Sunday, 4 September 2011

The Beauty of Old Books

I always find that there is a beauty in old books. 

I enjoy going to the library and picking up a book that someone else has previously read and hopefully enjoyed. I love flicking through yellowing, crisp pages and I personally find dog-eared pages a hallmark of approval- they suggest that the book has been read many times, hopefully the original owner will have gone back to the story time and time again. 

Sometimes when I go to the library for research into whatever essay I am writing at the time (unfortunately doing an English degree means that I do not get to read for leisure any more) I deliberately choose the most tattiest looking edition on the shelf. Hopefully when I open the book there will be lots of meaningful scribbles and annotations which can offer an amazing insight into the text that I have missed. 

image from
One of the best parts of acquiring a new book is discovering what is hidden within it. This can be an inscription, either mundane or loving or a receipt or an old shopping list that one of the original owners used to mark the page, or an old photograph. All of these little artefacts, however insignificant bring humanity back to the front of my mind- someone else has touched this book and read the same words I am reading. On a frugal point old books are cheap. They can be acquired for free from a library or cheaply from Amazon, Ebay and charity shops. In addition, buying old books is recycling. 

I can understand why some people may want an e-reader: maybe they enjoy the portability that they offer or value the copious amount of text that they can hold, but for me crawling under a blanket with an old tatty book is the only way to read. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm with you on the book front... I can't resist a second hand book shop- infact I work in one! I too spend a lot of time looking inside hoping for an interesting inscription, bookmark, letter, pencil notes in the margins, newspaper clippings...
    Good Luck with the blog!