As someone who ran out of things to read when she was a kid and went to the library and started at A, I figure I’ll throw my two cents into the discussion arena.
I love books. Love the feel, the smell, the weight , the comfort of them. There is nothing quite like curling up on a warm couch on a cold day, a fire crackling, the lighting just right as you open up a book and enter the world of someone’s imagination. Frankly, I don’t understand people who don’t read. They’re missing adventures in strange lands, on strange planets; mysteries with world famous sleuths and detectives; historic events seen through the eyes of characters who pull the reader into the pages and let them see what it was like to live in ancient Egypt or the Scottish Highlands or the jungles of Nombre de Dios.
I had thousands of books at one point and kept having shelves built to fit them. I’d clean them out every now and then and pass them along to a local old age home, but I kept buying more to fill the gaps I’d made lol. When we moved from Ajax 11 years ago the Stupid Ex Husband put his foot down and said I had to get rid of most of them, so it was agonizing to go through and sort out what to keep, what to give away. I had my hardcover collection, which was going with me for sure, and signed copies I’d collected over the years of going to conferences. I had my favorites which I’d bought several times because I kept loaning them out and never getting them back. That started to piss me off, so I stopped loaning altogether. I still haven’t replaced my last copy of Mila 18. *mutter*
When the Apocalypse happened (not so veiled reference to The Day I Threw The Stupid Cheating F**kwad Ass I Was Married To For Thirty Five Years Out of My House) I occupied myself by 1) throwing his crap out and 2) going through the house room by room to do a vicious spring cleaning (I even did the GARAGE, folks, a cluttered, anally retarded hoarder’s domain I rarely entered except to park my car and dash out) and 3) clearing out my office.
I confess I like a certain amount of clutter. It’s comforting to know I can walk by a sock one of the grandkids has flung onto a lampshade and not HAVE to pluck it off until it really gets irritating a few days later. Its comforting to know where everything is on my desk even though it might be buried under piles of paper. My desk is 12 feet long and at any given time, there might be 12 square inches of dark oak visible.
But I digress. I was cleaning. And whilst cleaning, I stood once again before the floor to ceiling, wall to wall bookcases and thought: I should maybe get rid of some of these. So once again, out came the boxes and bins. Bins for the keepers that could be stored in the basement now that all of Stupid’s record collection and Coca Cola collection and train collections were all gone. I had SPACE! But I also had to be prudent in case I turned into one of those hoarders on the TV show.
So, out went the books again with zealous efficiency. I kept my hardcovers because, well, you just don’t pay $35 for a book then give it away. And in truth I only buy two authors religiously in hardcover these days…Wilbur Smith and Michael Connelly. I used to buy Cussler and Ludlum, but really, how many times can you save the world from brilliant, cunning billionaire megalomaniacs? It gets exhausting, it truly does.
The big Purge was two years ago this June (the anniversary of the Apocalypse was yesterday, should anyone want to send Godiva chocolates or Edible Arrangements LOL) (Just kidding) (No I’m not *snort*) and since then my book buying has gone drastically downward. I’ve read the Follett cathedral books…terrific…discovered a few good crime writers and mystery writers but I must say, reading or writing romance hasn’t been too high on my list. But…getting back to the original two cent vent over books or ebooks…I’ve been watching the wave of e-readers sweep away all the pre-conceived notions of ebooks and indie publishing with as much fascination as the rest of the writing world. I’ve put up my backlist and watched books that have been collecting dust in obscurity find new life and, having been given an ereader by my family, I’ve taken the plunge myself. My first official purchase was the new Michael Connelly book, The Fifth Witness, and yes, I felt a clutch in my gut as I downloaded it, knowing the hardcover would not be joining the others on the bookcase…but ya know what? I got over it. I got over it as soon as I downloaded books two, five, and eight and realized I didn’t have to pack up any more boxes to make room for them. I even bought and downloaded my own damned books so that when/if I get the rights back, I don’t have to go through my files page by page to compare the original mss to the edited and published copy. Fifteen hundred books. It holds fifteen hundred books that I can carry in the palm of my hand, tuck in my purse, read by the pool or *gasp* with a flick of the switch change to night reading and read in bed or in the car without the need for daylight or lamplight. It’s a wondrous little gadget, and while the leather cover feels almost book-like in my hands, I know it’s not a book, and I know I’m not turning paper pages, but I can still curl up on a warm couch on a cold day, a fire crackling, and enter the world of someone’s imagination.