Monday, August 22, 2011

Guilty Pleasures

I have noticed that you can make things clear in your own head if you try and explain something to someone else i.e. teaching them = teaching yourself.

I was pondering why do I love books, I'm talking physical hard cover, paperbacks and trade softcover books while I still have yet to embrace e-books. I'll come out and say it, I have almost (not completely, but almost) no interest in e-books.


Because I'm some kind of Luddite?

I sure don't think so.

A huge portion of what I enjoy about books is the discovery.

I am sitting in my office, same one I have used for almost the last five years and the very office where everything I have had published (or to be published) was written. Forever remembering a Ray Bradbury quote, that I am sure I won't get quite right, he said something to the effect of having his office full of curios and inspiration for his writing. That has always stuck with me, so I fill my office with swords, models, music, art, tokens and fetishes of far away lands and...books.

I have not counted in a year or two but I should have around 2,500 books just in my office. There's plenty more around the rest of the house too. At any given time I 'll have several open for research and interest in whatever subject I want to think about - currently its Celt's.
Maybe you can do something similar with multiple open windows on a kindle, I don't know, but I doubt the musty soul is there. (Tell me if I am wrong kids)

This post wasn't meant so much as my rant against e-books as it was on why I have a guilty pleasure in bookstores (which can't exist without books).

I like to peruse bookstores (or librarys) for hours, picking through whatever strikes me fancy. I may be captured by a cover or eclectic font, a name that sounds interesting or a subject matter that moves me-but it is all about discovery and taking my time and letting myself be guided by the dead tree's ink stained soul.

I have discovered a lot of very fine books that were not on anyones review list or recommendation. Even some of my favorite books were chance discoveries. This would not have happened even close to the same with e-books. You can't look over amazon's pages like you can a multi stacked book shelf. The experience is not the same and I am boiling it all down to my own personal guilty pleasure, perusing and discovering books.

I've heard rumors that with the demise of Borders and B&N scaling back, that perhaps the independentts will return.

I pray they do.


  1. I agree with you. I have a book habit that borders on addicition. When I pass a new bookstore, I am compelled to just go in and look around. My favorite airport is in Milwaukee because it has a huge used bookstore in it (I just picked up REH's Sword Woman (1975) this weekend).

    I don't have a Kindle, but I do have it on my iPhone. mainly, I use it as a way to read Public Domain novels (like the earlier works of ERB, and a few older ones). I've bought two eBooks. And while I enjoyed the convenience of being able carry a virtual library in my pocket, I still prefer TreeBooks.

  2. I agree with you as well, David. I much prefer paper books to ebooks. There's something about the heft of a book in my hand and the ability to flip back and forth that can't be duplicated electronically. And you're absolutely right about browsing in a physical book store. It's not the same online. Which is probably why I'm not allowed in a book store without adult supervision.

    If it weren't for the fact that She Who Must Be Obeyed was starting to complain about tripping over the stacks, I don't think I would have gone to an ereader. Now that I have, I find the convenience to be outstanding, especially on long trips. But I still prefer to be able to a book in my hand. And throw it across the room if it's bad enough. Can't do the latter with an ereader.

  3. I love browsing bookstores. Used bookstores are especially dangerous because I can walk out with an inexpensive pile.

    Physical browsing cannot match eBrowsing, that's for sure.

    I consider my eReader another tool in my arsenal. I can get the public domain or out-of-print (sometimes) that I just can't find or afford.

    But when it comes to favorites, I enjoy the paper collection and it is a hobby at this point, too, gathering them as much as action figures or trinkets or anything someone else might collect.

  4. I love books too. Real books. I'm really not that fond of e-books, though I do have a Kindle. It's very useful for reading submissions. Nothing beats a real book in your hands, though. At least to me.

  5. Sounds like we are of like mind. I do read e-books (more than I ever would have thought I would) but still prefer the old fashioned tree.

    Tom-my wife would say I have an addiction problem.

    Keith-I can imagine those are expensive.

    Paul-I was hoping you would comment since you're the one I know reads a lot of e-books. I sure can't deny the convience especially with hard to find and expensive rare books.

    Thanks Angie-are you reading subs for Mindflights on your kindle?

  6. Yes. I download them as .rtf files, then email them to my kindle address. It sends them back to my kindle via wireless properly formatted. Then I delete them when I am done. They aren't saved on Amazon's site like the books you buy are, so it works well. I use it to read manuscripts for critiquing too.

  7. Sifting through the Tattered Cover book store in Denver, I once found Julian May's Jack the Bodiless, and I discovered one of the coolest sci-fi series I've ever read. Never would happen without the cool bookstore.

  8. Exactly Brent, there are few things I like doing more than haunting a big old bookstore filled with tattered tomes of yesteryear.