I had great pleasure in doing something very simple today. I walked into a bookshop and breathed in.
Regrettably, it has been quite a while since I last experienced this phenomenon but nothing about it has changed – there was still that same feeling of anticipation and the sense that hundreds of worlds of possibility were tantalisingly close to my fingertips; all I had to do was reach out and seize them. I was vividly reminded of my childhood and the excitement that filled me whenever I made a trip to the bookshop with a precious book token clutched tightly in my hand.
A substantial length of time has passed since I physically purchased a book because – and this is a confession of the utmost gravity – I have succumbed to that most alluring of new-age gadgets, the Kindle.
I know there are some who would consider this blasphemy but I have to admit it – I love my Kindle. Everything about it is just so easy. The battery life is impressively long, the screen is perfectly legible in sunny weather and it can hold more books than I’ll ever read in my lifetime. Of course, this is all standard praise which everyone has heard bestowed upon the slim impostor of a book many times before.
But my favourite thing about the Kindle is this: my hands and arms are now blissfully cosy when I read in bed. I can expertly prop the Kindle open on my pillow while keeping my arms tucked snugly under the covers. When I come to the turning of a page, I just scoot my index finger out to tap the screen and then whip it back in again. There are no goosebumps on my skin from having to hold the book up (a distressing predicament in the heart of winter) and no pains in my thumbs from keeping particularly heavy books pried open. Every book is as effortless as the next, whether it’s 300 pages long or 900.
So that’s why I like my Kindle so much. I know I shouldn’t, but I do.
Using my Kindle for the past year has left me feeling like I don’t need to go to a bookshop anymore and that is very remiss of me. This is because nothing can replace that exhilarating moment when you walk through the door and are greeted with the sight of floor-to-ceiling shelves bulging with books, each one displaying their enticing contents, each one begging to be read. And the smell which accompanies such an experience is indescribable – it bewitches you, pulls you in, whispers the seductive promise of characters you have yet to fall in love with, places you have yet to know, stories that will draw you in so that you will stay up reading until four in the morning because you simply cannot put them down.
Needless to say, Kindle or no, I will not allow so much time to pass before I enter a bookshop again. The smell is just too good to pass up.