Posted in Home, Life, technology

Words for Wednesday: book life

At the risk of sounding like a luddite, some thoughts about the differences between digital books on e-readers and a real, honest-to-goodness paperback or hardback book printed on paper pages have been rolling around in my mind lately.

Why? Because of the photo above. In a concerted and time-consuming effort, Mama has been clearing out this ol’ empty nest. We’ve lived in our country home for 21 years now and the accumulation of stuff tells me so.

So short of selling the house and moving (which always helped de-cluttering in the past but is precisely what Mama and Papa don’t want to do), I set my sights on eliminating the ever-growing assortment lurking in closets, drawers, and especially our very large unfinished basement.

What a job it was! Middle daughter contributed quite an assortment of no longer wanted items herself, so we decided to hold a garage sale or a tag sale as some folks call such an event. Sorting, marking items with prices, and setting up tables to display it all seemed like a herculean task, but I remained undaunted. We advertised our sale – where else but Facebook?

After two days of selling (and praying people would show up to peruse our stuff and take it home with them), we did manage to unload sell a good bit of our former belongings, including some bigger items. But WAY too much remained, and we hauled two very full SUV-loads to our nearest thrift shop to donate.

After all was said and done though, an observation I made saddened me. Papa and I are readers, and we own shelves and shelves of books. We decided it was time to reduce those collections, so many boxes filled with paperbacks, hardbacks, and even children’s chapter books all priced inexpensively and ready for new homes were added to the sale.

To my dismay, hardly anyone even looked at the books. Out of the scads of people who rummaged through our offerings, practically every one of them walked right by the books without a glance. I think we sold a grand total of two hardback books to an older woman and a handful of children’s paperbacks to one lady who mentioned she was trying to entice her son to read more.

What? No one wants “real” books anymore? I get it. You can download books digitally on your kindles or e-readers. But still….for me, reading  electronically isn’t as relaxing as cozying up on my couch with a nice cup of hot tea and a book in my hand. And finishing that book gives me a kind of satisfying fulfillment concluding a digital copy just doesn’t provide.

And I don’t know about you, but when I’m at the beach, I’d much rather read from a printed paperback then haul my kindle down onto the sand.

When I get distracted by the soothing sounds of ocean waves or that seagull who keeps trying to get close enough to see if I’ll throw it some crumbs or I simply get drowsy, I can put a physical bookmark in my book and set it aside.

I don’t have to readjust my focus on reading to realize my e-reader resorted to sleep mode while I was inactive, or squint in the bright sunlight to try to read it, or shut it down because it needs recharged, or locate a safe, non-sandy spot to store it.   

I assume I’m not the only person who prefers printed books to electronic ones, but I searched the all-knowing internet just to make sure I wasn’t the only off-the-wall hermit of a real book lover still in existence. (Don’t get your shorts in a knot, I know there are still some of you out there in cyber-land.)

And here’s one of the sites – 5o Reasons Real Books Are Vastly Superior to eBooks –  I found that caused me to nod my head often as I read it even though the guy who wrote the article called it satire.

I also found a non-satirical site comparing the two that spouted good common sense about why physical books are better than eBooks. It stated that reading on a screen is more tiring for your eyes than reading printed matter. And interestingly, studies have shown that students comprehend less when reading electronically than with traditional printed books.

You know what? I have found that to be true myself. I will buzz through an eBook quickly and then not even really remember much about the storyline but with a printed hard copy, I remember it well.

Sometimes I look at the library of eBooks I have and don’t even remember reading the ones that my kindle app marks as read. Plus, to be honest, some eBooks just really aren’t as well-written as traditionally published ones.

When it comes to books, I’d rather hold a printed one in my hands, go to the library to borrow as many as I want, and enjoy reading that way.

So what to do with all of the boxes of books still sitting in our garage? I could establish a free little lending library like one of my blogging friends has done. I love noticing those and have often photographed some on our excursions.

Somewhere on Cape Cod
At a children’s playground

“A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never-failing spring in the desert.” ~ Andrew Carnegie

But a few things might hamper that idea – we live in a very rural area and honestly, I sincerely doubt if anyone would even utilize one here. I’m not sure placing it in any nearby towns would work well either because lately I’ve noticed a lot of vandalism. Plus that wouldn’t be purging all of those boxes of many books at one time.

Thus, I may contact a used bookstore in the city and see if they would be willing to take some of them and, more than likely, I’ll donate the books to some community libraries in our area and thrift shops.

I just hope my assumption that folks don’t read printed books, or any kind of books for that matter, is wrong because I recall a quote once made by the writer, Ray Bradbury: “You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”

Anyone interested in a couple boxes of real books? Or do any of you readers out there have another suggestion for me? There’s still lots of good reading in those books.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.” ~ George R.R. Martin

© 2021


Mama of this empty nest, I’m content to live a quiet, country life with my husband of 40+ years and to view the gorgeous sunsets off my own back yard deck. Mama to three adults and Nana to adorable grandchildren, my empty nest fills up again with noise and laughter when they all return 'home'. A former English teacher, reporter/editor, education director for a non-profit organization, and stay at home mom, I retired after a season of substitute teaching at a private academy. Now I enjoy time spent with my grandchildren and family and writing words that seem to pour out of my soul or wandering around the countryside with my camera. Foremost, my faith sustains me as I meander through the empty nest stage of life. My favorite scripture is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

19 thoughts on “Words for Wednesday: book life

  1. I love reading printed books but for me it is easier to read on the kindle at night when everyone else is asleep and I don’t want to wake anyone. I read on a Kindle Paperwhite and there is no glare and I can adjust the setting for night reading. The battery also lasts a long time because I shut the WiFi off while I’m reading. It’s also easier to shove in my purse than a paperback book. Still, I love hard copies of books and always look for them at yard sales. We cut back on buying them because we ran out of space but I’ve found myself buying real books more and more lately.

    Also, you mentioned that ebooks are usually not as well written as traditionally published books but I should point out that many traditionally published books are converted into ebooks. How they are published has nothing to do with who publishes them these days. I’ve also read some traditionally published work lately that was totally awful so I can’t say traditionally published is the superior way to read these days, sadly.

    So, I see pros and cons to both ways of reading – for example, with my kindle I can highlight passages I like but when I export the file to my computer it doesn’t actually send me the whole part I highlighted. I never lose my place in a kindle book because the device opens up to wear I left off.

    All that being said, I love the smell of the printed book and much prefer sitting down and reading that when I don’t have to worry about a light waking someone up. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good points. Hopefully, readers don’t misunderstand me that I think all e-books are not well-written. I did not mean to imply that. I know that lots of e-books had already been traditionally published. Unfortunately, I’ve found plenty of e-books that obviously weren’t even edited by someone other than the author and that drives me nuts. It’s the English teacher in me coming out. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

      1. There are some awful ebooks out there, I agree. Drives me nuts and there were a lot of typos in mine even after I had it edited. I was so mad! I discovered, however, that I was uploading the wrong files after I made corrections. Hopefully I can get better at that but this is a journey of learning for me right now. And this is fun for me.

        I didn’t think you meant all ebooks are awful and I totally understand you’re point of view. I agree with you in many ways, which is why I’m starting to buy paperback and hardcover books again. I want to hold them in my hands!

        And I understand about the English teacher thing. I really am awful at grammar and punctuation at times, but when I see it someone else’s writing or in a book (I’ve seen them in traditionally published books as well, as I mentioned) it drives me crazy. I can’t judge them, though, since I’m also bad at it and mistakes happen.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Oh, I see mistakes often in traditionally published books as well. For some reason, mistakes in print seem to light up in neon and jump off the page at me! 😉 And not just grammar and punctuation but other editorial type things too.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I tried a Kindle and a couple of other e-readers that belonged to friends, but I couldn’t stand them. They’re fine for conveying information, perhaps, but not for the experience of reading. Besides, I’m an underliner and margin writer, and with my favorite books, that I read over and over, I use a different color ink each time I read them. It’s fascinating to go back and see how I responded to the same book over as much as thirty or forty years.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Books to me have to be paper. OK. E-readers and comp screens great for info searching,etc. But for leisure reading no thanks it’s paper. But clutter is another matter entirely. I have a theory that as soon as you pass items on recycle or trash, that what remains mysteriously multiplies of own accord.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh if only you lived closer I would take those off your hands! After a year of not having our annual AAUW Book Sale we are finally having it in late July! We have over 30,000 books we collect in all genres and usually raise well over $30.000 for scholarships for young women! It is THE most organized sale and this year I will actually be in town to help from start to finish. Cue the Aleve! So yes— there are still plenty of folks who love “real” books as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I used to be a book hoarder; that stopped when we moved (I donated a couple of hundred books to local thrift shops at that time and brought only my very favourite books and unread volumes from my extensive collection with me). Now I read a book and put it directly into a donation box in the basement; for our first three years here, I trucked several boxes to our local post office in January for their spring book sale (proceeds and leftover books went to charity). Unfortunately, you-know-what put a halt to the sale (I’m hoping 2022 sees it restart, as I currently have 6 boxes of books collecting dust in the basement). I, too, have tried reading e-books and, like you, find I skim more than I read. I lose focus and don’t feel quite so “involved” in the stories. I love the feel of a book in my hand. I am a voracious reader and borrow regularly from the library (I also admit to never passing a used bookstore without buying something; our local thrift shop sells hardcovers for $2 and paperbacks for $1 so I always have something on hand to read). There was a time when I feared e-books would take over completely, but I’ve read that publishers are now issuing more “real” books than virtual ones, so maybe the trend is shifting. I sure hope so!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Margo, we are kindred spirits. 🙂 I’m probably going to be donating all of those boxes of books. And when it comes to acquiring more, in the last few years, we’ve been book borrowing from the library instead of buying. With the you-know-what, of course, we couldn’t even do that so I was reading e-books more. And they just aren’t the same. I also recently read something about the popularity of e-books waning and hope it’s true.


      1. We’ve had curbside pickup through the pandemic. It meant I had to do a lot of research to remember which books by favourite authors I’d already read (so I could put holds on those I hadn’t) but it’s been a wonderful service. We’ve also borrowed some DVDs (British mystery series’). I still can’t go into a thrift store or pass by a used bookstore without checking things out though! LOL!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. We did have curbside pickup too after awhile, but like you, I had a hard time remembering what authors/books I wanted to read. I prefer just moseying up and down among the shelves to choose. Random, huh??

        Liked by 1 person

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