The Magic of Books

A few years ago, I remember reading a cartoon 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.”

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 small gadget that you can take out of your pocket and read when you want. It is almost like a marriage between books 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 paper’s smell or the explosion of the senses in response to the book cover’s art. On the other hand, you could 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. It is a pity because somehow they will miss that ‘something special’ that only a reader could give you. A child lying in a parent’s arms and listening to a bedtime story loses him or herself in the colourful illustrations. They can bring 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 the world around you. The story does not absorb you. You can place memorable photos in them. You can mark your spot by folding a dog’s ear. You can write a special message on the inside front cover. Books are friends. 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 an 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 extraordinary things. Things do not get more special than a favourite book. Books should be forever. They are magical.

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