Mark My Place

I don’t know if I will ever come to terms with e-books. They seem so clinical, and how do you read in the bath? For real books I have a tendency to use whatever comes to hand as a bookmark – coasters, rulers, magazines – and have never been allowed to live down the time I used a pair of pliers (they were only a small pair!).

 Something else you can’t have with e-books is a second-hand book sale. The majority of my books have been acquired second-hand, and half the fun is in the finding.

 I have a copy of The Song Celestial, translated from the Sanskrit by Sir Edwin Arnold. There is a long handwritten note in the front, encouraging someone – Gys, I think – to ‘search this patiently and diligently’. The little book does not look well used, so one wonders if the recipient ever did. The date is 1945, along with a place-name which is infuriatingly difficult to read.

 A ‘teach yourself’ book on Air Navigation contained a letter from the Air Directorate. Dated 1949, it was addressed to a Mr. Hatton, confirming his acceptance for pupil pilot training.

 A copy of Handel’s Messiah (gilt-edged! – show me the e-book that can compete) had a programme for a performance in 1963, and one of the two names written on the flyleaf was listed as the principal soprano.

 Old books can be sad, when they were obviously once important to someone, but have been ‘got rid of’. It is demoralising to think that my own books will no doubt be in this position one day. I have a large collection of music books, but it seems fewer and fewer people are bothering to learn to play an instrument. My husband comes from a large family, and I have around 15 nieces and nephews, and not a musician among them.


About notewords

Guitarist, Music teacher, Writer
This entry was posted in Books, Humour, Life, music, Reading and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Mark My Place

  1. You’ve expressed all the great things about the printed document so beautifully. My agreement is with you (2500 books and counting here) but I do keep trying out ebooks with Kindle for pc. Feels both dead and sterile. I might do better with a hand held and have tried out a friend’s but there’s no smell of old book, no texture to the page, no way I can take a pencil to the truly horrible areas of proof reading such as missing or dup words (I know we all ‘sin’ in this dept, but we don’t all ask for money for it). The only thing going for the ebook is its weight. Possibly emagazines on a bigger screen and fully illustrated would do more for me – I already read one craft publication online and it is much easier to get to the edition you’re looking for than going thro a pile of glossy, sliddy mags. But, for me and for the moment, not books.

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