While I love my Kindle (the instant gratification got me), I'm still on the fence about buying books. When I moved to Austin, I culled my five bookshelves down to one bookshelf full of favorites and first editions. I love to run my hands along the spines, turning them over in my hands, flipping through paper pages and reading my notes in the margins (yes, I like to underline things and write in my books). Sure, I can keep thousands at my fingertips with my Kindle Fire, but I cannot bring myself to get rid of these last shelves, these paper memories, these literary giants that sit side-by-side in tidy rows. Vonnegut lives here. Hemingway lives here. O'Connor lives and lives and lives again.
I stumbled across this Etsy shop recently and fell in love with the inspired illustrations with quotes from literary greats. I want to buy them all, hang them so they can be seen from where I work most often (living room, couch, laptop).
F. Scott Fitzgerald makes my heart beat faster. T.S. Eliot makes me want to spill all of my secrets. Jane Austen makes me want to write letters that I'll never send.
I went to Barnes & Noble earlier this week with a friend and we ended up sitting on the floor of an aisle in fiction, leafing through paperbacks (even as we looked up e-books on our phones), pulling books from the shelves based on covers alone, putting our faces close to the open pages and inhaling the paper and ink and wondering if we're going to be the last generation who knows what book stores smell like. Will we someday try to describe it to younger people, our reading glasses perched on noses twitching as we struggle to bring the sense memories back, wishing we would have bottled it way back when, closing our eyes as we remember what it felt like to turn the paper pages? I think yes. We writers love our books. We writers are going to have to be curators of paper museums, preservationists of ink smudges, storytellers of the printed word.