Jilara (jilara) wrote,

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Volumes of Wonder and Delight

I've rarely met a book I didn't like. Well, not a physical one, anyway. You can keep your e-books, as they detract so much from the overall reading experience that I'd rather not read them at all.

That's just it, even an awful book is redeemed by the feel of paper under one's fingers, the wonder of ink on the page. I think a book of utter gibberish can be redeemed by 18th century paper and leather bindings. (Some might say that's what my 1560 copy of Chaucer is, being printed in High Gothick type, with all the intriguing spellings of the era. It begs to be read out loud, though, tracing one's finger along the black lines of text.)

I think part of the appeal is also that it's the amount of thoughts and knowledge set down therein. I'm not sure if I can say the same for the net, which has traded quality of information for quantity. Being physically printed does give a certain legitimacy, even if it's an awful 1950's romance paperback--which has a certain charm of its own.

I only hope future generations are like Captain Picard, holding ancient leather-bound volumes in their hands. Yes, I could read a modern reprint of some classic work, but it's just not the same sense... And then there are the cookbooks. Cookbooks with wonderful gravy splatters on the pages, or a thumb-groove worn through the first 60 pages (all of the meat dishes), speaking of a previous owner's preferences. I like my cookbooks with character, rather than pristine unread volumes. They speak to you with more than words on the page.

Interestingly, most people think that these eld books should be worth tons of money. They're not. As a matter of fact, I've got a lot of books that are a century or more old that are worth less than $10, sometimes a LOT less. If I were needing to sell books for money, the first to go would be my expensive modern gardening books with their big, glossy pictures. They hold their value well, often worth $20 and up in resale. I'll be keeping my $3 copy of Prisoner of Zenda, thank you. Likewise my $15 1902 "White House Cookbook." (They must have printed a zillion of these things, as I've seen a huge number of copies, never selling for more than $40, and that a rip-off price to folks who know no better.)

To me, the ultimate version of heaven would be a vast library containing every book ever printed. .. And of course, I would have eternity to page through them.

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