Friday, January 6, 2012


2012: A Year of Thanksgiving and Praise

Day 6: I'm thankful for books.

One of my favorite activities is reading. Over the years, I don't know how many hundreds (or thousands) of books I've read. I go through phases where I just plow through them reading everything I can get my hands on. Then there are phases where other things take precedence and I don't get to read as much as I would like. (Lately it seems that when I settle in to read at night, I fall asleep more often than not!)

I enjoy many types of books, but read non-fiction almost exclusively. Most of the books I read are Christian writings, although I also enjoy reading books about finances (Dave Ramsey and David Bach being two of my favorites in that category). It's not at all uncommon for me to be reading several books at once (right now I'm reading 6 books).

My favorite book to read is the bible. I have several different versions as well as concordances and dictionaries. 

I have so many books that when my brother helped me move from Southern California back to Northern California, he said he would never help me again unless I got rid of my books. I can understand that. Moving boxes and boxes of books can be very tiring. ;o)

I don't have a Kindle or Nook, although I've thought about getting one. I like the idea of being able to carry an entire library around with me -- especially since I tend to read multiple books at the same time. I find it limiting to travel and try to choose what books I'm going to take on a trip and what books I'm going to leave behind -- especially if I'm flying. When I flew to California last year, I couldn't help but notice all of the Kindles on the flight I was on.

I do have the Kindle App on my iPod, and have downloaded a few books to it. But, the screen is a little small. 

But, there's something satisfying about reading a book. Actually holding the weight of a book in your hands and turning the pages. Reading a physical book engages more of your senses... 

You have the sense of touch in turning the pages. You feel the texture of the paper and the cover; paper or hardcover. You can even feel the stir of the air against your skin when you turn the pages. If it's a large book, there is the heft of the book itself.

Then there is the sense of smell. Maybe it's an old book you picked up from a second hand or antique book seller that has that old, musty smell. Or, maybe you picked it up from the funky little bookshop that also sells candles and incense so that you catch the scent of sandalwood when you turn the pages. Or maybe it just has that newly printed paper smell.

Of course, the sense of sight is engaged with physical books in a way that electronic devices just can't match. Some books are simply beautiful in their design and layout, from the cover art, to the typesetting, to the graphics, art and photographs within the pages. 

Even the sense of hearing comes into play with books. And yes, I've heard the turning page sound bytes, but it just isn't the same and the actual sound of a page turning. Then there is the satisfying sound of the book -- especially a big, heavy book -- being placed back on the table, nightstand, or desk until the next reading.

Mostly, I like the way a book makes your imagination come alive -- and in this aspect, an electronic book is just as good as the old fashioned kind. I learned long ago to never to and see a movie made from a book I've recently read. The movie just never matches up to the one played on the screen of my imagination. The characters never look right, the scenery pales in comparison, and then, of course, they have to cut so much out to make a 2 or 3 hour movie from a book that took 8 to 12 hours to read. And, inevitably, they feel they have to make changes in the story line to make the movie "better". 

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good movie. I have even enjoyed some of the movies I've seen that were made from books I have read. But, never when I have seen the movie soon after reading the book. It takes time for the images of the mind to fade so that you can enjoy the movie without feeling that they ruined the story -- at least that's the way it seems to me. 

If you follow me on Facebook, you'll see that my most frequent posts come from Goodreads, and are an update of what page I'm on in the book(s) I'm reading. It's a fun application if you like to read books. You update your progress as you go along and when you are finished, you can rate and review the book. 

Since I've been using the Goodreads app, I've completed 20 books. I'm hoping to add another 20 or more to my "books read" list this year.

Oh, and to my brother, Steve, I am actually going through the process of listing my old books for sale in an eBay store I opened last month. I'm not planning on moving anytime soon. Just thought it was time to purge. 

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