An interesting article was publishing recently, which spoke to the benefits of reading paper books. I highly suggest you read it, even if you prefer onscreen reading. In the article, it talks about how actually physically turning the pages of a book helps you to absorb the story, as well as giving you a sense of control—you can flip back and forth as you choose, fold pages, and even feel a sense of completion at the end of a page or chapter. Not things that you can generally do with e-books. I know that some allow you control, depending on your ereader, but not all.
This article got me thinking about the different ways that books can influence our minds, even in the simplest of forms. For me, they are a means to time travel, a comfort “food”, and landmarks of learning and experiences.
For example, when I open a book that I have read before, I am instantly taken back to the first time that I read it. The smells, the time of year, the emotions that I was feeling—all of it floods back and it helps me to put everything, not just the book, into perspective. Perhaps I was reading the book at a stressful time, and now, coming back to it, I am proud of how I improved my situation.
Then there are those times when I want to feel the way I did before. When I pick up a book that I was reading during a happy, comfortable time in my life and those feelings return to make me feel safe, happy, and whole. How every page will remind me of a home cooked meal at my grandparents, or a snowy night curled up in a pile of blankets. Sometimes I pick up those books not because I want to read the story again, but because I want to remember what it was like when I read that story.
Or how a realization in a book caused me to change the way that I thought, or taught me something I hadn’t known before. Tracing the arc of your thought process, and attributing that change or tangent to a book can be a phenomenal experience. It proves that authors who we have never met, and who we will never know, can influence our minds, and even our souls. Books go a lot deeper than just words on a page.
I have always read books in a way that they touch every one of my senses. I remember the feel of the cover and the pages, the small of the paper and ink, the taste of the sesame snaps I was eating while I read, the sound of the rain and snow outside of the window, and the bright sun or soft lamp that showed me the words. Each one brings something different to me, from an experience that I had before.
I know that the ebook debate will rage on for years, just as the serial comma debate, but I want to know where you stand, and if that article set the gears in your mind to working.
Do you read ebooks or paper books, and do you find that you experience them differently? Are you an “all senses” reader, and if so, do you still find that you get the same experience from onscreen reading?