Sometimes, for me, the beauty of the book is in its cover, in the font that’s used, in the way the chapters are introduced, in the way the paper feels in my fingers, in the pure physicalness of it. And maybe that’s one of the reasons why I don’t yet have an e-reader – because there’s nothing I love more than the feel of a book in my hands.
It might be a paperback I’ve read over and over again, whose pages are yellowed with time and leave a faint residue of the past – my past – on my fingers.
It might be a book like this one – a book I read first in my grandmother’s basement almost forty years ago when it was already at least fifty years old. I can still remember turning those pages for the first time, engrossed not only by the beautiful illustrations, but by the fact that the pages in my hand were already so much older than I was at the time, fascinated by the fact that my grandmother, who felt so ancient to me at that time, had read this book when she was a child.
Or maybe it’s a book like the book I finished reading this weekend – Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus. The cover is amazing but… lots of books have great covers (I’ve bought a whole bunch of them myself). The writing is brilliant, the story blew me away, but today I’m talking about the BOOK, the pages, the ink, the design, all the things that add to the experience of reading.
Or this –
The cover underneath the paper cover.
Every single piece of this book is perfect. It works with the story, it draws you into the story, it stops you in your tracks and makes you realize what you’re missing with the ordinariness of most of the books we read. Yes, we’re engrossed by the story – but we used to be engrossed by the book itself.
The fact is that if we read a book like this on an e-reader, we’re missing a big part of the experience. What if I’d bought this book on an e-reader?
I would have missed the beauty of the cover beneath the cover – and I would have missed a way into the story that would have changed the experience completely for me.
I’m becoming more and more attracted to books that have that little something extra – that have design aspects that contribute to my reading of the book. I don’t think this makes me a Luddite, but it does make me somewhat of an eccentric.
What about you?