Do You Really Need Another One?

I did try e-books, thanks to, as is the case of so much that is positive in my life, the urging and digital savviness of my beautiful writerly daughter. And now that we know, despite that format, real print and paper books will continue to be published, contrary to dire predictions of their demise. I have nothing against them; in fact I enjoyed flipping the pages of them on my phone but, for whatever reason, I didn’t get hooked. I reverted to my old-school ways. As with one’s mobile, a book is easily transportable. So too is a newspaper. My daughter happily exists in both worlds, her NoHo home filled to the brim with tomes, many of which she passes on to me. She has an acute sense of what her old man enjoys. Our treasured Tessa is a bookaholic and I am so chuffed to be able to buy books for her and her dear cousin Olivia up in Bridport. My lovely Leigh; my mother, the amazing Nan as well as my siblings and son are also great readers. I remember, from an early age, accompanying Nan to a little private lending library at the bottom end of Wilson Street in Burnie. I seem to recall Georgette Heyer was a favourite. There were also my Dad’s Zane Greys around the house. My early world was filled with Enid Blyton, ‘Look and Learn’ magazine and Arthur Mee’s Children’s Encyclopaedia. In my school years I was a constant borrower at the old Cattley Street public library, long gone. Fiction occupied the ground floor, Dewey assembled non-fiction up the stairs and that was where I largely hung out. In my teaching career I had responsibility for school libraries.

So my love of books had an early grounding and has continued down through the decades. Along with other out-of-fashion obsessions such as music on CD (rather than from the ether), stamps (again, thank you Nan) and photographic images produced in tangible form (rather than floating in a cloud), buying books is a constant in my world. I can’t stop, even if my man cave by the river is clogged with unread ones. But, unlike Daniel Broadstock, I don’t blame my city’s excellent bookshops. I accuse the weekend newspapers for encouraging my habit. The Age and the Australian have much to answer for.

Sure, like Daniel’s subjects, I could spend hours in Fullers and Dymocks in the CBD, or the Hobart Book Shop down in Salamanca, but usually I enter them with a set purpose in mind after my Saturday and Sunday perusals of the reviews in those gazettes. And I am certainly not a ‘…a literary voyeur…more interested in possessing books than reading them…’ My volumes are definitely not just for show – they are intended for reading and usually passed on then to family and friends, or donated to a local community lending house. Only the most esteemed, or signed copies, are retained. Sadly, though, because I purchase so many, they do have to be ‘triaged’ once home. And, oh dear, some simply do not get drawn back down off the self and eventually I come to the conclusion that I will not get to them and they are disposed of.

Fellow bookophiles, you all have your favourite authors, whether you follow them on the ‘…vile dictatorship of the (mobile) phone…’ or in the form that has ‘…texture, weight…’, as well as scent and which can be closed with an emphatic slam on completion. I will not list mine here, but I am a slave to them. I love, also, to branch out, to discover new writers, just as I do with performers in the case of my music. I relish, often with my daughter’s help, discovering fresh young talent. And for that aspect of my craving I also rely on those weekend reviews to guide me to new literary realms. The critics possess their own wordsmithery to tantalise and seduce. I am helpless before their blandishments. And when I, at the end of a tome, concur with their judgement of worthiness, I am inwardly elated; proud of myself as can be as though I was the sole person responsible for the new find. Silly, I know – and I feel the same way discovering a new recording artist.

Yep. There is no feeling in the world like ‘… a book pressed to your chest in wonder.’

Daniel Broadstock’s article = https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellness/buying-an-e-book-is-missing-the-point-20180406-p4z837.html

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