Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pulp Fiction : Sense And Sensibility


I bought a book yesterday. Now that might not seem like a big deal to you, but it was to me. It is the first time in almost four months that I have actually bought a book, and by book I mean one of those thick things made out of paper and glossy cardboard. When I invested in a Kindle last December I decided to give it a decent trial period, imagining that it would take some time to get used to the transition from parchment to pixel. However, I was surprised how easy the change was, Kindles are sturdy little things that can be tucked in almost any available pocket. When you fell asleep at night they always remember the page you were reading and these days the range of titles you could buy is enough to keep any bookworm burrowing. Whilst some of the digital offerings were annoyingly expensive, Amazon did a daily deal where you could graze the genres for just 99p a bite. You could download first chapters free and carry a library around with the ease of an elephant. All praise the mighty Kindle!

I recall once reading that the majority of vegetarians who had fallen off the wagon, did so when they had unexpectedly come upon the smell of a bacon sandwich. And yesterday was a bacon sandwich moment for me - whilst undergoing the misery of "shopping" with the GLW, I passed a bookshop. I have been in bookshops since the Kindle Epiphany, but simply to browse, to research downloading possibilities. I had found the experience somewhat grubby and unsatisfying, a bit like walking down those back streets in Amsterdam and looking at the ladies sat in the windows. Something happened yesterday, something different. I fell off the wagon, I bought a book. In many ways it is an annoying thing; it wont fit comfortably in my jacket pocket, it gets dog-eared and beer-stained and, I suspect, it will not last for ever. But as I left the shop with my guilty purchase suitably wrapped in a brown paper bag, my heart danced with joy. All praise the mighty book!

Oh, I know what you are all going to say - there is a place in this rich and complex life we lead for both Kindles and, for the want of a better phrase, what we could call, quite accurately, pulp fiction. I am sure it is true and you won't be seeing my Kindle for sale on EBay any time soon. Kindles make good sense; they are easy, practical and good for the environment. But books, real books, pulp fiction, they have sensibility and sensuality and they make the hell of shopping just a little more bearable.

19 comments:

  1. I bought a big fat book at the Prado in Madrid last week - the official guide, full of lovely pictures and details about the paintings. It was a bit heavy to tote around, but worth it.

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  2. Like you, a Kindle convert, but there are some books that are so much better in 'pulp' form, and dare I say it, hardback.

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  3. I have both the Kindle app and the Google Books app on my smartphone, and I have plenty of books to read on them, but I still have a library card and read "hard copy" just about as much as I used to. Both media have their advantages.

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  4. I haven't crossed over to Kindle --yet; for all its virtues, I really would miss seeing th stacks of books that accumulate on my nightstand, bookshelves and floor space. Having said that, I'm writing this on my iPod and I never thought I'd get one of these, much less love it!
    Loved your bacon sandwich analogy and I don't eat meat!

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  5. This is a very interesting piece

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  6. I am a diehard pulpy book lover. I can't stand shopping for clothes, but a book store is another thing altogether. I am so happy to read you've paid a recent visit to the dark side.

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  7. I use my mobile phone to read books on planes and the like, but there's nothing quite like a real book, especially as it thumps shut as you doze off.

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  8. I have not yet crossed the Rubicon, though with a big birthday coming up soon, who knows... I can't imagine a Kindle ever being quite as satisfying as a real book, though I do see their virtues in terms of portability. It's sad though that at the rate bookshops are closing, it inevitably means soon there will be none and the pleasure of browsing will be lost forever. So it behoves us all to buy the odd book sometimes.

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  9. Horses for courses, Alan. Like you, I have a place in my life for both formats. Are we allowed to know the title of the book in question? It wasn't Half Blood Blues was it? That's on my list of books to read.

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    1. Indeed it was Martin although I have not started reading it yet - still finishing off one on the Kindle.

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  10. Hi Alan .. good for you - I don't have a Kindle, but an army of books here - some mine, some my mothers ... I'm trawling to take them to the Hospice shop for sale ... I'll be keeping a load too ...

    I hate to say I was in Asda and for some reason looked at the books and they had one of 1066 - this part of the world - but on Hereward the Wake - and it had a good synopsis and write-up, while the author appeared to be intelligent - so I bought it!! It is well-written and I'm learning things I didn't know - I started it .. but that's as far as it's got ...

    I picked up a Joanna Trollope to read about South Africa - and found mention of Emily Hobhouse .. a distant relative I blogged about last year .. interesting she was featured by Joanna Trollope ....

    I'll get a Kindle one day - will I do more reading .. I have no idea - cheers for now - and enjoy your book!!! Happy Reading .. Hilary

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  11. I have not yet succumbed to the lure of the Kindle, but it's only a matter of time! Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy your pulp fiction for more then just the relief it brought you from shopping.

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  12. I have a Kindle on my iPad. But there are still libraries out there! Check out today's post. For some reason it is also about books! Like minds?

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  13. You cover all aspects of both sides. I'm a library user so I don't usually buy books. We can also rent kindles

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  14. What a fun story. Yes, I'm sure there is room in your life for both your kindle and the real book. And I'd never be able to pass up a bacon sandwich! ha.

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  15. This is why I have shelves overflowing with books and a kindle by the bedside. I thought I would donate to the local library, but I can't seem to let go of even one. I do love my Kindle, but it will never replace a real book.

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  16. Books from charity shops is the way I go . But have also read several on my iPad.........good for reading in bed as you can keep your arms warm under the duvet, apart from page turning !

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  17. Good post. I agree, there is room for both. I have a sony ereader but have not bought many books for it - I cant quite bring myself in preference to paper - though I do like the experience or reading on the screen

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  18. Although I'm way behind the times in commenting, I must say I found this an interesting post--I've been thinking of getting a Kindle, tho probably can't afford one right now, & am not sure which model I would buy given the chance. Interesting about the bacon sandwich--as someone who is a sort of unofficial borderline vegetarian, I must say bacon & good sausage are hard to pass up!

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