What a sad place, it would be..

if a home is without books..

I caught a bit of ‘We, The people’ yesterday, where they were discussing books, and how Kindle and iPads might result in books being non-existent in a few years time. Have to watch the whole programme today, if I get a chance. The first thing that sprang to my mind is how sad a home would look without books?

I have never lived in a house without books.I always have books lying around. My longest standing dream has been to have a library of my own. Walls full of books, books that have been read with love, re-read with passion, and maintained for years.. Yellowed pages, but still much-loved. As much as I understand that electronic devices are easy to read, and feel quite the same, the mad romantic in me refuses to see reason. To me, reading the book, turning pages, holding a physical book, is all part of the reading experience.

My oldest memories have books associated with them. I still remember my first ‘own’ book. And the joy when I discovered my grandfather’s collection! At first it was a whole load of Reader’s Digests from the 1950’s! I used to devour them when I went over for holidays. Nothing gave me more happiness than curling up with a book. Then it was his and his brother(my grand uncle’s) huge collection of P. G. Wodehouse books. They were old, much thumbed through, but absolutely precious to me! The fact that they gave me their books to read was an added honour.

In comparison, reading on a Kindle feels so ‘lifeless’ or bland… Or may be it is just me.

And then there are the libraries. I still remember my first library in primary school, and the massive library my school had in secondary school. It was one the best libraries, I have been to. And we had the best librarian. Ok, I am biased πŸ™‚ But seriously, I can’t tell you how many happy hours I spent there. Which is probably why I love libraries. Everything about them. Rows of books, waiting to be browsed through. Taking my time in selecting books, reading the back cover, sometimes picking up a book which ‘looks good’.. I know, we could do all that in an online bookstore or an online library, but for some reason it still does not feel like the real thing to me.

Then again, in a few years time, I might be raving about the versatility of an online library πŸ™‚ The one thing I am sure is, that the one thing worse that having a home without (physical)books is a home without any books. The one thing I hope to bequeath to my daughter is the love of reading. The absolute joy of picking up a book, and getting absorbed in it. Forgetting hours together, oblivious to everything else in the world, and having the best time of your life! One of the reasons I love reading as opposed to watching a movie, is the our joy of imagining things your way. My imagination used to run amok. I had these really fancy ideas of what sardines were, after reading countless Enid Blyton books, only to be brought down to earth by my grandfather, when he showed me what they actually were πŸ™‚ Or imagining that the breakfast my mum set before me was actually something out of my books. I hate watching movie adaptations of books, to find that they have picturized it all wrong! That was so not the way they looked(or behaved) in my mind! Outrageous πŸ™‚ Which is why, I guess, I still prefer to read, and imagine the characters, my way, rather than Β watch a movie and watch them spoil it for me πŸ™‚

When I was in school, the day when we get out new books for the year, was a magical day. I could not wait to get my hands on my English Literature and Language books. The Literature books would have loads of short stories, and the language books, excerpts from literary novels. I loved reading them, again and again. Until the teacher taught them – that made me stop reading them πŸ™‚ So the last story in the book, I would know, every word, and every sentence – I would have read it so many times by then πŸ™‚ And during my ICSE, the last story was ‘Remember the Roses’ – which was absolutely beautiful! I think I might still remember sentences from it .

I want daughter to have it all. I want her to love books, to love reading, to want to grab Β a book and lose herself in it, To let her imagination fly, to go where it takes her. Now that she is reading, I can’t tell how happy it makes me. I can’t wait for her to read all the books that made my childhood as wonderful. I can’t wait to see her excitement when she gets hold of a book she has been waiting for! I can’t wait for the days when she recommends books that I should read.

Books are far more than information, they are far more than ‘getting to know things’, they are for me, an experience, that I carry with me all my life. They also ensure that I am seldom bored. I have my entertainment with me. I remember a discussion on BBC on how, they were worried that the number of parents reading to children at an early age is reducing, and the number of children who do not get a bedtime story is increasing. I understand why it bothers people. It might not be a huge issue for some, but for people like me, it feels sad. The bedtime story that we read together, is a precious part of her childhood. And there is nothing I would do to change it.

A life without books would be so different, wouldn’t it? Can you imagine a life without books – electronic or physical?


42 thoughts on “What a sad place, it would be..

  1. First time here..

    You are absolutely right. The pleasure we get in the physical book does not match with the kindle. My hubby many times has asked me to buy a kindle, but I always told him no, because the feel of the physical book is totally different.

  2. YEah i remember too the first day in school when we sat in our classroom and new books were given..

    you too πŸ™‚ We used to get them before school started, so I would get some time to read through the books πŸ™‚

    I am also a bit passionate about books , I dont get time to read but i have bought so many my loft here is full of books there would be hundreds in there … I wish i get time to read and your article given em a idea actually to buy some wooden planks and stick them to the wall and put the books on them πŸ™‚

    That is an idea – a decor idea πŸ™‚

    if not much then at least people who visit can be impressed he hehehe πŸ™‚
    LOL! Yeah, am sure πŸ™‚

    • @Bikram – Even I used to worry about buying books and not reading it until one of my friends told me,”think of it as an investment for your retired life”

      • he hehe that too is a good idea .. yeah i guess start to think of retirment age but the way UK govt is working i think i iwll have to work till 70 … loads of years to got yet πŸ™‚

    • agree to what you’ve put across here about having books around and reading them on gadgets !!

      I am sure you and I might be using them in a few years time – but the charm of a real book, I think will stay for me.

      I have never read a book on screen and would never want to do that ever πŸ™‚

      Never say never πŸ™‚

      Though reading books on screens does save a lot of paper but then I think there are many other ways in which we can save paper..why touch books for that,right? πŸ™‚

      I agree. And I also feel that it might become the reality in the years to come. I have no issue with that. I think I might still end up buying hardbacks of books that I really enjoy, while using the electronic reader for convenience.. I don’t think I can not have books around though πŸ™‚

      Oh and same pinch on going through grand pa’s Reader’s Digest collection…ditto Smithu..to add to that..we all cousins used to collect at grand pa’s house every summer and it was only me who could get an access to his library and could borrow books to take back home πŸ™‚ Gave me a special high πŸ˜‰

      Same pinch!!! We all have had quite a similar childhood, haven’t we?

      Books are the best..any time any where companion and I would never imagine departing from them..I’m so finicky about my collection that I refuse bluntly to lend any of it to even my close friends..I can’t stand people not returning books or returning them in bad condition !

      I so agree! I hate it, hate it when people do that! I am quite selective in who I lend books to, as well.

      • what an expression here books that have been read with love, re-read with passion, and maintained for years.. Yellowed pages, but still much-loved.

        it echoes my thoughts πŸ™‚

  3. Gosh, you are SO MUCH like me! I could relate to each and every word of this post. I was exactly like that – I used to read all the chapters of my English textbook before school/college even began, used to be in libraries much longer than I was at home, prefer reading over watching movies or TV, and just cannot imagine a life or a home without books. We don’t have kids yet, but I do hope to pass on my books to my kids, when we do have them. I would be real sad if my kids wouldn’t take to reading the way I did.

    I don’t feel about e-books the way I do about physical books. They’re just not the same. Like you, I love the romantic charm that physical books and libraries have, and just cannot feel the same way about e-books.

    Still, I’ve been thinking about checking out a Kindle for some time now. Just for the convenience when I’m travelling and all that.

  4. My sentiments exactly. Cannot imagine a home without books. I have it everywhere πŸ™‚

    In school, library books used to rationed – one book a month. I used to offer to cover all the books to get an extra book once in a while.

    Remember reading somewhere that kids grow up loving books if they have lots of it around them even more than if they are read out to.

  5. Smitha your post seemed like my own.. commenting will make up a whole post :-). I too have a thing for real, in my hand books. No kindle for me. I too ‘inherited’ copies of Readers Digests. I too imagined food from Enid Blyton books – it was ‘lemonade’ for me that the Famous Five kept drinking all the time. I too loved my Literature books and would read them up before they were taught in class. I remember beautiful excerpts from ‘To Sir With Love’. I too loved my Librarian thought she was quite a dragon and would take us to task all the time.
    Okay time to stop. Told U I could go on and on.. your fault entirely for writing a super post. :-). Keep them coming.

  6. How true! I can’t remember ever being without books either!
    And the hardest part about packing was deciding which books to give away and which to send back home!

    Same pinch on the library dream!! My sis and I used to always discussing opening a library upstairs in Mysore and the sole purpose was that we would have enough books to read!! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  7. There are many people like you (and me and many who have commented here) for whom the physical aspect of the book is so important. And while I do own a Kindle and enjoy the space saving it offers me, I haven’t stopped buying “real” books. I love having them around me. And I suspect that most book lovers will also do that.
    I refuse to listen to the panic-mongers about there being no more physical books soon!

  8. In my house, all of them, my father, mother, maamas even grandmother are/were book readers. We are all used to seeing them reading and so before we learnt to ‘read’, we had started holding books, pretending to be ‘reading’! My grand father had a printing press and the books were sold in our own shop and my mamas were crazy about Perry Mason, Digest etc., so they had subscribed for those books for many years…I am talking about the 1940’s and 50’s!

    Let me stop my ‘post-like’ comment here! I love books like you do, Smitha, though my reading has slowed down now, I can very well relate to you!

    Nice reading this post of yours!

    • U know, just today mrng I was telling Su I want one day with abs. nothing to do, nowhere to go, no phone calls, just me and my book in hand! All my reading of late has been late in the night – I am found with a book beyond 12!! I am not able to find time during the day, but I just can’t go to bed without reading atleast a few pages everyday! I don’t think the e-versions can ever bring that feeling of feeling those pages in ur hands and running your eyes over the lines! Amazing it is!

  9. This post says it all about my love for books…. πŸ™‚
    So far I have never read an e-book and have n plans to read one any sooner… Feeling the paper is important for me to imagine everything in my head…. πŸ™‚

  10. It’s not just you Smith…I dread a world without books! I refuse to get sucked into kindle or any other e-reader…I’ve tried it and it’s so not the same. The smell is missing…the turning the pages, the rustle of the pages…

    And I hope to be able to pass on my Enid Blytons to my child some day…I intend to read to my kid from the day s/he is born…(no pressure on the little thing in the future…) πŸ˜›

    But yeah…a world without books would be a sad, sad place… 😐

  11. The physical act of holding a book is far more important than any information it holds…can’t imagine a world without them, and don’t want to.

    Welcome here kloppenmum. I agree! Absolutely!

  12. The length of the post asserts ur love for books… πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚ But books are the best companions for life…I cant imagine a place without books…
    And the best part is the smell of fresh books and that of old ones too….Oh my, I love them.

  13. Not at all, just cant think of a home without books. And somehow I still cant come to terms with the e-book concept. I’m still much in love with the physical touch and feel of my paper books. I just love those homes which have huge shelves adorned with books…it just gives a completely different impression about the person who owns them, nahi..my impression of the person shoots right up when I see such libraries in houses. It wont be wrong to say that I feel in awe of them :).

    • Same here Deeps!! I just love it when I see houses with books! I love your bookcase! I remember drooling over it in that pic with Namnam and the princess cake πŸ™‚

      I am so in awe of you for that book case full of books πŸ™‚

  14. Perfect timing.. i am thinking abt buying a kindle and ur post has for sure detained the process.. i too love to read from books only but here in Kuwait i am out of options.. there r libraries but either they r mostly arabic or they r not affordable enough for me.. and thus it has been some 3 years since i experienced the pleasures of reading.. only recently i thought abt kindle.. btw ur post and ur thoughts are so like mine. being new to blogging i usually dont comment when i am visitng first time.. but in ur case i felt so close to ur post.. this one and the most recent one.. i am already in luv with ur blog..

  15. Smitha, sometimes when I read your blog I feel as if you have taken the words right out of my head. It’s my dream to have a room full of books-not all walls just three of them. I feel so sad for the kids who’ll not know the thrill of holding a hard-bound volume, or the fragrance of thumbed down books read and re-read many times over. Just like the post offices of today-our libraries will be redundant.

  16. I dont know I have considered Kindle again and again and something stops me I love paper too much but I guess I will eventually move to kindle its good for the environment as well as the space at home and its all abt reading

  17. totally agree with u!! I just cant read from a screen. I have to read so many technical papers for my thesis..I took print even though it was costly cuz unless I have it in my hands I cant understand πŸ˜€ my colleagues thought I was mad.

  18. Pingback: We’re jumping on the bandwagon as well.. Post 27 « Any Excuse to Write…

  19. That was the loveliest post ever, Smitha. I cannot imagine a house without books either. Books have a charm to them. They take us back in time. They define our thoughts and our ideas. Oh, I love books. ANd like you said so perfectly – ‘ Nothing gave me more happiness than curling up with a book.’

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