Small Celebrations – June 6, 2014

Welcome to Friday and the weekly blog that Vikki at VikLit thought of well over a year ago.  It is a way we pause to celebrate the small things that together make our lives richer.  Reading the posts over the months will open your eyes to the many, many ways we touch delight and celebrate it.  The hop is still open if you want to join, and it has drawn a wonderful group that posts, remembers, celebrates and just generally supports and cheers you on.
.here are lovely people involved in posting, remembering, celebrating and being just generally awesome – rather like yourself, don’t you think?

The information on the hop is below.  Why don’t you join?  Or, at least, visit the various posts and smile.

…And today I am celebrating…Books!

I just ordered two books yesterday.  One of them is to replace a book that I had, that was lost during four moves.  It is a sourcebook and a picture book (don’t get me started on picture books…)  It is a collection of aerial photos of Paris, taken from close(r) to the ground.  This was done after years of negotiating with the French government, which does not allow flyovers.  One day was granted, and this book resulted. 
It was very useful, since I could visualize the buildings, see the terrain.  Besides, I loved my visit to Paris, and if I ever win a lottery or inherit an emerald mine, I will go back and stay a year in an apartment near the Pont Neuf with three – count ’em! -bathrooms complete with soaking tubs.
I ordered another book on Paris (I’m writing a story set there), and since it’s about urban planning (it is not polite to yawn), it should be good.  Besides, the sample I read rather thoroughly is beautifully written.
I ordered both of these in ‘hard copy’.  The first is a hardback.  It’s an oversized book, and they don’t do well in softcover.  The other is a paperback. 
I never got over my love for books.  The things you hold in your hands, the fresh pages that smell of ink or, if they are older, of library dust.  The dog-eared pages, the notes in the margin (mine), the tucked-in bookmarks that can be anything from a magazine advert cut out because it’s pretty or a receipt from some lunch enjoyed years ago.
I have an e-reader.  A Kindle Fire.  I bought my first Kindle under protest because while I am not a Luddite by any means, I don’t like to deal with something that might conk out in the middle of a page leaving me glaring at my reflection in a black screen and screeching “What is the matter with this blasted thing???  It’s gone black!  Gah!”  My friends and loved ones informing me in tones of sweet reason that shaking the thing isn’t going to help, nor is blunting the blade of the Navy cutlass willed to me by my father.

(I wouldn’t have done it anyhow.  I like the thing.  The cutlass, that is).  I will say that my review and corrections are being done, preliminarily, on my uploaded MS using the Fire.

But books have a feel, a sense of completeness.  If I hold my volume of Treasure Island (Stevenson) in my hands, I have a sense of holding the entire adventure between my two palms.  Jim Hawkins, Long John Silver (one of the most chilling villains I’ve encountered – and you never suspect him till the end), the parrot, Captain Flint, Captain Alexander Smollet, and the plague-ridden island.

You can hold a book, linger over it.  If you’re in the right place you can nearly bathe in it:

My library, such as it is, is not quite as palatial as this one, but the idea is the same.  I do have to dust it.  At least it is not as chaotic as this one:
Actually, that one might have a few too many books, and I’d be afraid that the shelves might come down.

Books are tangible in a way the electronic readers are not.  You can hold them, smell them…  Though I suppose that if an e-reader exploded there would certainly be a smell…
You can mark them up.  (My ms is marked up.  Little yellow squares with little blue boxes.  If I click on them successfully, up come my notes.  they *are* handy, but oh so unromantic.  Rather like emails instead of handwritten letters.  Written in fountain pen.  I am told, though, that my letters are eternal because they are hard to read.

But I digress.  I do like the fact that I can indulge my terror of being left without something to read but not wanting to do damage to my spine by trundling along a suitcase full of books simply by bringing my e-reader.  They have their uses…

This poem expresses it well:

“Who hath a book

The parking garage for the Kansas City public library
Hath friends at hand,
And gold and gear
At his command;
And rich estates,
If he but look,
Are held by him
Who hath a book.

“Who hath a book

Hath but to read

And he may be

A king, indeed.

His kingdom is

His inglenook-

All this is his

Who hath a book.”  

― Wilbur D. Nesbit