ebook? no thanks

As I get older and the memory starts to fade, I’ve noticed there are certain things I still remember as clearly now as the day they happened, and many of them have one thing in common. They were firsts. The first goal I scored playing football. The first birthday party I was invited to. The first poster I put on my bedroom wall. The first time I rode a bike. The first day of my paper round, and the first music record I bought from the money I earned from it. These things happened when I was very young and there are other examples from when I was a bit older. My first day joining the Royal Navy being one. I was sixteen years old.

Then there’s another memory. The day I bought my first book.

“There’s nothing like a good book,” my grandmother used to say. I was a child at the time and my only literature was football comics that were printed weekly or monthly. It took reaching adulthood to fully understand what she meant.

I was on holiday leave from the Royal Navy. It was a typically wet day in my home town of Swansea and I was waiting for a bus to take me into the village. The rain was getting heavier and the bus stop had no shelter. There was a second-hand bookshop on the corner. It had been there all my life but I had never actually gone inside. Good place to dry off I thought, so I went in. There were hundreds of books stacked unevenly on shelves, a layer of dust covering them. I picked one up at random. It was called The Big Sleep and the writer’s name was Raymond Chandler. The price was 25p. It was worn and used but the vintage cover caught my attention. Also, the smell of the pages, the feeling when the fingers turned them. 25p, why not? I started to read it on the bus and I didn’t stop until it was finished! Two days later I went back to the same bookshop and bought five more!

Moving forward to the 2020’s many people now read eBooks. It has its advantages of course but for me personally, the paper book cannot be replaced. The images on the covers, the smell of the pages and the feeling when the fingers turn them. My grandmother was right. “There’s nothing like a good book.”

Nick Evans

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