There’s nothing like a book in hand

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By Jonna Spelbring Priester

The story on NPR Tuesday morning left me shaking my head.

At the heart of the story was the question of whether or not print, specifically in this case the printed book, is dead, and how that will impact book stores large and small, chain or independent.

Call me a luddite if you wish, but I refuse to believe that the physical book will ever really die.

Raised in a household of readers, I grew up surrounded by books. A home is not a home for me until the bookshelves are up and laden with books.

On a cold, blustery day, I enjoy little more than curling up in a favorite chair with a warm blanket, a warm cat for the lap and a book in hand (a fireplace would be nice).

With particularly good books I can, and have, read for hours on end, sometimes consuming particularly good books in just a couple days.

When we lost power due to the ice storm in 2009, Derek and I curled up on our couch, covered with those warm blankets and each of us with a warm cat in lap, and books in hand — reading by candlelight once darkness came.

When camping or backpacking, I always have a book handy for reading.

There’s something rhythmic, almost hypnotic in actually turning the pages of a book. I love the feel of a page’s texture under my fingertips, and the sound of the turning page (or the closing of the book). I even love the smell of a room full of books, like libraries and bookstores.

And few purchases give me more pleasure than buying a book. Much like I would hardly buy a pair of shoes without trying them on first, rarely do I buy a book without flipping through its pages first.

I take particular delight in the older books I have, and my imagination runs wild when I think about who held and read and owned that book before me.
Books, to me, have personalities and histories of their own. Each book has its own feel, its own ‘sound.’

Can the Kindle or the Nook give me that? Probably not. They may be very convenient, but they are impersonal. And as a society, we have given up far too much in the name of convenience.

I refuse to give up my books. Egon Spangler was wrong: print is not dead.