When ebooks came along, I embraced the idea. I could download and read books on my laptop.
Of course despite being pretty portable, it's not easy to curl up in bed with a laptop and mine got particularly cumbersome when its battery pack died and it became a mains powered device only ! Beds and cables do not mix well.
Then I got a smartphone and the Kindle app and suddenly I was in heaven. Well ok in bed actually where I do most of my reading but now with a much smaller hot throbbing device with me.
(You people make me sick !)
Anyway, as I'm tight and wanted only free books, I was mostly restricted to the classics. This turned out to be a good thing as I discovered I'd not actually read most of the classics I thought I had read. Seems I'd watched the movies but not read the books ! For shame.
And so, over the years, I've worked my way through Treasure Island, A Tale of Two Cities, Dracula, Great Expectations and so on. Brill......and there are plenty left to get through.
Now reading a book on a smartphone is all well and good but the screen is a tad on the small side. If I could afford a tablet, that would be better but of course they are bigger than books so why bother ? Well you get a bucket load of books on one tablet so that would be reason enough.
But I haven't got a tablet so the point is a moot one.
I love that word.
So last night I finished another classic on my smartphone and really didn't fancy starting another. I fancied a book. A proper paper book. I went looking on the shelves. Bookshelves.
I came upon a paperback version of The Hobbit and despite the cover being curled and the pages being more yellow than white, I took it to bed with me like a treasured friend.
Whoa. Dammit, that didn't come out right. Oh well.......
So after taking my pills (the only tablets I can afford) and lying on the bed so the ceiling fan could cool me down, I started reading this 1974 printing of The Hobbit.
"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit."
I was hooked immediately but I have to admit, the image of Bilbo Baggins going into his des res hill house at the start of Lord of the Rings popped into my head. A bit different from a simple hole in the ground which is what I'd have been imagining if I'd never seen the movie.
So already the movie of the NEXT book was forming images in my mind and on it went. As the book in my hand described the layout of this 'hole' with all its twists and turns and furnished rooms, I was so there. So there in the movie version of the 'hole' that is. A very Hollywood hobbit 'hole'. Lovely wood everywhere, fitted kitchen, luxury fixtures and fittings - so much so that if you'd stopped off at the concession area for popcorn and a drink and arrived in the theatre after Bilbo had entered his 'hole', you'd have thought he was in a modern apartment in Manhattan !
This brings up the whole can of worms that is.....movie first or book first ?
The only time this applied to me was with The Sum Of All Fears by Tom Clancy. I'd bought the book at an airport store for reading on a long flight and then saw the movie on tv some years later. That was enough to tell me never to do that again. Bits cut out, bits added, characters removed and new ones inserted.
No, for me its either/or.......but not both.
Hmmm if this blog post had a point, I seem to have forgotten it. Lost the plot, you might say.
Oh yes, paper books versus electronic books.
Well unlike with books versus movies based on those books, I'm coming down on the side of.......both.
Both have their place and obviously if you want to have reading material for a 6 month holiday you'll want an ebook device or risk a hernia and excess baggage charges with all those books.
But now and then there is nothing like reading the real thing. The smell alone is worth it. I'm not sure what Bilbo's 'hole' smells like (dammit again) but reading about it has come to life already in this well thumbed 1974 edition of the story. Slighty musty with a faint aroma of sweaty feet.
Well I did say I was lying on top of the bed so those were probably mine.
Now would that have happened with an iPad ? I think not.