Ménage à trois. Literary.

by - Sunday, October 05, 2014

OK, maybe that wasn't the best of puns but it made me laugh and hopefully peaked your interest. Anyhow, since I consider myself a lover and collector of books, I wanted to talk about the different formats of literature and poetry offered to us in this day and age. 

So what does the trick for you, a printed book, an e-book or an audiobook?

OK, I'll be completely honest here. Up until a little over a year ago I was one of those people that refused to consider reading anything else but a printed book that I could hold in my hands. You see, I'm in complete and utter love with the feeling of it. The discernible smell of a new book just out of the press or the tattered pages of an older book, yellowed by time that has long been and gone. The joy of flipping these pages and discover new worlds, meet new people, be instilled with new hopes and dreams. I know all this sounds too romantic, but my love for books started at a very early age and to this day it remains as pure and idealized as it was at its very beginning. But I also have a pet peeve. One that, in its own peculiar way, forced me into looking up for alternatives. 

I absolutely hate mistreating my books. I don't mind it really when a book comes to my possession from a previous owner and has signs of usage. On the contrary, I quite appreciate the love it received. But! The way I show love to my books is by keeping them in pristine condition. No creases on the spine, no folding of the pages to mark where I stopped, no carrying in a handbag, nothing at all (seriously, most of my books look as if they haven't been read at all when in reality I may have read them more than just once). And that is perfectly fine when I'm at home and I can just sit on my sofa and enjoy reading while drinking my coffee, but what happens when I have to commute? Or travel in general?

That's more or less how e-books came to become part of my everyday life. And, keeping up with the spirit of honesty, I have to admit that they've made it a lot easier. 

I still remember the first time I used an i-pod to read while on the bus to work and how convenient I thought it was. How, during my hour break at work I sat and read more, which made me feel less tired. And how, after repeating that for a few days, I chose to buy an e-reader to make it easier for my eyes. Saying that, I feel like I have to explain myself, as if I'm somehow cheating on my printed books that are patiently waiting on my bookshelves to be read, but e-books appeal to the OCD part of my personality. I don't have to worry about mistreating books anymore, yet I get to read them on the go. Perfect, right? Plus, I don't have to keep my bedside light on at night when reading. BUT! (there's always a but, isn't it?) Besides losing that physical relationship you get to have with a printed book, there is one massive con when it comes to e-books and that is relying on a machine's battery life. I know it's the obvious con, but when your e-reader decides it's time to shut down when you're in the middle of a very intense scene, I personally get frustrated first, then enraged, then frustrated all over again!

There is also a third way of enjoying your beloved book or author, which requires no reading whatsoever. No, I haven't lost my mind (not yet at least), I'm only talking of audiobooks.

I don't know about you, but audiobooks bring back childhood memories of long afternoons spent in a room filled with the voices of many actors narrating children stories (some of them I loved so much I memorized and can narrate them by heart even now) to me and my sister. My favourite story from back then (which to this day makes me cry) introduced me later in life to the wonderful works of Oscar Wilde, which I'm more than grateful, but (see, here it is again!) I find myself unable to enjoy them anymore. I can say with certainty that picking people with soothing voices to narrate the stories makes me either sleepy or, after usually about 10 minutes listening, the words just turn into background noise that makes me zone out unintentionally and think of completely irrelevant things. 

Now I know that this format is indeed extremely loved, especially among people that hate reading but love a good story. And I'm not saying I have completely given up on them myself either. While trying to find something more suited to my preferences I discovered audio dramas. To help you understand the difference between the two, imagine listening to a movie. You get to hear environmental sounds, music and more than just one actor. That's what an audio drama is. They are still considered a form of audiobook and they're definitely the ones I prefer the most. 

Before I close this post, I wanted to share some pictures I found on the net while looking for inspiration. They are about the ongoing battle(?) between printed books and e-books. If you ask my opinion, there is no battle there, any form that gives people the ability to enjoy reading is more than welcome, but I found some of those really funny, especially the one where the printed book does "the splits".

I know this was one long post but I'm hoping you enjoyed it. Let me know what you think on the subject, what is your favourite format and by all means, please offer me suggestions as it comes to new book titles, I'm eager and all ears!

Until next time,


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