I am not a fast reader by any means. I am actually one of the slowest readers I know. I don't read avidly and, in fact, have trouble committing to books beyond 300 pages as my attention starts to wane around page 150. I haven't read many classics. I haven't heard of many authors. In short, I am not "well read."
But I have a love affair with books. I always prefer paperback to hardback because you can break the spine and because the cover shows wear. I prefer books that fit in my jacket pocket. I love the smell of new books and the smell of old ones. You can tell how much I've loved a book by how water damaged it is. And by the dog-eared pages. I love pages. My most recent book love (Gilead) was dog-eared on almost every page and, looking at it through weepy eyes, I felt so satisfied remembering how I had loved it. I love words. I love reading quotes I've loved to people I love. I love the way words look on a page. I love the weight of books. I love the way they look in homes and on shelves. I love that when people come to my house they can look at the books on my shelves and know something about me.
I was on the bus this morning and saw so many people with e-readers. I understand they are lighter and easier to hold and read while standing up on an insanely full bus. I understand that it is cheaper to buy books on an e-reader.
But I am a tactile person. I want to sit close and hug and touch everything and everyone I love (except EQ, for whom I show love by only giving a fist bump (except for the Bachelorettes Party, about which I am still sorry)). I want to be able to spill water on my books and mark the pages, and I want them worn and broken and present. Sometimes I think about the future of the publishing industry and about the consolidation of all things human, and I feel a little lost.
I want books on my shelves. I want clutter. I want broken spines and water stains and dogeared pages and physical memories. And I hope that, if/when I have children, they will have ready access to those things as well.