Nowadays, everything is being digitalised. Everything we used to do 10 years ago, we can now do from the comfort of our homes on our laptops, tablets, and Smartphones. It's a pretty revolutionary concept to think that we are only one click away from ordering and paying for everything we desire and everything we need; whether it be food, clothes, or books. Nowadays, we don't even need to pick up the phone to reserve a table at a restaurant - we can just do it all online. I even ordered a pizza yesterday from my iPad, without having to lift more than my index finger!
It shocks me a little sometimes to know that so many of us prefer to text message sporadically than to have a proper conversation with a real person. I think I read somewhere that, like, 70% of relationships begin online. Online dating is no longer for the oldies or the creeps (although I am sure they still lurk) - we're all doing it. I'm no angel myself, as I'm fairly sure I'd be a virgin if it weren't for Twitter and Instagram; but that doesn't shake away from the idea that people are so willing to connect digitally, and so reluctant to connect on a personal level. When was the last time you made a phone call just because you wanted to hear a person's voice, and not because you specifically needed something from them? I sometimes picture a world where hundreds of people all sit in one room, their heads declining into tiny, brightly lit screens, as they "talk" to another person across that room. Their eyes don't meet, their mouths stay pursed. Silence.
So today, as I spent a large portion of my afternoon wandering aimlessly around a book store, I pondered about how such things are mere novelty in comparison to reality. I used to own a Kindle, but I never managed to read more than half a book before getting bored, frustrated, and eventually giving up. All the while I would postulate about what was so special - what was so much better about this little e-book device. Apart from the fact that e-books are cheaper, and that I could read in bed without having to get up and turn my bedroom light off afterwards (which was only ever a few steps away, anyway), I couldn't find much solace in reading from my Kindle. Eventually, I sold it.
When I read from a book - a proper book, I mean - I feel much more absorbed by it. In my humble opinion, there is no better a sound than the one that is made by the turning of a page. Isn't it odd how much fatter a book gets over time, and several readings? It's as if you leave something inbetween the pages everytime you visit them. Words underlined, the top corners of pages folded over delicately. Everytime I re-visit an old book, my favourite chapters, exquisite lines, I am met with the memory of how I felt when I first read those words; in the same way that I am met with feelings when I catch a whiff of old, or familiar scents or sights. These are all the things that are preserved between the pages like pressed flowers that are both strange, and familiar. I often by several versions of the same story; paperback, hardback, feature film editions, just so I can feel as if I have a solid collection. If this makes me weird, or a hoarder, then it's a personal compromise I'm willing to meet.
These are things that a tablet or an e-reader can't offer you. You can't feel pixels. Read a book, for Christ sake. You'll learn a lot more than just from the words it displays, I promise.