Although I’m and first and foremost a writer, I absolutely love reading. In fact I learned to read before I started school and during my childhood worked my way through all the books kids usually enjoy including classics like Black Beauty and The Wind in the Willows. For me Enid Blyton could do no wrong, I loved everything she wrote and was particularly proud of my collection of Famous Five and Secret Seven titles.
I guess for me reading is like being Alice in Wonderland falling down the rabbit hole. I land in different worlds and become a spectator, an outsider watching what’s going on in other peoples’ lives. I may sometimes challenge what is happening, cry, laugh or even groan with frustration at the characters. However, in the end everything is out of my hands. I have no influence and it is down to the writer of the story to decide how it all ends.
Until the arrival of Kindle I was a regular purchaser of paperbacks. Some I kept, others I swapped with friends. All too quickly my bookcases overflowed and I found myself having regular purges, donating unwanted items to the local hospital friends for their monthly book sale. I did, however, keep – and still have – favourites including Mary Wesley, PennyVincenzi, Barbara Eskine and Phillipa Gregory.
I purchased my first Kindle in May 2011 and The Help by Kathryn Stockett was my very first download. Four years and a huge number of books later I now have a new Kindle Paperwhite – my 3rd Kindle. I think what I particularly like is how quickly you can choose and purchase a book. It’s downloaded in seconds and, of course, it’s also great for holidays as it saves packing a stack of paperbacks in your luggage.
As a tour and promotion host for Brook Cottage Books, Kindle is also the favoured medium to receive copies for review. I’ve also joined NetGalley which gives me access to new titles for independent reviewing, something I also carry out from time to time.
However, having said all this, there is nothing that can replace the feel of holding a book in your hands; of flicking through the pages, admiring the cover and having a look inside. Kindle may be able to deliver your book in the blink of an eye, what it lacks however, lies in its design. Kindle Paperwhite has no colour, all you get is a washy grey version of the cover. The downloaded book does not have a traditional paging arrangement. It has no shape, no size – it’s neither a four by seven or a six by nine, simply an electronic file. And that is probably why, despite enjoying the use of this neat little gismo, I am still drawn into book stores on a regular basis. There I linger, admire covers, pull titles from the shelves and browse, generally immersing myself in this Aladdin’s Den of the written word. Yes, the ‘real book’ junkie is alive and well and still very much in need of her fix of the genuine article!