The book; more than the sum of its parts?

I can’t deny it; I love books. I love the grainy texture of the paper, the crisp new smell of a paperback fresh off the shelf. I love the weighty feel of a book in my hands, the variety of cover designs that tease my imagination. But all this is surface detail, like the gold foil wrapping on a dark chocolate truffle. At the end of the day, it is the words that transform me; deliver me straight into the consciousness of the author. It is a game of two halves, a meeting of minds, words nudging my brain to make connections and experience an alternative existence in my own inimitable fashion.

There has been a lot of debate lately about the ‘end of the book’, alluding to a paradigm shift in the world of publishing. But when we talk about the book being ‘dead’, we surely mean the book in its physical form and all the trappings that allure you to its content and add to the anticipation of the delight that lies within its pages.

We will always have books, because there will always be readers like me who – despite being a huge fan of e-books – will stand in awe of the library and book shop shelves, mouth watering, fingers itching, mind bursting with a world of possibilities. The book will live on for the same reason that a good bottle of claret should be decanted, left to breath, then poured into the perfect shaped wine glass before being savoured. The book is not dead; long live the book.

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Posted on September 6, 2011, in Books and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Stories are life, and it is through them that we transmit hope, learning, joy and a multitude of other things. I love books for where they take me and for how they challenge and stimulate me. I adore them as objects; yet, as I see my bookcase groan under the weight of satirists, magical realists, poets and absurdists, I have come to realise that ebooks will become a part of my future.

    I feel that I may yet become a clone of that veritable asshat from South Africa, Daniel Malan, introducing a form of apartheid – physical books for the literature I so love, and ebooks for the dirty, guilty things (work-related texts). But there are small victories to be savoured. At least once a week, I hide between the covers of the London Review of Books or the NY Review of Books. Slim and silky smooth paper.

    But I must live with the fact that I am unable to wash away the dirty stain of ebooks. I must forget what James Meek wrote of the ebook:

    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v33/n21/james-meek/short-cuts

    ‘mentor’

  2. Thank you, Woz, for your inspired comments and contribution to my blog.

  3. My pleasure FG.

    Write on, W

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