I think it been too long since I felt the weight of a book in my hands, even though it was only this morning that I finished one. I knew there was something missing while reading eBooks.


The pages of the book were yellow, several had dog ears. There were marks from pens blue, black, red and green, ticks, crosses, and other little scribbled words and notes that made it obvious that for someone, somewhere, this was a textbook. There were parenthesis and numbered lines, points for an essay question no doubt. There were double lines marking the end of section, and I remember my photocopies of notes that bear the same mark denoting ‘end of syllabus’. The point from which you skip the rest of the chapter, and look for the next topic to study.

I hate marks on my book. I even dislike the ridge that is formed along the spine of the paperback when you hold it too wide open. I don’t like the pages to be tattered, though I do not mind when the pages have yellowed with age. I scream every time I see someone nonchalantly put down an open book on its face. Or when they lick a finger to flip a page…

Its dark chocolate hardbound cover is held together by sticky tape, the spine carries the library accession number in white, pasted with transparent cellophane tape. This book awes me when I open it. I do not know what made me pull it out, because there was nothing written on it, nothign to mark it special – perhaps there was nothing all that special about it… My fingers lightly skidded over the spine and then pulled it out, one among shelves and shelves of books, and just like that, I’m transported.

It not only opens the portal of my imagination to the world it speaks of, it frees me to think of those who came before me – I see countless people pouring over it, some studying lines from places, others memorising a special bit they come across. Some chewing nervously on the end of the pen they twirl as they read. (Not a single one with a pencil however, why don’t people use pencils anymore?)

I like the smell of new money, new paper and new books. I also like the beaten and weathered – but not termite eaten – pages and the aroma that takes you to a different world. It’s like living in three realities: that of your physical being, the story that the book carries, and the romance of the book itself. What romance? The one that unfolds when you find a pressed white grass-flower, and you wonder what the book saw. Did a lover wait for another under a tree, nervously pulling up grass? Was it the only gift, and meant to be preserved? Was it just carelessly trapped by an impatient reader too eager to abandon the book for the outdoors?

Or did someone leave a message?

10 responses to “Bibliomaniac

  1. Oh I absolutely agree, E-books can never match the feel of a book in the hand, on entering my room one is bound to find quite a few books scattered around(ones that i am presently reading), my room would never have the same effect with E-books, how would one leave an E-book lying around.

  2. CDs littered around?

    Nah, not the same effect there either. 🙂

  3. I guess I’m a bibliomaniac too.. 🙂

    And hey.. I’ve been using pencils for the last year.. Even for exams!

    Err.. make that pen-pencils.. lol.

  4. I have a book that I’m in love with. I’m sure it has a brilliant story to go with it too…

    It’s a copy of “The complete tales and poems of Edgar Allan Poe”. It’s leatherbound with thick hard black leather, has thick old yellowing pages and the typeface is that gothic yet fashionable bookman antiqua. It smells of dusty bookshelves and tales of gloom, and most importantly its absolutely gorgeous.

    I bought it second hand at blossoms in bangalore for 350 bucks and I think that counts as one of the best deals I’ve ever made. The first time i read “the raven” from that book I was taken by an uncontrollable impulse to read it out loud. Slowly and deliberatley and not surprisingly the intonation and rhythm came of their own accord. The first time i read “The Fall of the House of Usher” from the book, I began sweating from the brilliant atmosphere fear and gloom that Mr.Poe created. The man and that book can be credit with no less an adjective… Genius!

    Looks like i got carried away again. Lovely post, was brilliant all the way until you mentioned the waiting lover in the last paragraph, at which point it got a little too bollywood for me. I’m sorry I’m such a grumpy merciless critic, but the mental image of hema malini with a book under a flowering tree, waiting for jitender was just too much to take. Oh the inhumanity!;-)

  5. i have quite a collection of e-books, but i haven’t finished even one of them…but i don’t really like new books, i prefer used ones..not old, mind u, used….there’s a difference…

  6. hey someone gave me a software for e-books… you just need to switch it on and it reads the book for you… cool na??

    but the real fun to read a book is to “Read the Book!!”

    b.t.w million or less was funny.. 😉

  7. Last weekend I got like 500+ eBooks from P2P and now Im drooling on all..right from Ayn Rand to Dan Brown…you name it…

    I luv MS e-book reader…its installed on ma cel phony ma fav’s travel along with me while Im on a journey.


  8. interesting blog! Open to possibilities!

  9. leon ~ you don’t count. 😛 Well, you do, but 😛 anyway.

    kini ~ My dad just bought me Poe, he tells me, so I’ll be checking it out for myself. 🙂 I’m sorry I’m such a grumpy merciless critic, Don’t be. How else is a girl supposed to learn? I guess it shows when the author doesn’t like something either. Must learn Editing.

    the Monk ~ Used books are fine, old books are fine, new books are fine. 🙂 As you can see, books in all shapes and sizes are fine. I do read books on the screen – sheer desperation (couldn’t get my hands on ‘real’ books) and I use it.

    virdi ~ what software would this be? Sounds interesting. Nothing like reading the book, tho, like you said. Thank you for dropping by on my blog. 🙂

    arz000n ~ You’d be my best freind if you gave me that many eBooks. *sigh* Pity that for all that I write p2p, I don’t use it much. But while travelling – I carry a big fat book or two. I love flipping the pages, and the old fashined way of flipping to the back and sneaking a peak at the end. 😀

    newsandseduction ~ Thank you for your opinion. 🙂

  10. Nothing like reading from a hard bound book, with pages to flip through, to imagine what would lie ahead. Book sometimes makes you feel, co u have something in ur hand more personalised. I remember how it felt to read ‘ Gone with the Wind’ one of my favourites. Even ‘The Fountainhead’.
    I love the smell of freash new books. And those bound covers. Actually new stationary is fine to get me excited. I use pencil on my texts, cos that keeps it new. I hate it when those corner pages of the book sometimes fold- have u noticed?
    Old books, they have their own magic. Yellowing pages wants one to preserve them more- I hve few edgar wallaces that my Grandfather collected. Looks classic
    I agree wit kini

  11. I hate it when those corner pages of the book sometimes fold- have u noticed?
    Yup. Dog ears. HATE them. Especially if they are deliberate. 😀

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