Saturday, 11 March 2017


I've nearly done it again, haven't I?  Tomorrow it will be a week since I last dipped my toe in the blogwater.  As mt good friend Skip commented, life has a habit of getting in the way.

I have, for as much of my life as I can remember, enjoyed reading.  Some people might look down their noses at my choice of reading matter as none of it is serious, factual staff. I say 'none' when I should, really, say 'very little' as I have been known to take in a bit of history at times.  But biography, for the most part (especially autobiography), leaves me cold.  I might glance at the occasional travel book, but my first love remains fiction.  Even when a pre-teenager, I was a regular visitor at the public library children's section.  Jennings and Biggles were great favourites, along with the Swallows and Amazons books.

Despite my love of books, I have never been one for buying a lot of them.  It was a little different when a standard paperback cost just a shilling, with a book containing more pages costing as much as one and sixpence!  That was a bit rich for my teenage pocket.  I still own remarkably few books, mainly titles that I am happy to read again.  And again.  And again.  There are people who have managed to buy books for decades - and still have every one on shelves that appear in every room in the house.  My attitude has been that borrowing the books I want from the library (at no cost - after all I am careful with my money!) saves me from buying books I think I might like but which I put aside after only a couple of chapters.

Much as I like the feel of a book in my hands - and the smell of a brand new book, although this doesn't comer with library books - there are downsides to my practice.  Nowadays libraries seem much better at weeding out the more battered volumes that I used to come across from time to time, but the books are frequently "well loved" with turned down corners and the (very) occasional comment pencilled in the margin.  But more to the point, there are books written in series.  Not just trilogies, but (for example) Susan Hill's Serailler books and others where the characters are developed little by little throughout the series, even though each book is whole and entire to itself. By starting with, for instance, the fourth book in the series, the reader misses all the nuances of the back story even though the vital parts are covered by the author.

That is a problem I have recently eradicated.  I bought a Kindle.  I do miss the feel of the book in my hands - occasionally - and I do have to pay for my books - for the most part, although many classics can be downloaded free - but the Kindle version is generally much cheaper than even a paperback.  And I don't have the storage problem either.  What it does mean is that I can read a series in the correct order.  I'm currently going through Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe series and thoroughly enjoying doing so IN ORDER!

Yes, I'm a convert.


joeh said...

Welcome to the future.

Suldog said...

Well, more power to you. I suspect more people read my columns on the 'net than buy the actual newspaper they appear in, so I won't complain about electronic delivery. I do prefer paper myself, though.

Sarah said...

I love Bernard Cornwell and I love books. I have old favourites that I happily pick up and start reading sometimes half way through, it doesn't matter because I know them so well. I'd like to own more books but they are so expensive. I buy many at charity shops and, it they don't hold my attention I just donate them back again.