I am a typical holiday book reader. I love nothing more than breaking into a book on a beach and, until a few years ago, I point blank refused to betray my love of books and commit the ultimate sin of a Kindle purchase.
This all changed when backpacking through Asia with my brother, who mocked me every time I tried to re-pack my backpack with an pile of books spilling out of the top, “just buy a Kindle you fool”. He was right of course, backpacking with books was silly and so I resigned myself to downloading books onto his Kindle and ordered one of my own for my next trip away.
Since the Covid-19 outbreak, I have been forcing myself to listen to podcasts. This was a whole new experience and I found myself laughing as I learnt new skills and reminisced with presenters whilst cooking my tea. I think my newfound enjoyment of podcasts was a result of being home without regular adult interaction, and so while they serve a great purpose and I will continue to listen to them, for me, they don’t quite match the joy of books.
Audiobooks…I’m not quite there yet, my journeys are too short (I have a six-minute commute to work).
The long-distance drivers, cyclists and walkers among my friends tell me audiobooks have become an essential part of their travel. I, however, cannot yet imagine a world where I swap any allocated reading time with listening to Stephen Fry narrate to me!
But with life becoming so fast paced, are these technologies better than no book at all?
The answer will be different for each one of us, and likely depends on why we want to read or listen to books in the first place, if at all.
I myself read books to sometimes learn and sometimes relax and switch off, I believe in either scenario, my brain needs to be quieter and less distracted with activities such as driving, cooking, running or cleaning, but that’s just me.
If I had any exams around the corner, I could enlist the help of audiobooks to aid my revision and further learning, perhaps I would relish this, equally if I spent any time in the car on my own.
Read bookstore in Holmfirth is a beautiful shop, I could spend days reading the blurb of every book – if only I had the time!
Now I know you can buy a book from a multinational conglomerate technology company and have next day delivery at an often-reduced price, and yes, I have been known to place the odd order (sorry Read) but you can’t beat the irresistible smell of books which greets you as you walk through the door of Read.
The staff are always eager to help you find what you’re looking for, even offering special recommendations, they speak to your children and ask them who their favourite fictional character is – a personal, happy experience, not just a purchase!
My personal conclusion is this, I have and always will buy books, I refuse to let them go out with the dinosaurs and I don’t think they will, in fact, they seem to be on the rise again.
Like many of us, I must make it my mission to find the time to stop and read them. It’s not just reading that is good for our brain development and learning, it’s the allocated downtime without social media, T.V. or emails. If you’re reading this thinking you’ve managed to establish a good balance, please do share your secret!
I will, however, use my Kindle for travel and listen to podcasts whilst cooking, now that’s what I call progress.
Like my brother pointed out “you are somewhat committed, having carried a book halfway around the world to grin, bear and finish it, even if the story is terrible, a Kindle allows you to download something you actually enjoy at the next Wi-fi signal point!”