Posted by: ktzefr | March 3, 2011

10 things I like about “real” books…

Several of my friends have become quite ecstatic about their Kindles and Nooks, but I’m still holding onto paper.  Why?  I like to…

1)  Look at books lined up on the shelves with all the pretty colors and covers to bring back memories, stimulate new ideas, and just keep me company.

2)  Dogear the pages.  It’s rewarding to pick up a book a few weeks, months, years later and turn right to the good stuff.

3)  Underline.  Doodle.  Write notes in the margins.  Draw stars and exclamation points.

I still have some of my old college texts (yep, I’m one those people).  On a recent “flip-through” I discovered a note in the margin of my sophomore lit book to my friend Brenda who sat beside me in class.  This was my first “reconnect” with her in more than twenty-five years.  A falling-apart book of poems that belonged to my dad (copyright 1908) has a note — written in fountain pen on the contents page — that says the following:  “This is a wicked old book.  If you don’t believe it, read it.”  Stuff like this is both worthless and priceless.

4)  Enjoy the scent.  Which smells better — a book or an “electronic device”?  I love the scent of new books — and old books.  And the feel and lightness of paper.

5)  Connect.  To touch a book, especially in a library, that many people have touched.  Who were they?  What kind of lives did they lead?  Did they “picture” the characters the same way I did?

When I was in elementary school and checked out books from the library I was always anxious to look at the little lined card in the back pocket to see who else had read the book.   I liked the idea of reading the same story — and, indeed, the same book — that others had held and read.

6)  Add sticky tabs to pages (when I don’t want to dogear).  Pink and purple, blue and green.  The books in my cases are full of sticky tabs to mark the pages with underlines or notes or quotes.  If a book on my shelf doesn’t have at least a couple of colored tabs, it means one of two things: I didn’t find anything worth marking or there are so many underlines the sticky tabs would have filled the pages.  I know which is which.

7)  Loan or donate.  You can give a book to a friend or donate to a cause.  Most people might not want to loan their computer or e-reader, and donated machines have usually seen their better days by the time they are…dumped.  But books can be passed around until they fall apart.

8)  Collect all sorts of fun bookmarks.  Flowers and famous people, apes and butterflies, black cats and brown mice.  Paper and yarn, wood and metal, ribbons and strings.  I’ve also used old greeting cards, store receipts, and even Kleenex or toilet paper (when necessary) to mark pages.

9)  See and hold the 200 or 400 or 800 pages of a favorite tome and feel good about devouring all those ounces.

10) Turn the pages.  I don’t mind the clicking of keyboard keys or the glow of a mini screen, but picture this: a dark, quiet night in a lamp-lit room with only the sound of a page being turned.  Ahhh….the bliss of a “real” book.



  1. Yes, yes, yes! I totally agree, Great post, Katie!

    • Thanks, Beth!

  2. I do want a Kindle for travel, but I LOVE holding a book, and, yes. the smell does make me smile!

    • A Kindle for travel is not a bad idea. I think of this sometimes when I’m carrying a backpack that weighs a ton because of the books!

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