i have it. bad.

this was reinforced last night when i picked up my latest random acquisition from the library; a book called The Rain Before it Falls by Jonathan Coe. this book is not only enjoyable to read, with a breathtakingly lovely premise and resonant singing prose, but it is a pleasure to touch and feel and hold in my hands. i am a great lover of the tactile merits of books, and this one is a beauty. a hardback from the library, i can’t strip it of its cover like i am wont to do left to my own devices, c’est la vie. it is otherwise delightful. taller and narrower than a typical hardback, the pages are an ever-so-slightly thicker than usual weight of paper finished in an uneven pseudo hand hewn edging that is a true delight to take hold of when the time comes to turn the page; soft and fringe-y. there are no heading numbers on the chapters, and i find this attractive for its spareness. the overall physical presence of this book is as lovely as what is unfolding in its pages, and that is a rare treat indeed.

and i realize this is something i haven’t thought about very much, but that i have definite opinions about. i like the variety of surfaces a hardback can offer; some are smooth and satiny in their paperstock, others have a more clothlike exterior with a nubbly texture that provides a satisfying grip. in terms of bed-friendliness (i must read myself to sleep at night or not get there at all) i prefer a stiff cardstock cover paperback of the type that are becoming more popular. they are larger and more enjoyable to hold than the standard paperback novel (though these cant be beat for one-handed-splayed-fingers reading while doing something else). they are also nicer to look at on the shelf; which i will admit has caused me more than a few times to spend extra money on the edition with the nicer spine and cover. silly, but a powerful motivator for me nonetheless.

listening to NPR the other day they were discussing the merits of various electronic reading devices and that same inner librarian i was mentioning yesterday shuddered at the notion of giving up a paper book to be held in hand. the weight of the text in my fingers, smell of ink and paper, the sound of the page as i turn through from one to the next; all these add in small but crucial ways to the pleasure i take in  discovering a book in full. i suppose one could say i want to know a book. in the biblical sense.