A couple evenings ago my husband and I were both reading in bed when I made an interesting realisation, though both of us were very much engrossed in our reading the mediums we were using were alien to each other.
My husband has recently bought himself an IPhone, the clever contraption has more features than I deem necessary for an instrument intended originally for conveying the human voice from a one person to the next. You can use it for phoning, messaging, taking photos, finding your way on a GPS, as an alarm clock, a stop watch, a mini computer, for watching movies, or listening to music, and the list goes on.
Both of us are propped up against white pillows, and busy perusing our literature, he had been surfing the web and apparently has found something that seems to have captivated his attention. I on the other hand am holding in my hand an old book, the cover slightly faded, the pages yellowed, and spotted from age. It is a wonderful story, by a famous author, part of a set of three books I bought while on vacation in Paris a few weeks earlier at a little bouquinist by the Seine near Notre Dame. The date on the front page is 1860.
1860 was the year that Abraham Lincoln was elected president, ladies wore hooped skirts, tight corset and gentlemen who could afford quality books like this, would probably have also owned a top hat. 152 years ago someone bought this book, maybe it was a present, or an addition to one’s library, and it was read most probably by many persons during the last century and a half. How it ended up at a second hand book dealer in Paris, I don’t think anyone really knows, but it would be fascinating if the book could tell the tale of the places it has been, the people who have read it, the décor of the places where it was kept.
Today this book is mine, I will read it, enjoy its content, and then carefully care for it till it is given or sold to its next owner. My husband will make good use of his IPhone, but it is already outdated and within a few short months – if we are lucky a couple years, it will be disposed of in preference for a newer model, and then it will spend eternity in a landfill.
The practicality and coolness of the IPhones, I Pads, E-books, and E-newspaper will always be overshadowed by the unique quality, and beauty of the printed page.
|Discoloration in an old book, is not a bad thing it adds to its character and charm|