‘Despair, or folly?’ said Gandalf. ‘It is not despair, for despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not. It is wisdom to recognize necessity, when all other courses have been weighed, though as folly it may appear to those who cling to false hope. Well, let folly be our cloak, a veil before the eyes of the Enemy! For he is very wise, and weighs all things to a nicety in the scales of his malice. But the only measure he knows is desire, desire for power; and so he judges all hearts.’
There were rockets like a flight of scintillating birds singing with sweet voices. There were green trees with trunks of dark smoke: there leaves opened like a whole spring unfolding in a moment, and their shining branches dropped glowing flowers down upon the astonished hobbits, disappearing with a sweet scent just before they touched their upturned faces. There were fountains of butterflies that flew glittering into the trees; there were pillars of coloured fires that rose and turned into eagles, or sailing ships, or a phalanx of flying swans; there was a red thunderstorm and a shower of yellow rain; there was a forest of silver spears that sprang suddenly into the air with a yell like an embattled army, and came down again into the Water with a hiss like a hundred hot snakes.
-Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
I love real, paper back books. I love holding them, I love the feeling of them, I love folding down the corners of pages to remind myself of a really great passage, I love writing in them. . .
I get it.
I love real books.
But I’ve always thought the electronic book hate opinion to be pretentious. Kindles and such are so amazing; the quality of the story is not affected and you can bring so many stories with you, anywhere in the world, easily. E-book hate is pretentious.
But today I picked up my worn out copy of LOTR Fellowship of the Ring and started my umpteenth reread of the novel
and I think I became pretentious.
I was reading it all day; started in the morning, continued on the train to school, then on the train back home. . . and nothing unusual hit me.
Then I drank a bunch of wine and champagne while watching the debate. After it was over, I continued reading, kinda tipsy, and the scent of the pages hit me.
Oh man, they smelt so good.
That musty, worn scent came over me and reminded me of all the times I had picked up my Lord of the Rings novels to escape what was going on in my real life. The emotions associated with the brilliant fantasy of the story but also, the emotions associated with the physical act of picking up my worn out Tolkien book, came right to the forefront of my soul.
I’ve lost/left behind so many books over the years, not worrying about it, knowing that the stories are out there for me to access whenever I please.
Maybe I’m getting old. Maybe I’m growing up. Maybe I’m becoming pretentious. But personal, physical copies of books ARE THE BEST. end of story.