Decided to try a blog post a night.
I worry (ludicrously) that I will zoom so quickly through all the books available to my Kindle that there will be nothing left in the world that I haven’t read. Maybe my mother had a similar sensation when she was young… she said she read everything that came her way, in no particular order. (I was asking if there was any reason why she picked Pickwick Papers as her first Dickens read).
For the Kindle I downloaded two free books today: The Enchanted Castle by E Nesbit and Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster. I chose the first because I don’t think I’ve read it, and the second because I read it ages ago and enjoyed it.
I’m still slogging through Middlemarch. Still finding a lot to highlight, despite the heavy language. It’s interesting how she switches through different varieties of heaviness depending on the speaker.
We went to a neighbouring town today, and the Kindle came along in my trolley. I didn’t think I would get a chance to read it, but it was nice to know it was there. I was giving it a little polish just now with a microfibre cloth. They say you can’t get fond of ebooks the way you get fond of printed books, but I’m not sure I want to, any more… an e-reader is risky as it is; it becomes ‘all books’ to you, or at least ‘most books'; a kind of companion.
You begin to understand why some might try to cut themselves off from possessions in an effort to just ‘be’… to avoid negative emotions connected to desiring things or trying to keep what you have. Someone was saying in a Kindle discussion that you have to move on from your old books, even if they meant more to you than books you obtained more recently. He doesn’t think we should have our Wind in the Willows (or Narnia books or Rupert the Bear books or whatever) just sitting there because we’ve always had them and can’t imagine letting them go!
It did surprise me when I had a look inside some small Asterix paperbacks I’ve had since the 80s — I found those (despite my care of them) were going slightly yellow. Books (printed ones) get old. That’s how much time has passed since I was a student…. yellowing time!
But I wonder if it’s unreasonable to think we shouldn’t get attached to possessions… it’s part of who we are. You get used to things, especially the useful things that you handle every day. There are the objects that act as ‘landmarks’ in a sense…. “you are here… nowhere else.” What is unsettling is the sensation that things are lost as you go through life. Books come and go, as do other things…. people and animals come and go… homes and places change… some find that places they knew change out of all recognition, and they don’t want to go back because it will be just like any other place. And, right at the end, all that you are is lost as well, and seeps away into the cold and dark.
Perhaps books continue to hold a spark for us of people who have already gone, but we don’t need the old yellow copies in order to love and keep them.