Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Getting physical

I am, goodness knows, no disciple of Ned Ludd. While not being able to lay truthful claim to membership of the Early Adopters clan, I have become something of a Perverse Adopter, in that, (apart from an organic entity in the garden) I have nothing with an Apple on it, (my MP3 diet emanates from a Muvo device) and my e-reader is a Sony.  It has to be said, in the spirit of full disclosure, however, that I take perverse pride in our television displaying pictures that are confined to two dimensions and having a certain archaeological quaintness.

Having said all this, I was forcefully reminded today of the intense visual, tactile and olfactory pleasures to be obtained from paper-based verbal information devices, or books.  The particular trigger for this renewed epiphany was a visit to my local Oxfam shop, which glories in a particularly interesting and consistently refreshed books section.  As well as the standard collection of recycled contemporary paperbacks, leaning towards the literary end of the spectrum and (mercifully) disciplined rigidly into alphabetical order, there is always a beguiling array of classic literature (or Literature) and non-fiction, often including beautiful older editions and equally often betraying the recent evacuation of a particular author from a book collection or library (William Plomer was the last such I noticed).  Among the many volumes which were serenading my senses, I opted for an edition of R.L. Stevenson's Vailima letters, whose rough-cut pages, snugly musty odour and elegant font conspire to endanger themselves each time I pick up this delicious object by making me want to drool like a baby.  Spending £2.99 in this way - while it prevents me from downloading approximately 6 e-books - appears to me to be a very good deal indeed.

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