Part of the joy of reading for me has always been the ability to share – to share recommendations of books I’ve loved with friends who haven’t read them, to share impressions of books I’ve loved with people who have and, yes, even to share the books themselves.
We have a lot more books than shelf space at home, so I’m always happy to lend books I’ve already read to friends who stop by or to take them down to the office so the girls here can enjoy (or sometimes not) the stories that I have enjoyed.
Reading is on one hand a solitary pastime, but on the other it is very sociable. If you see someone on the bus or the train reading a book you’ve just finished, doesn’t it make you want to strike up a conversation? Where are you up to? What do you think? Isn’t so-and-so horrible etc.?
How is that all going to work in a world of Kindles?
In a train of Kindle-reading passengers, we’ll never know what book anyone is reading. We can share recommendations of books and what we thought of them, but we won’t be able to share the books themselves. Books clubs will continue to exist but libraries won’t…
This rather depressing thought occurred to me the other day when I was chatting with a couple of girls at another company who also have a book-share scheme – or at least did until the prime motivator behind it got himself a Kindle.
And yet I also have a Kindle - and I quite understand the attraction of them, particularly for travelling or going on holiday where it is such an advantage to be able to take as many books with you as you want for no extra suitcase space.
I’m on holiday at the moment and ve been sitting here today (in the rare moments that my kids will let me read in peace) happily reading on my Kindle – and I can tell you I’m really enjoying the book I’m reading.
What’s it called? That I can't tell you. I don’t have a great memory for that sort of thing at the best of times, but now I don’t even have a front cover to turn to…