A love letter to real books

Dear Books,

I miss you. Forgive me for using a well-worn cliche but, truly: it's not you, it's me.

My circumstances changed and I no longer have space for any books or the ability to buy any, except in foreign tongues. And while they may have a certain exotic pull it would be pointless; as a language-lazy Brit, I can't understand a word of them.

I have to admit, I am getting my literary needs met elsewhere. I recently caved in and bought a Kindle.

And yes, it allows me to indulge in my passion of reading, and yes, it's so easy to buy books that it could very well lead me to the brink of financial ruin. The back-light on it is brilliant, it's simple and convenient...

It's hard to admit, but if I'm honest, I like it much more than I thought I would. As a rebound relationship, it's really not all that bad.

But, there's no love there.

I don't get that same sensation when I hold it in my hands, I don't dip my head to inhale that delicious smell that only real books have (someone has actually come up with a name for that smell, bibliosmia), I don't get the lovely sensation of sliding my finger between the page to turn them or the satisfaction of selecting the perfect spot for it on my bookshelf when I've finished reading.

Recently, I couldn't help myself. I found myself going past a free book exchange outside of a shop and there was an old, slightly frayed and loose-paged book (my favourite kind), in English, staring back at me.

I stopped, just to look. Flipping open the cover, a handwritten inscription dated in 1946 was revealed.

I might have been kidding myself up until that point that I wasn't going to take it. But that inscription sealed the deal - I can't resist an old inscription. I happily trotted off with my new-old copy of Mrs Beeton's Hints To Housewives (something that was definitely not on my to-be-read list) tucked under my arm.

I know now, not that I had much doubt, that the moment my circumstances change and I once again find myself in the position to both buy and store books - real, proper, smelling books - that I will be back at it.

So, for now, let me say, I miss you.