The launch of the Kindle got me thinking about all the things an e-reader can never be. You can't inscribe it to a loved one or press flowers between it's pages. It can never be an object, loved and cherished and passed from person to person, with any history. Your children cannot draw upon the pages and fill it with precious memories. Illustrations look terrible on it, especially art, which needs a grand scale. For these reasons and many more, help me celebrate the real thing: dusty old books!

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Saviour Pirotta: Things that Kindle can't do yet...

From Saviour Pirotta comes a lovely collection of things found inside books. Thanks, Saviour for permission to post!

"In a comment in his wonderful blog DUSTY OLD BOOKS, James Mayhew observed, Just this weekend in a sunday newspaper a journalist was saying how she was looking forward to "not having a dusty pile of books beside the bed". And I thought: I LOVE my pile of dusty books beside the bed, finding lost books, finding books I didn't know I had, finding letters or pressed flowers inside, inscriptions and postcards; memories of a previous reading in another place. All this quite apart from illustrations and the actual words intended by the author!

It made me think of the ephemera I have left in my books over the years:

train and bus tickets from journeys in other countries;
paper napkins with bar logos;
restaurant bills from special meals, messages out of fortune cookies, theatre and concert tickets, notes from meetings with editors, party invitations, even sweet and chocolate wrappers.

Who will find them when my books pass into new hands?

And will their new owners pause to think about the person who placed them there?

Will they try to imagine what I looked like, what I thought of the meals I had eaten, the shows I had seen, the places I visited?

I certainly treasure the things I find in old books. I think of them as the bookmarks of someone else's life.

Sometimes, just for fun, I try to make up stories about them, imagining different ways how, why and when they ended up in these books?

Here are a few things I have discovered nestling between yellowed pages over the years.

What do you make of them?"

Saviour Pirotta.

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