That Pile of Books Beside my Bed

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That pile of books that sits beside my bed is becoming ridiculous. It’s a joke. It’s an embarrassment. My husband laughs at me as he holds his battered old IPhone in his palm, taunting me with the small instrument with which he reads his books.

But I love that pile of books. Every night it gives me a feeling of delicious anticipation, of reading delights to come. Would a list of books on an e-reader give me quite that pleasure?

You see, I have just inherited an e-reader and it sits warily, watching me from the top of a chest of drawers in my bedroom. Every now and then I look at it, even download a book, and then I can’t quite bring myself to use it. So now, I not only have the actual pile of books that never gets any smaller, I also have a new, virtual pile of books, waiting for my attention, clamouring for me to take notice.

But the truth is that the pleasure of rifling through one of Bath’s truly delightful independent bookstores (Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights or Toppings of Bath) completely outstrips the sometimes absorbing (I will admit that), but cold and emotionless experience of hacking through an e-book website. I will probably come out of the bookshop poorer in the pocket but, most definitely, more satisfied and more excited about my new prospective reads.

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So I’ve waded into the book vs e-reader debate. In my opinion books are gorgeous treasures to be savoured; e-books aren’t. Books are tactile and sensory; e-books aren’t. I love my bookshelves and looking at my books. Virtual bookshelves hold no love in my eyes. But, books are heavy and, when travelling, are cumbersome and easily damaged. Surely this is when my e-reader will come in to use? This’ll be the time when I’ll find out the true experience of digital reading? And crunch time is coming. I am about to go abroad for a couple of weeks. Do I take the plunge and only take my e-reader? Or shall I take a real book (or two) as well, just in case..?

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