For the love of paperbacks

I’m an early adopter of all things technology. Well most things technology at least. Okay whatever-gets-through-my-brain technology. And I love it.

I love my Kindle more than my phone and that’s saying something. Even if there’s no chance of reading anything, I make sure I have it with me because who knows I might get stuck in traffic and whatever will I do? I do have other reading apps on my phone as well (ahem, for instance Juggernaut who published one of my books in 2016 and will publish 2 more this year) and I do get down to reading books there at times when I don’t have my Kindle with me.

Of late, I’ve stopped buying paperbacks because, well, no space. But I’ve realised to my horror that there are so many paperbacks (gifts and books I’ve bought at book launches) and even a couple of hardbound books that I haven’t got down to reading yet because of the Kindle. Some of these paperbacks are nearly 2 to 3 years old.

I’ve made a deliberate decision to stay away from the Kindle until I’ve finished all those books now. And yes, it’s working. I recently finished Kanchana Bannerjee’s A Forgotten Affair, Jane De Suza’s Happily Never After and Nandita Bose’s Shadow and Soul. (Okay yes, they’re all my friends and friends do get priority over others) when it comes to vying for my reading time but there are others as well.

I feel guilty very easily and I’m surprised at myself for not having done this earlier because all these books had been sitting on my bedside table, watching me reach for the Kindle every night, shooting their resentment at me. I mean I’m surprised I didn’t act on the guilt already. And no, this isn’t a New Year resolution or anything because I don’t do those but it does feel good to accomplish even something as small as making sure all the paperbacks on my bedside table are done with.

But all this has made me realise that just because the Kindle doesn’t take up much space, and I can carry it around everywhere with me, I’ve kind of forgotten the joy of carrying an actual book in my bag for those times when I must have something to read. In college, I remember most of us would have a paperback (Psst…romance most likely) hiding inside their backpacks, to read between classes or sometimes even during classes. Also those nice fat paperbacks were our guilty pleasures, books we could reach out to during the angsty mess that was our teenage years.

Even before that, as kids, for us books were a special treat. (There just weren’t that many bookstores when I was a child, unless you made the trip to Gangarams or Higginbothams) I remember looking forward to airport visits (REALLY. Also I was  a kid a long time ago and the airport was actually a fun place to go to) because there’d be a book stall from where I’d wheedle my parents into getting me a book. The anticipation of getting back home and curling up on the sofa to read the book is really one of the best things ever.

But once something becomes a part of you, you just can’t change as easily. Recently, my kids dragged me to a book sale where Kid 1 made me buy one of the The Vampire Diaries books (and he actually read it). I don’t know how or why. I don’t really care as long as he reads something. Kid 2 picked up comics and I returned empty handed. Why? I looked up the interesting titles and made a note to pick up the Kindle version.