In the Summer of 1995, I bought Dragons of Summer Flame , a huge tome of a hardback, dragged it up to the little treehouse my father had built for us in the massive magnolia tree in our front yard, and read.
I read every moment I could steal away until I had almost finished that book. Because I knew when that book was over, the characters that I’d come to know and love would be dead, and their stories will have finished. Two chapters from the end, I remember sitting up in that tree house and being overcome with emotion at the prospect of the end. It wasn’t just the deaths of the characters that I was mourning, it was mourning being finished with this book. I’m sure if I went back and read it now, I wouldn’t feel nearly as emotional. I’m pretty sure the writing isn’t all that great and the story isn’t all that good after all. But when I was younger, the Dragonlance books fed my soul in a way that nothing had before.
I held that giant red-canvas covered hardback in my hands, remembering it’s weight in my lap, and resolved myself to the inevitable end. I finished the last few chapters, and then took a few moments to let the emotions settle in. I still read Dragonlance books from time to time. I re-read the Chronicles trilogy and the Legends trilogy periodically.
The vivid memories of holding books and the emotions I felt while reading them are very strong. I can see myself as I read certain books for the first time, and the feel of the paper in my hands is a large part of the memory.
I’ve decided that while I do love the ease of having e-readers, I am just not an e-reader person. I’ve read a LOT of books over the last 2 years on my nook and on the apps on my phone, but after I finish a book that I loved, I wish I’d been holding a bound wad of paper in my hands. And then I feel the need to go buy the physical copy of the book, and so I’ve saved myself nothing in using an e-reader.
I understand that not all people have such a ridiculous attachment to books, but I just can’t let go of the physical part of the experience. Holding the book, the smell of old pages, seeing a fingerprint smudge on a page and wondering which time in the past did you leave that there. All of these things are strangely important to me, and thought I’ve tried very hard to move to reading on devices to save money and paper, I just can’t.