive us. Touching one older than me connects me with an epoch I couldn’t have seen personally. It’s a whole psychological deal. I would happily join you in Ontario for an afternoon of used store hopping!

  3. I liked how you tied your books in as your collection. Just like any other collection, they connect us to those who had them before us or those who will enjoy them after us. To me there is nothing better than being surrounded by books – whether in my own home, my classroom, bookstore, or library! I love antiques, vintage, and collecting and I appreciate how you reminded us that books are part of that world! I do own a kindle and use it for convenience and I get books on audible, so I can knit or tidy up the house while “reading”, but I will always relish the feel, smell, and joy of a book in my hands. I try to pass this love on to my students by keeping a great personal classroom library and by giving them books at the end of the year from that library to keep.

    I’m sorry to go on and on…..but one last thing…… for my daughter’s baby shower last summer, we asked for books instead of a card. My daughter found the idea and poem about it on Pintrest. Each invitation contained the poem… was a huge success. Everyone loved the idea and the baby received her first 25 books. Believe it or not, there were only 2 duplicates!

    Here’s the poem:
    One small request that won’t be too hard,
    Please bring a book instead of a card.
    Whether Cat in the Hat or Winnie the Pooh,
    You can sign the book with a note from you.
    Their baby will become very smart indeed,
    Love books, and learn how to read!

    • Susan, a nice big response is my dearest hope when I share anything! This is a compliment to me and the loveliest surprise, answering one of my articles. Thank you! I’ve also learned about you: that you are a Mom and a teacher of some kind. What a perfect person to have as a mentor. And yes indeed, audio must be a great deal of fun and allow you to move as you let the story be told to you. If it could be the author’s own voice, that would be the ultimate. Thank you for echoing my love of books and keepsakes.

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