One of the pleasures of the physical book, as opposed to ebooks, is the value it confers beyond the words within it. Many of us find, despite potential minimalist inclinations, there are books we don’t want to let go of. Part of the pleasure of the book is to look at it.
What does a blue book evoke for you? As a colour of the mind that is also essentially soothing, blue might be ideal for books – although perhaps not for my novel, Underneath, which has some decidedly disturbing moments. I wonder if the colour blue accounts for the comfort some of us feel around bookshops and libraries; something the characters of novels feel as much as their readers, as these quotations from novels I’ve reviewed some time ago testify:
I closed my eyes for a moment and exhaled. A vision passed before my eyes: the library at Terenure College, a place where I would have given anything to be at that moment. Chaos in the stacks. Someone shelving William Golding’s Rites of Passage trilogy in the wrong order. Claire Kilroy’s novels mixed up with Claire Keegan’s stories. It was at moments like this that I wished I was there to fix things, instead of here, having to dig deep to discover some personal problem that I could probably be unable to solve anyway. Why did they come to me anyway, me who knew nothing of life?
John Boyne A History of Loneliness p129
He found several shelves full of old editions of classical writers and began vaguely browsing, hoping to find a cheap edition of Virgil’s Aeneid, which he had only ever read in a borrowed copy. It wasn’t really the great poem of antiquity that Dorrigo Evans wanted though, but the aura he felt around such books – an aura that both radiated outwards and took him inwards to another world that said to him that he was not alone.
Richard Flanagan The Narrow Road to the Deep North p62-3
As it’s the last day of November, a quick update on my non-Nano project: I’m a mere 250 words short of where I hoped to be today, although the story has stretched itself a little beyond my estimated 80,000 words so I’ll probably be at it for another week or so. As for my reading, I’ve reviewed nine novels and one non-fiction book this month: click on the image to check any you might have missed.