My Other Half and I had ‘the talk’ recently.
Most relationship experts will agree that you shouldn’t enter into a serious relationship with someone without first making sure that your life-goals are the same, or at the very least compatible. Some couples put it off, hoping against hope that they can pretend to be on the same page for just a little longer before reality must come crashing down around their ears, and that moment came for me quite recently.
He absolutely insisted that we talk about my book habit.
I would like to make it clear from the outset that I have been trying – I have borrowed books rather than buying them, I have been working through the TBR pile, I have identified a handful of books for the charity shop* and even put a box of books in the attic to be cycled back into the main collection at another point. It’s clearly not a problem if I can do all of these things – I can stop any time!
However he firmly pointed out that we cannot quite get away from the fact that there are books in all five rooms in the house and no space left on the five bookcases we have. Try as I might to deflect him from his main point, finally he hit me with it.
“Why don’t you try using a kindle?”
Silence rung through the house, barely tapered by the discreet lean of my bookcases into this pivotal moment in their fates. My distaste was palpable in the shudder that rippled down my many spines. My reluctance clear in the moments where I briefly considered leaving him. Unfortunately I rather like him, so I’m forced to consider his point in the interests of domestic harmony/ love eternal. I wish I could claim a level of maturity fit for discussing his outrageous proposition in person and in the moment, but I simply was not equal to it. I packed my bags and left the next day**.
In the calm and space that ‘away’ provides, I was able to consider his suggestion in more detail – get a kindle indeed! So I made a list of pros and cons to support my argument for simply getting a bigger house and allocating myself two libraries in it***
Cons (because I like these more)
- E-readers aren’t books
- It doesn’t feel the same
- It’s not the same
- It’s not as cosy
- It’s still staring at a screen for hours at a time
- I did read somewhere (in the many articles I perused to support my point) that reading physical text makes you slow down and chill out more, so it’s probably better for bedtime. Unfortunately I can’t justify that point by remembering where I found it.
- If I lose my kindle/ E-reader it will be a lot more expensive to replace than losing a paperback. This is a highly likely scenario in all fairness.
- My personal favourite con – doesn’t Amazon dominate the e-reader market? I’m not entirely sure I want to be spending all of my money on that particular forum….
Satisfied that I had a reasonable arsonal of hard-hitting points at my disposal I considered the ‘pros’ as well, to anticipate any possible retaliation.
- It would save space in the house – this is his main argument actually. Something about being able to walk in a straight line around the piles of books?
- I wouldn’t need to be so discerning about which books I read in the bathtub if I got a ‘waterproof’ kindle
- Some books are cheaper when purchased in electronic form – this might even be cheaper
- The dictionary feature – we regularly argue about the exact context/ pronounciation of words that I have discovered in books over the years – this might help.
- I won’t lose my page, or need to steal coasters/ scrunchies/ reciepts for bookmarks ever again!
- It’s moderately convenient, and it’s like having a portable library. The OH did use this particular point as one of his own special ‘wont this be so much better for you’ points while recounting the difficulty I have choosing and carrying the books I take on holiday with us.
- My favourite, and least favourite pro is that choosing to read some books in e-reader form does not mean I will never have another new book again.
And so, after we’d both cooled off a bit (and by that I absolutely mean me), we discussed the topic at slightly more length. After being reassured that I can still buy some special new books and that no, I don’t need to give Jeff Bezos all of my money, I am committed to trying this idea out – I would like to stress zero commitment to this outrage in the long term. But when I think about it objectively, there are a couple of Alison Weir short stories that never made it to print that I may have already read on his kindle and it wasn’t really that bad. I could give it a go, maybe, potentially.
And so, with a couple of books coming out soon that I am quite interested in getting, I have decided (agreed) to try these on my other halfs kindle, just to try it out, with a potential end goal of not buying every single book I like the look of. For now at least.
*In fairness to him I should disclose his willingness to purge his own books as well. The decision to make this personal was entirely my own.
** Please forgive me the drama – it was a planned trip!
*** He also likes to read, so he too would need a library.
P.S. this article was proof-read and approved by Other Half. No break-ups will be forthcoming from this post.
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