In praise of the printed book

As a librarian, I spend hardly any time with books. This is something that surprises others, especially would be librarians. I love books and collect them passionately. Finding the time to browse and even read a few good books is a rare occasion for me.

A couple of weeks ago, I attempted to read Johnathan Franzen’s new novel , on one of the Kobo ereaders my library owns. I was pleasantly surprised by the experience. The text was clean and easy to read. Plus, the device is easy to hold relative to Franzen 500+ page physical book. However, I only made it a few chapters before reverting to the printed copy. I think I was able to read the paper faster.

There’s something intangibly rewarding about holding a weighty, thick book with crisp pages. Getting to that last page feels like an accomplishment. Another title I’ve been (slowly) making my way through is War and Peace – a long standing goal of mine. It’s physical weightiness combined with the thinnest of paper pages is a challenge I love. Interestingly, a character in Freedom reads War and Peace (quite quickly).

I won’t go into a review, but Freedom is one of those books that amazes the reader into thinking “how does one write something like this?” It is a masterpiece and one of the best things I’ve read in years. Reading a great novel makes me voracious for more and I now have piles of books in my apartment waiting for me to tackle.

On my list: Deafening by Frances Itani, The Corrections by Franzen, Light in August by Faulkner, Come thou, Tortoise by Jessica Grant, oh and War and Peace.

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  1. Maybe I’ll read an e-book one day… « - January 16, 2011

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