A Novel Death?

The topic on the radio this morning was books, and what we had read as a child.

Like most little girls, I had copies of Black Beauty, Little Women, Heidi, What Katy Did and What Katy Did Next. From the mobile library, I took out a variety by E Nesbitt including The Railway Children, along with The Hobbit, Wind in the Willows, and one offering by Enid Blyton. My favourite though was Where the Rainbow Ends by Clifford Mills given to me by my Dad. I read it in a single sitting, but sadly have no idea what happened to it, or the others for that matter, when we moved in 1972.

The books I studied at school were forgettable. We read Cider with Rosie but I can’t remember a single thing apart from the title. In my senior years, we also read a few Shakespearean plays but I failed my literature ‘O’ level, writing all about Romeo and Juliet instead of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, having made the mistake of seeing both as plays at the local Pavilion.

When I first got married, I read five paperbacks in the week we were away on honeymoon. Poor bloke, he didn’t stand a chance as I curled up with horror stories by Stephen King, John Saul and James Herbert. I read few romances, probably because I became pretty cynical in those days.

In 1978, I bought a copy of Kate Bush singing Wuthering Heights, then watched the film with Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon to understand the song, then got the book from the library to understand the film. I read Dances with Wolves, The Alien series 1-3 and The Abyss, all of which transmitted to the Big Screen OK but lost a lot of the story in the process, UNLESS you have the Extended or Director’s Cut special edition film copies like I have.

These days, my bookshelf supports Sandra Brown, Erica Spindler, Erica James, David Baldacci, Matthew Reilly, Tess Gerritsen, Cathy Kelly and Lee Child’s ‘Jack Reacher’ 1-18. I think it was a mistake to cast Tom Cruise (5’9″) as Reacher (6’5″ and 220- 225 lbs). It was laughable to anyone familiar with the character, and judging by comments I’ve read, I’m not alone in my thoughts.

Our nearest library is some 6 miles away but only opens 5 days a week for a few hours. It has a variety of computers, but books are now in a mobile unit that travels from village to village, similar to the one in my childhood actually.

With the closure of many council libraries for whatever reason, the alternative seems to be E-Books. I have never had one, but according to WIKI: this is an electronic book (e-book, eBook, e-Book, ebook, digital book, or even e-edition) a book length publication in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, readable on computers or other electronic devices. Although sometimes defined as “an electronic version of a printed book”, many e-books exist without any printed equivalent. Commercially produced and sold, e-books are usually intended to be read on dedicated readers , however, almost any sophisticated electronic device that features a controllable viewing screen, such as computers, mobile phones and all smartphones can also be used to read e-books.

I have always had a problem reading data from a screen, and work wise, much preferred to work from a hard copy (once I’d sorted out the relevant report information for analysis, I’d print it off). Hubby also found it frustrating bouncing from screen to screen when repairing things and life was so much easier by having a variety of books open and marked at the necessary page. You can of course always hi-light or annotate a written text, something you can’t do to a screen.

I have heard that the expected life of an e-reader (or Kindle) is about two years. Apparently this isn’t necessarily the machine, but the batteries to run it. If I understand correctly, these originally weren’t designed to be replaced, and you would have to purchase another reader. Knowing my luck, they would expire just when I got to ‘a good bit’ or before I got to the end of my ‘book’.

I love browsing through second hand bookshops. The supermarkets may be OK on price as they bulk buy the latest titles, but finding a quiet corner with a comfy battered chair in an Olde Worlde Bookshoppe is my idea of bliss. Sadly, such bookshops are so few and far between now, and although larger outlets may have tables and seating areas, the atmosphere’s not the same.

E-books may be popular, cheap to produce and cheaper to purchase than a paperback, but if you have to pay out a couple of hundred pounds for the electronic wizardly to read them in the first place, then for me, that’s a lot of books I can read again and again, without the additional cost of batteries, fear of a virus crashing my computer, or paying out for a mobile phone contract. E-readers also don’t respond well to getting wet or being dropped and are useless as doorstops or table props.

No, give me a book any day.

About pensitivity101

I am a retired number cruncher with a vivid imagination and wacky sense of humour which extends to short stories and poetry. I love to cook and am a bit of a dog whisperer as I get on better with them than people sometimes! In November 2020, we lost our beloved Maggie who adopted us as a 7 week old pup in March 2005. We decided to have a photo put on canvas as we had for her predecessor Barney. We now have three pictures of our fur babies on the wall as we found a snapshot of Kizzy, my GSD when Hubby and I first met so had hers done too. On February 24th 2022 we were blessed to find Maya, a 13 week old GSD pup who has made her own place in our hearts. You can follow our training methods, photos and her growth in my blog posts. From 2014 to 2017 'Home' was a 41 foot narrow boat where we made strong friendships both on and off the water. We were close to nature enjoying swan and duck families for neighbours, and it was a fascinating chapter in our lives. We now reside in a small bungalow on the Lincolnshire coast where we have forged new friendships and interests.
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2 Responses to A Novel Death?

  1. Dutch Bennie says:

    Personally, I prefer to have a book that I can bend and flick through and stick a book mark in. My shelves seem to be full of Agatha Christie, Anne Cleeves and the odd book from someone else, but I honestly can’t imagine having all those books on a small tablet, especially since I love unwrapping a book every Christmas!

  2. captainwafflez says:

    I love holding a proper book in my hands too. Nothing beats that ‘new book smell’.

    But I do have a Kindle.. because there will come a time where only the most successful publications will actually be in print.

    There is something romantic about a book… And something deeply tragic about electric text.

    Cool post! 🙂

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