"What she was finding also was how one book led to another, doors kept opening wherever she turned and the days weren't long enough for the reading she wanted to do" Alan Bennett

Monday, September 1, 2014

The thoughts of a 'recovering' compulsive book buyer

It has been 101 days since I purchased my last book.

101 days!

101 days?

101 days.

That is more than 3 months. It is closer to 4 months. I have gone almost 4 months without ordering or buying any books.

A few months ago, I would have found that appalling. As I write this today, I consider it progress.

You see, before this, I was a compulsive book buyer. As the name of my blog suggests - I am a Bibliophile. In 2013 alone, I purchased well over 100 books. At this moment in time, I own more than 600 books. A few months ago, I found that to be quite an achievement. I still consider it to be quite an achievement, but I now wonder whether it isn't slightly insane. An insane achievement, but an achievement none the less.

Cicero said that 'A Room Without Books is like a Body Without a Soul' - if that is the case then my house is full of soul. There are books in all the bedrooms, the lounge, the passage, the dining room, the study, the kitchen...

The books have taken over. Fiction. Non-Fiction. YA. Classics. Children's Books. Books about Books. Cook books. They are all there. There are duplicates and sometimes triplicates - because I just had to have the book in its new cover.

In the 101 days since I purchased my last book I have had an epiphany of sorts. The rate at which I have been acquiring books vs the rate at which I have been reading them is not in-sync. If I continue at this rate, I will leave more than 2000 books unread by the time that I die. I also came to realise that about 25% of the books that I own are books that I am not actually interested in - so they will just sit there - unread and unloved forever.

What of the books that I own that I have already read, you wonder? Well those books, who have already received my attention will either remain under my curatorship, or if I did not absolutely love them, or do not see myself rereading them at any stage in the future, well I am willing to part ways with them.

Does this mean that I have changed as a reader or even a bibliophile? Perhaps. Then, perhaps it is part of a reader's evolution to become more selective about which books take up the limited amount of reading time you have whilst alive?

I still love books, I still love to read. I am still a purist - preferring physical books to digital ones. After I cull part of my collection, I shall still have very many books. It just takes a bit more to get me excited and 'trigger happy' about buying a new book that excites me.

After all, I have enough books to keep me busy for the next 5 years at the very least.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Blog Tour: The Legacy - Melissa Delport



The Legacy - MELISSA DELPORT
One man obsessed with power.

One woman prepared to sacrifice everything to stop him.

One war that changed the world.

“World War Three lasted twelve days. Twelve days was all it took for mankind to devastate the planet and almost eradicate the human race. No victor emerged from the ashes and billions lost their lives.

We survivors lived through the bleakest of winters. A primal existence became the new order, and the little that remained of our humanity hung in the balance.

Then one man stood up and changed the world. I believed, as did everyone else, that he was the hero of our time, the man who had saved us from our own demise. His name is Eric Dane and he is the President of the New United States of America. 

He is also my husband, and my greatest enemy.

I grew up oblivious to the truth, until my father found me when I was nineteen years old. He told me about the many horrifying facts that our new leader kept hidden from us. And he told me that beyond the borders the Resistance grew and fought for freedom from the oppression that Eric Dane had imposed on us.

My name is Rebecca Davis. I am twenty-six years old, and in me the Resistance has found the ultimate weapon.”

A narrative of good and evil, love and passion, right and wrong – and at the centre of the story a strong woman who is prepared to sacrifice everything for the cause she believes in.

The Legacy is an action-packed, adrenalin-inducing thrill ride which will leave you riveted long after you have turned the last page.

TITLE: The Legacy
SERIES: Book 1 of The Legacy Trilogy
AUTHOR: Melissa Delport
PRINT ISBN: 978-0-620-59636-7
eISBN: 978-0-620-59637-4
PAGES: 366 pages
WORD COUNT: 99 160
GENRE: Speculative Fiction
MARKET: Adults (with crossover to the 16+ reader)
PUBLISHER: Tracey McDonald Publishers
e.BOOK BUY LINKS
Amazon.com - HERE
Amazon.co.uk - HERE
Barnes & Noble - HERE
Kobo - HERE
Kalahari.com – HERE
PRINTED BOOK BUY LINKS
The Legacy is available at most bookshops in South Africa, or you can order it online:
Kalahari.com – HERE
Takealot.com – HERE
Loot.co.za - HERE
BIO
Wife and mother of 3, Melissa Delport is the author of The Legacy Trilogy and the stand-alone self-published e.books Rainfall and The Traveler.
She graduated from the University of South Africa with a Bachelor’s Degree in English in 2000
At the age of twenty-four Melissa started a logistics company (Transmax) from the spare room of her flat and built it up to two fully operational depots in Durban and Johannesburg. Now, 10 years later, she has sold her business in order to write full time.
Melissa lives with her husband and three children in Hillcrest, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
The Legacy (book 1 of The Legacy Trilogy) and The Legion (book 2) are available now and the final book, The Legend, will be released early 2015.
An avid reader herself, Melissa finally decided to stop ‘watching from the sidelines’ and to do what is her passion.
“I was driving home from work when inspiration struck, and a storyline started unravelling in my head. For a few days it was all I could think about and eventually I realised that the only way to get it out of my head, was to put it all down on paper. I started writing, and that was that.”
SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS
The Legacy Trilogy Website: www.thelegacytrilogy.com
Publisher’s website: www.traceymcdonaldpublishers.com
Twitter Hashtag for the book blog tour: #TheLegacyBlogTour

Character Outlines - The Legacy by Melissa Delport



Today, we are quite lucky to have Melissa Delport over at Bibliophilia giving us an outline of the characters in her nail biting trilogy The Legacy. Over to you, Melissa...
 
One of the things I consider most important in any book is character development. For a reader to truly immerse themselves in a story it is imperative that they can connect with the main characters, and in order to do this, your characters need to be well-rounded and fully fleshed-out.

The Legacy Trilogy encompasses a variety of diverse characters, each with their own unique attributes and mannerisms. Here are a few of the main characters, summed up in a few short lines.

Rebecca Davis: The strong and fiery leader of The Legion, Rebecca’s commitment to the Resistance knows no bounds. She is prepared to sacrifice everything in order to protect the people that she loves, and will become the Resistance’s ultimate weapon.

Aidan Moore: Rebecca’s childhood friend and the love of her life, Aidan is dependable, pure and honest and he represents everything that Rebecca is fighting for.

Reed McCoy: Created as Rebecca’s equal, Reed is courageous and fiercely protective, but at the same time he is not afraid to challenge her. Sarcastic, sexy and rugged, he is Rebecca’s greatest temptation, while also being her greatest asset.

Eric Dane: Eric is the President of the New United States. Charismatic, arrogant and cruel, he is Rebecca’s husband and her greatest enemy. A narcissistic, power-hungry tyrant, Eric will stop at nothing in his quest for control.

Kwan Lee: Warrior and mentor, Kwan is the voice of reason and he keeps Rebecca grounded, while determined to seek retribution. Kwan has his own score to settle with Eric Dane.

Michael Kelly: 16-year-old Michael is naive, quirky, and the eternal optimist. Fun-loving to a fault, he is a stark contrast to his older sister, Morgan.

Morgan Kelly: Reckless, sassy, sullen Morgan is a thorn in Rebecca’s side, but there is a vulnerability about her that is endearing. Her protectiveness over her brother is admirable. Morgan is the girl we love to hate.

Jonathan Moore: The only father Rebecca has ever known, Jonathan is Aidan’s biological father and has been in Rebecca’s life since before she was born. A giant of a man, Jonathan has always protected Rebecca and he thinks of her as his own.

Jeffrey Davis: Rebecca’s biological father, believed dead for most of her life. Jeffrey is a serious, stern man, and one of the founders of the Resistance. His sense of loyalty and patriotism is inspiring, although his stoic, steadfast manner initially keeps Rebecca at arms length.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Sharp Edges - S.A. Partridge

Title: Sharp Edges

Author: S.A. Partridge

Pages: 192

Publisher: Human and Rosseau

Source: Review Copy

The Synopsis

Six friends attend a music festival in the Cedarberg.Only five come back. For her seventeenth birthday Demi Crowley invites her five closest friends to join her at a party to end all parties. But what was supposed to be the night of their lives soon becomes a nightmare none of them will ever forget.

The Review


It has taken me quite a while to get a concise review penned that comes close to conveying my feelings and thoughts on Sharp Edges by local author S.A. Partridge. Despite this taking months, I am not sure if I am yet able to write a review that is worthy of the message that the book carries across. 

To help you understand, the closest comparison I can make -for those of you who have yet to read- Sharp Edges, is the British series Skins. Much like Skins, Sharp Edges manages to brilliantly switch between the perspectives of the many characters involved to give a fuller picture of the story. A picture as faceted as those involved – because we all know there is more than one side to a story.
At the heart of Sharp Edges is a story of a group of teenage friends who plan a weekend away at a music festival for everyone’s best friend – Demi’s birthday. As you will have gathered from the synopsis above, there is not a happy ending; through shifting between the perspectives of each of those involved in what was supposed to be the best weekend ever, you glean two perspectives from each of those involved – during and having to live afterwards.

I was a bit confused initially when I started reading Sharp Edges, but once I got to the third perspective it all started to fall into place and I started to see the picture that S.A. Partridge was putting together for us using shards from the experience of those involved.  

Sharp Edges is a chilling story of how the best laid out plans can go awry and no matter how hard you try you cannot escape from the consequences of your actions. I think Sharp Edges will resonate quite deeply with those who have suffered from a tragedy and are left behind to put the pieces together to try and figure out how it all happened, and how to go on with their lives. For those who have experienced the loss of a friend Sharp Edges will help you to see that grief takes on many forms, and is very rarely rational. Sharp Edges will help you to see that even though your world stops turning when someone near to you dies, it continues to turn, and you have to get back to living your life no matter how difficult it may be. 

Sharp Edges, much like Dark Poppy’s Demise should be compulsory on all high school reading lists.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Books I'm Looking Forward To - Shotgun Lovesongs - Nickolas Butler

Books I'm Looking Forward To is something new that I am going to be trying here on Bibliophilia, it is helpful in two ways:

1) I can share with all of you the books that I am looking forward to reading *all the better to spread the bookish word...*

2) I am constantly losing my list of books that I would like to read and or buy, so this way it is someplace permanent.

In this week's Books I'm Looking Forward To, here is a little bit about Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler to whet your reading appetite...

Henry, Lee, Kip and Ronny grew up together in rural Wisconsin. Friends since childhood, their lives all began the same way, but have since taken very different paths. Henry stayed on the family farm and married his first love, whilst the others left in search of a better life. Ronnie became a rodeo star, Kip made his fortune on city stocks, and musician Lee found fame - but heartbreak too. 

Now all four are back in town for a wedding, each of them hoping to recapture their old closeness but are confronted with how much things have changed. Amid the happiness of reunion and celebration, old rivalries resurface and a wife's secret threatens to tear both a marriage and a friendship apart.

This is a novel about the things that matter - love and loyalty, the power of music and the beauty of nature - told in a uniquely beautiful, warm-hearted and profound way as it explores the age old question of whether we can ever truly come home. 

Sounds absolutely riveting, doesn't it?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Books I'm Looking Forward To : Life Drawing - Robin Black

Books I'm Looking Forward To is something new that I am going to be trying here on Bibliophilia, it is helpful in two ways:

1) I can share with all of you the books that I am looking forward to reading *all the better to spread the bookish word...*

2) I am constantly losing my list of books that I would like to read and or buy, so this way it is someplace permanent.

In this week's Books I'm Looking Forward To, here is a little bit about Life Drawing by Robin Black to whet your reading appetite...


Life Drawing is a fierce, honest and moving story of married life - its betrayals, intimacies, and secrets. 

Augusta and Owen have taken the leap. Leaving the city and its troubling memories behind, they have moved to the country for  solitary life where they can devote their days to each other and their art, where Gus can paint and Owen can write. 

But the facts of the past betrayal prove harder to escape than urban life. Ancient jealousies and resentments haunt their marriage and their rural paradise.

When Alison Hemmings moves into the empty house next door, Gus is drawn out of isolation, despite her own qualms and Owen's suspicions. As the new relationship deepens, the lives of the two households grow more and more tightly intertwined. It will take only new arrival to intensify emotions to breaking point. 

Fierce, honest and astonishingly gripping, Life Drawing is a novel as beautiful and unsparing as the human heart.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Books I'm Looking Forward To: Frog Music - Emma Donoghue

Books I'm Looking Forward To is something new that I am going to be trying here on Bibliophilia, it is helpful in two ways:

1) I can share with all of you the books that I am looking forward to reading *all the better to spread the bookish word...*

2) I am constantly losing my list of books that I would like to read and or buy, so this way it is someplace permanent.

To start us off with Books I'm Looking Forward To, here is a little bit about Frog Music by Emma Donoghue to whet your reading appetite...
San Francisco, 1876: a stifling heat wave and smallpox epidemic have engulfed the City. Deep in the streets of Chinatown live three former stars of the Parisian circus:  Blanche, now an exotic dancer at the House of Mirrors, her lover Arthur and his companion Ernest. When an eccentric outsider joins their little circle, secrets unravel, changing everything - and leaving one of them dead. 
Frog Music, inspired by true events, is an evocative novel of intrigue and murder: elegant, erotic and witty. 

I received a review copy of Frog Music from Pan Macmillan South Africa, and will be reviewing it shortly. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

To bring you up to speed...


2013 was an interesting year. It saw me make a big change in my life. I relocated to Cape Town for my job and experienced a host of new things. A lot more of my energy and focus was dedicated to my job; as a result my reading and this blog suffered greatly.

As we all know, the only constant in life is change – it is not much of a surprise that my life has once again changed. I finished up my contract at work and have moved back home to the Eastern Cape. I have decided to take some time off to regain the balance I lost by being so focussed on my job.

Focussing only on the good of this new chapter, I am quite happy that I am going to have a lot of free time – a lot more time for reading, and definitely more time to get Bibliophilia looking less like a ghost town and more like a proper blog again. 

I am looking forward to getting back into the swing of things with the Classics Club, memes, reviews and opinion posts. 

For now though, I would like to wish you all Happy Reading! And it’s good to be back!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Coming Soon: Sharp Edges by SA Partridge

SIX FRIENDS ATTEND A MUSIC FESTIVAL IN THE CEDERBERG. 
ONLY FIVE COME BACK. 


For her seventeenth birthday Demi Cowley invites her five closest friends to join her at a music festival for a party to end all parties. But what was supposed to be the night of their lives soon becomes a nightmare none of them will ever forget. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Here lies Bridget - Paige Harbison

Title: Here Lies Bridget

Author: Paige Harbison

Pages: 219

Publisher: Harlequin

Source: Purchased

The Summary

Bridget Duke is the uncontested ruler of her school. The meanest girl with the biggest secret insecurities. And when new girl Anna Judge arrives, things start to fall apart for Bridget: friends don't worship as attentively, teachers don't fall for her wide-eyed look, expulsion looms ahead and the one boy she's always loved can barely even look at her anymore. When a desperate Bridget drives too fast and crashes her car, she ends up in limbo, facing everyone she's wronged and walking a few uncomfortable miles in their shoes. Now she has only one chance to make a last impression. Though she might end up dead, she has one last shot at redemption and the chance to right the wrongs she's inflicted on the people who mean most to her. And Bridget's about to learn that, sometimes, saying you're sorry just isn't enough.

The Review

I like the premise of this book and the way it makes you think about how you treat others, and the impact that your treatment of them has on their self-esteem. Words have the power to harm and heal, and Here Lies Bridget reinforces that. Well written, well plotted and well thought out - Here Lies Bridget is a book that all young adults, especially the Queen Bees of the world should read. So many invisible scars are left behind by the words of those like Bridget, who are more concerned with their popularity than their impact. Whilst this is a good and necessary story - I am not exactly the target audience for it. A younger reader would definitely find it more enjoyable and relate-able than I did. It made me think of Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why which is a must read for everyone.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories

THE UNIVERSE IS NOT MADE OF ATOMS; IT'S MADE OF TINY STORIES

Title: The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories

Author: hitRECord

Pages: 88 (volume i); 96 (volume ii); 128 (volume iii)

Publisher: HarperCollins

Source: Purchased

The Summary

The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories is a trilogy collection of poetic tiny, short stories, no more than a few lines long each. It is compiled by owner and founder of the online collaborative production company hitRECord, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Wirrow, a curator at hitRECord. Source: WIKIPEDIA

The Review

When I think of Joseph Gordon-Levitt I see him in my mind's eye as Tommy from Third Rock from
the Sun and then as Cameron from 10 Things I Hate About You which probably betrays my age a great deal if you didn't already know how old I am. I have always been fond of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and my admiration of him has been kicked into a higher gear after hearing about and then reading The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories.

Having said that, I would like to declare Joseph Gordon-Levitt a creative genius for coming up with the concept of these tiny stories and bringing so many together in the 3 volumes of The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories.

In the age of twitter where we are encouraged to carry across our thoughts in 140 characters or less, and where humans in general are enthralled and entertained by things that are shorter and shorter - Joseph Gordon-Levitt has shown that stories and books can evolve to stay in vogue. Brilliant little stories, with accompanying artwork could very well be the future of the anthology.

So far I have only read Volume i and ii, I will be ordering Volume iii shortly, I will admit that I enjoyed Volume i more than I did Volume ii. I found it to be a bit funnier - but both are really excellent volumes. The joining of a verbal submission with a illustrated submission is sheer genius - items are fabulously paired. I actually see it a bit as a more modern version of Monty Python.

If you would like to find out more about the collaboration that happens at hitRECord or would like to submit a form of artwork head over to the hitRECord website and see what else we can look forward to in the future and the latest out now is hitRECord on TV!




Thursday, February 27, 2014

Paperback Release: One Crow Alone

"They say it's going to get worse. That it's not going to end."

The snow won't stop falling in this dangerous-new-world.

The long, bitter winters are getting worse, and a state of emergency has been declared across Europe. In Poland, he villagers are subject to frequent power cuts and fuel shortages. After the death of her grandmother and the evacuation of her village, fifteen-year-old Magda joins forces with the arrogant, handsome Ivan and smuggles her way onto a truck bound for London - where she hopes to find her mother. But London, when they reach it, is a nightmarish world, far from welcoming. Riots are commonplace and the growing chaos is exploited by criminals and terrorists alike. Magda's mother is not to be found, and as the lost girl struggles to come to terms with her changing situation, she eventually becomes friends with a rag-tag group of travelers planning a new home and future. They will need all the cunning and know-how they possess as they realise that the frozen wilderness of  Britain has become just as lawless as the city.

This is the Prequel to After the Snow.  Available in Paperback now. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

An Ode to Books



“If you have read 6,000 books in your lifetime, or even 600, it is probably because at some level you find ‘reality’ a bit of a disappointment” Joe Queenan – ONE FOR THE BOOKS

One of the greatest things invented is the book. Gutenberg is one of those great people for inventing the printing press, making books accessible to the masses and not just the elite. The invention of the printing press is without doubt one of those iconic moments in history that has changed our lives for the better, much like the discovery of penicillin. The development of the digital book is one of those monumental things too; an e-reader can without doubt be put in the same class of revolutionary status as the printing press. It has more people reading as many seem to prefer having a mobile library as opposed to a stationary one. 

Here I’ll be focusing on the book – in its many forms,  as well as my thoughts on books and what they mean to me. Be warned this is going to be a long one.

Children are made readers on the laps of their parents Emilie Buchwald

I cannot say when exactly the spark that ignited my love for books and reading turned into a burning flame, but it was undeniably during my early childhood. A rather precocious child, I was never terribly fond of playing and whilst I tried to have an imaginary friend, it didn’t work because I couldn’t see anyone. Early on my mother bought me numerous books – from those fold open ones with puppies and kittens to the Childcraft set of books (which I still have). Books have been present in my life for as long as I can remember, they certainly have been one of the few constants in my life. I recall many hours spent with my mother going through these books, especially the first one in the Childcraft series with all its nursery rhymes, fairy tales and folk stories. I reminisce as I write this about how scared I was of the troll in the tale of the Three Billy Goats Gruff. It was the most terrifying thing ever; I was afraid of crossing bridges like the one in the story for the longest time. I also recall quite fondly spending many hours with my favourite aunt reading Winnie the Pooh books and The Adventures of Alice in Bible Land.
 
One of the books that I can still vividly remember arriving in the post is the Childcraft Encyclopaedia, it was an instant favourite, and I still adore it today. It’s like having a piece of history because it still has East and West Germany and the USSR.  The pictures in the encyclopaedia still have the power to transport me to all the countries I so long to see one day. 

When we visited my grandparents, they had this shelf of story books – we were only ever interested in one of them though – the green one, which not surprisingly is the only one that has fallen apart. This green one has many iconic stories in it – The Tale of Peter Rabbit, And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street, Tom Sawyer and the white washed fence, Goldilocks and the three bears. There wasn’t always someone to read the stories to my cousins and me, but we made the stories come alive by looking at the pictures and remembering what the stories were about. My grandparents have since given me the series of books, and that green one is still my favourite. I do look forward to the day I have time to read them all. I should also mention that many of my cousins are readers too!

“A library is infinity under a roofGail Carson Levine

I became a member of the Somerset East Library quite young – I was 2 or 3 years old. The Langenhoven Library has been one of the main sources of my reading material for over 20 years. I got my first Dr Seuss, Dahl, Blyton, Salinger and Grisham exposure there; I met magical realism there in the form of Chocolat. I frequently borrowed the Library’s copy of Charlotte’s Web. It was actually the first book I read when veering away from the younger children’s section at the tender age of 7. My mother encouraged me to take books out on important and influential people; I recall reading about Galileo, Einstein and Marie Curie when my classmates were barely reading at all. I remember when I was 14 I found the Flambards Trilogy by K.M. Peyton – I devoured those books in a day. It was the first time I fell in love with a boy in a book. Whilst limited, the teenage section entertained me for many hours. I found my first (and so far only) Terry Pratchett book there. I found some of the Dawson’s Creek books there. I got The Lord of the Rings there.

“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library” Jorge Luis Borges

 I was quite sad when I realised that I had outgrown much of the content of Langenhoven Library. Whilst there are still several excellent books in the shelves which I have yet to read, there was no Eugenides, only the one Salinger, not any of the autobiographies or memoirs that I wanted to read, my tastes had evolved so much whilst being at university that I had to start started my own library.
Starting your own library is one of the best and worst things you can do. All readers have a dormant virus within them that can turn them from perfectly sane borrowers and occasional purchasers of books, but when that dormant virus is activated and the inner bibliophile comes out… Well then all rationality and sanity go out the window in the quest to own all the books. Within the space of a year, I went from owning about 20 books to owning well over a hundred. Since the awakening of the crazy bibliophile within me in 2009 I have acquired more than 400 physical books. It is quite astounding how easily and quickly I got to that number. There are books all over my room at home in the Eastern Cape, there are books all over my personal office there too and in our lounge, and the passage... even in my wardrobe.  Don’t get me started on the books that are in my room in the Western Cape and the ones that are on my desk at work. I have a problem, an addiction; an affliction for which I desire to seek no professional help, because quite frankly there are more dangerous addictions to have. The only danger there is in collecting books is the possibility of perishing beneath an avalanche of books you were meaning to read. After all, there is that quote that says books are the only thing that you buy that makes you richer. I won’t even contemplate doing the math and working out how much I have spent on books, as I may just die when realising the small fortune I have spent, but that is beside the point.

“Book collecting is an obsession, an occupation, a disease, an addiction, a fascination, an absurdity, a fate. It is not a hobby. Those who do it must do it. Those who do not do it, think of it as a cousin of stamp collecting, a sister of the trophy cabinet, bastard of a sound bank account and a weak mind” Jeanette Winterson.

Having my own library means that I am constantly surrounded by friends, which exist only in my head, on the pages and in the minds of their authors as well as other readers. Somehow a room just feels more pleasant with a stack or shelves of books in it. As Cicero said “A room without books is like a body without a soul” – I have to agree. You can tell a great deal about someone by glancing at their shelves. What a pleasure it is to find a kindred bookish spirit – it is not all that frequently that I come across someone who has Gone with the Wind on their shelves, or Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier or even anyone with anything by Jeffrey Eugenides on it. When I do find someone and can reminisce about how incredible those books are – evoking our favourite scenes– there is a bond that is formed between us that a non-reader would simply not understand. Also, you get to be all inter-textual and clever by making jokes that reference these books, and there are few things as fun as saying to someone who has read ‘A Perfect Day for Bananafish’ “Can you See more Glass?” or asking someone who has read The Virgin Suicides why they thought the Lisbon girls could stand living no longer than they did? Heck even asking anyone who has read The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex what they think of Eugenides giving away the end of his stories at the beginning? How he writes in a way to get you so caught up in his stories that you forget about the fact that you already know the ending but are just enjoying the telling?

On the other hand, having my own library allows me to physically take stock of the books that I have read. I can look to the one shelf in my bedroom and see all the YA I have devoured, the biographies I have adored and the classics I have learned so much from. I can also leisurely pick my next read, and read at a sloth like pace if I want to without a two week loan deadline looming over my head.  Please note that I am not anti-library. I still love my local library, I have a stack of books from them that I do mean to read, and truly hope to get round to soon, like White Oleander by Janet Fitch and Possession by A.S. Byatt.

Books come into your life when you need them most. Whether it is that the universe happens to drop the book into your lap in one way or another, or you happen to have bought it before and that book just calls out to you and when you listen to it, it provides you with the comfort you require.
Books are the most constant of friends; they are always there- no matter what. They provide you with insights you would not otherwise have gained. They show you the world.  They make you more empathetic. They enable you to live a thousand lives. They give you hope, and they provide you with the comfort that few other things can. Reading a book is like having a movie play in your head – except you have the perfect cast because your brain is the director.

When I was battling the darkest part of my depression, books helped me to recover. For days I would do nothing but read. I got to leave behind my melancholy and see life through someone else’s eyes. I went to Hogwarts and got rid of my Dementors – books were my Patronus – opening a book was me saying ‘Expecto Petronum’. I went to Bon Temps and battled the supernatural with Sookie Stackhouse. I was there with Scarlet O’Hara. I went to Manderley and saw the devastation that was Rebecca de Winter. I experienced the hunger for stories in The Reader. I visited Macondo. And I saw those ‘Two households both alike in dignity’. I went outside of myself by being in myself in my mind in those stories to fix my spirit. I got to be someone who was not depressed and that helped me lift myself out of the recesses of depression. Books are a cure for all sorts of maladies. Whether it is a broken heart, loneliness, disappointment or loss books can comfort you.

Studies have shown that reading fiction makes you more empathetic. Reading uses and activates more parts of your brain than watching movies. I won’t go into it, because if you are a reader you already know it. You feel what your character is feeling, and unless they are as awful as Heathcliff you can sympathise with them and people who find themselves in similar situations.
Whilst the above had to be said, I have digressed from the purpose of this piece…

Real vs. Digital

These days there is still great debate between the book loyalists and those who have embraced digital reading. I own an e-reader, but I remain staunchly loyal to the physical book and the printed word. A book is my respite from the world, I spend 8-9 hours a day behind a screen and as such I gain very little pleasure reading from a screen when I go home and want to relax. Furthermore, it is just not the same. Yes the story is the same, the words are the same – but the digital experience is just lacking. I can’t mark relevant passages digitally and quickly find them when I want to tell someone about it. I can’t fully gauge the process I am making on the book, because there is no transition between the bulk of the book starting in my right hand and then ending in my left hand. It is just not the same pressing a button to turn the page compared to the physical act of turning the page, especially when you are in the middle of one of the climaxes of the book.

Above all else though, the reason why I shall stick to regular old paper books is a case of ownership. To me it doesn’t feel like an e-book truly belongs to me. I like having rooms that contain my library. I like that I can roam around and see all my books, marvel at their gorgeous covers, rearrange them according to my mood. I can show anyone my books and say, here look – this is a physical manifestation of me. It is simply not the same if you are to hand over your kindle or kobo or nook to someone and say ‘here, this is who I am’. It is just not the same. It does not feel right being able to carry your entire library with you contained in a small device. Books exist, they need to take up space – physical space – not measurements of space. Books are 3 dimensional, that is how they are best experienced, not as kb or mb on a device. You can’t stroke the spine or sniff the pages of an e-book. You can’t accidentally spill something on an e-book and have a memory of why it is that you spilt that crème soda on The Chamber of Secrets. There is simply no back story, no attachment to a digital book like there is with a real paper book.

I could continue ad nauseum with my thoughts and feelings on books, but then this would probably turn into a book and not a blog post – which may actually not be a bad idea. I do think that I shall continue in a second and perhaps a third post on books.

What sparked your love for books? When did your inner book collector come out of the closet?