Why I Love Books: July Roundup

If there’s one thing I love more than reading books, it’s setting goals. In July I planned to learn palm-reading, make spanikopita, perfect my cartwheel, memorize about 200 dinosaur genera, and read Finnegan’s Wake. Sadly, I’m much better at making goals than I am at accomplishing them. I gave up on the cartwheels when I almost broke my neck (and flashed the neighbors) on my first try. I gave up on the dinosaur genera when I realized that the only people I could feasibly impress with that knowledge belong in the 10-and-under demographic. I’ve been on page sixteen of Finnegan’s Wake since last Tuesday. Oh well, there’s always August.

  • Print vs. E-book: the epic showdown. I’ve been waffling about getting an e-reader for the past three months. Pros: portable, will make me appear high-tech even though in reality I’m still trying to figure out how to switch my GPS back from Cantonese to English. Cons: will break if I drop it.
  • The olfactory factor. Books smell good; e-readers don’t. In fact, book-sniffing is one of my favorite hobbies, which might explain why I’m blacklisted at some bookstores. There’s actually some hard science behind the smell of old books. That maple syrup scent comes from compounds breaking down in the wood pulp of the pages. Who knew? Now I just have to figure out how to recreate that smell artificially and insert it into an e-reader. New goal.
  • Can your e-reader do this? Thought not.
  • How to explain the e-reader to Charles Dickens. Art student Rachel Walsh had a novel idea.
  • Let me know when they make an e-book library. Amendment: let me know when it looks like one of these. Until then, I’m sticking with print.
  • Color-coded bookshelves. Oh man. I’m smitten.
  • Literary Enigmas.  In 1912, book dealer Wilfrid Voynich acquired a medieval manuscript in an unknown script. The author, language, and content of the Voynich manuscript are still a mystery. My money’s on 15th-century alien visitors in cahoots with Paul McCartney’s time-traveling ghost.
  • Childrens’ books as sociological benchmarks. Check out this side-by-side comparison of the original 1963 version of Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever and the revised version published in 1991.
  • Speaking of political correctness, here are some of Hemingway’s long-lost, unpublished blond jokes.

Goals for August: color-code my bookshelves, invent an e-reader that smells like old books, develop a cipher to decode the Voynich Manuscript. If I start feeling ambitious, I might even read page 17 of Finnegan’s Wake. No promises, though. I’m trying to be more realistic this time around.

— Jordan Castelloe, Blog Intern

3 Comments On This Post:

July 28, 2011
1:45 pm
Melinda D. says...

I’m a Luddite when it comes to e-readers, for many of the reasons you talk about. Why give up bookshelves and libraries for something so sterile?

(I also laughed out loud reading your goals set vs. goals accomplished comparison; good to know I’m not the only one who does that!)

August 6, 2011
3:19 am
Patti Del says...

I was nodding the whole time I was reading this! I feel the same way about books…not to mention just the joy of *holding* a book & turning the pages (peeking perhaps) with a real, book! I didn’t like ebooks from the start- and I know I couldn’t be swayed. Oh, and another reason? I like to notate in books, if they are learning books- same with cookbooks…and a MAGAZINE???!! Oh, don’t let them even GO there- I love my samples, coupons and being able to cut things out.
Can you believe people, including deal ol Mom have called me Old fashioned? Yes, in that sense, I stand firm-I am old fashioned. I am me, hear me turn those pages, rip that magazine article out, and ooh & ahh over that perfume sample that makes that magazine smell good!

February 8, 2012
12:54 am
Prativa B says...

Loved your post ! Needless to say am a book junkie! Need an overdose of my olfactory senses otherwise reading is incomplete . Tried, yes did try to read ’21 steps’ online … but no ,lost the plot somewhere between chapters 6 n 7. No disrespect to the author…just prefer the google map n my head.
Your issue with goals, sounds familiar !
Enjoyed your blog.

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