Okay, I confess, I am a bit of a technophobe. I am getting around this because I have to,
because that is the way things are, and I am becoming more comfortable with technology, with social media and all that this entails… well, a little bit! But here are some things you should
know: I don’t possess a smartphone (gasp) and I don’t have a Mac (even bigger gasp) oh, and I don’t have a kindle (stop gasping I say!) And here’s the biggy… I don’t want a kindle. No,
really, I don’t. I can see all the advantages that people frequently tell me about, while at the same time still shaking my head… “They’re good on planes”, so’s a book… “They’re good when you
go on holiday”, so are books… “They take up less room in your suitcase”, pack fewer shoes.
My mind resists them.
I can feel the kindle barriers go up at the merest hint of a mention…“Have you got a k….” VROOM! They’re up! But I appear to be in the minority, and feel that, as a writer that I
should embrace what could very well be my future. In fact, WILL be my future. ‘ Buttercup
Magic: A Mystery for Megan’, the first of my new series of books, due out in April 2012, is going to be an e-book – honestly, it says so on the back! Should I be pleased? I AM pleased, of course I am, but only because I know I should be. I have tried to examine the reasons for my resistance. My findings are as follows:
- We always had books at home – lots of them. As a child, my mum would read my favourite,
CS Lewis’s, ‘The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe’ to me night after
night. She would sit on the bed beside me, turn the pages, twist them round to show me when there was a picture, and put a book mark (remember them?) between the pages.
- I loved the Asterix books and comics and would devour them, laying them out at our dining room table and copying the wonderful pictures.
- As a teenager I would spend hours knelt by my parents’ bookcase, pulling books off the shelves, holding my nose to them and breathing in that lovely smell that only books have, turning the pages. Even if I didn’t actually read them, I would explore them and immerse myself in them. I remember as a teenager reading Germaine Greer’s ‘The Female Eunuch’, a collection of Sylvia Plath’s poems, and dibbing in to Gerald Durrell’s ‘My Family and Other Animals’, flicking to the pictures and marvelling at the way the paper became whiter and silkier on the pages
where the pictures were, at the covers and the little illustrations that decorated the spines.
- My mum had, as it turns out, one of the earliest editions of Cecily M Barker’s ‘The Flower Fairies’, and had traced around some of the fairies in pencil, leaving a light pencil imprint on the other side of the picture. This fascinated me, along with the triangles missing from the corners of pages and the pages that slacked as the cotton stretched.
- We had two libraries that we visited when I was a child, that I still have such wonderful recollections of. One was known as ‘The Pork Pie Library’ by all the locals because of its incredible shape, round, like a cake. This library left such an impression on me that I have featured it in ‘Buttercup Magic: A Mystery for Megan’. I still remember being overawed by the shape and size of the building, and remember the first time I ever saw a Miffy book amongst the shelves. I remember where I sat to look through it, how I felt at the time, small details.
Which brings me round to the reason the barriers go up. Fear. Fear that my children’s children won’t have this. That they won’t have book shelves in their houses full of books that they can take off and explore, that they won’t be able to sit on the floor and marvel at the pages with the corner turned over, or the handwritten name in the front, or the smell of the things.
So, you see, I won’t have one. I will remain kindle-less. Am I sad… am I ‘eck! I have my book cases bursting with books and will soon need another one… bring it on!