Reading for me is a tactile experience. You can’t curl up with a screen the way you can with a book or magazine. Scrolling through emails doesn’t give me the warm fuzzies the way poring over old letters does.
Books age well. They get thumbed, dog-eared, underlined, and sometimes defaced. They lose their covers (my pet book peeve). Letters fade and turn yellow, magazines get crumpled and tattooed with coffee rings. Kindles? Well, you can adjust the brightness and the font size, but screens are just screens – cold and inert.
The first few books I bought for my kids, I was torn over whether to scrawl their names on the inside – writing in books still feels a little like sacrilege. Now I love doing it. In a generation or two, their favourite childhood tales might end up on a second-hand bookshop shelf, in a place far removed from their current lives. The new owners might notice it, and wonder, even if for just a mili second, who Samuel and Noah Nicholson were.
Every time we move (which has been too often in the last decade) I do a major purge and declutter. My books and magazines are always spared (as are my letters and photos). I just can’t part with them, even the trashy ones that I know I’ll never look at again.
They also make the most fabulous decor items. How completely gorgeous is a stack of yellow National Geographic magazines piled high?
The point of this post – on a blog that is supposed to be about simplifying and de-accumulating? Books are the one thing I’ll never stop amassing. I just can’t make the switch to a kindle and my magazine fix can’t be online, it has to be the real, glossy thing.
Books, to me, enliven a home. And they can be passed on – again and again. What a gift in our single-use, high turn over world.