The Magic of Books

I remember reading a cartoon a few years ago where the little boy held out a book to his father asking “what is this?” His father replied, “it’s a sort of primitive television set.”

In the time since that little joke was published books have taken on a second identity. Somebody found a way to put them on the screen of a little gadget that you can take out of your pocket and read when you want. It is almost like a marriage between book and television. This idea of reading on the screen is very convenient. These days many people do their reading this way. Still, it is just not the same. There is something about a book, something magical.

Maybe it is the smell of the paper or the explosion of the senses in reaction to the art on the book cover. On the other hand, it could be the fact that you use both hands to hold the book and turn the pages. In that way, it is almost as if the book owns you. It demands of you. You become part of the reading experience.

The generations of tomorrow may grow up with electronic books. This is a pity because somehow they are going to miss that something special that only a book could give you. A child laying in the arm of a parent and listening to a bedtime story, lose him or herself in the colourful illustrations. They have a way of bringing a world of dreams into a young mind. The rustle of the paper as the pages are turned is a comforting sound from a zone of safety.

A book is warm and welcoming. Reading on a screen is cold and modern. You are still aware of your world around you. You are not absorbed by the story. Books are friends. You can place special photos in them. You can mark your spot by folding a dog-ear. You can write a special message on the inside front cover. E-book readers do not have this. They do not even have a front cover.

All books have a way of showing respect for the story inside. This story is the book neatly bound in a very attractive jacket. On the small screen, you can read different books. Somehow it is just a medium. It has no personality. Our world is full of special things. Things do not get more special than a favourite book. Books should be forever. They are magical.

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