|Photo credit: Moyan Brenn|
I just finished A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. A friend recommended it and wow, did I enjoy this book. There's already a sequel out, which I didn't know when I was reading it. As I was approaching the end, it was getting pretty obvious that they weren't about to wrap up the plot anytime soon.
I feel it's important to note that there are vampires in it, but not in a way that made me roll my eyes.
Last night at a networking event, I met a bibliographer (which is totally a real thing even though it sounds incredibly random) and as we were talking, I realized that A Discovery of Witches is just full of books. The MacGuffin that gets the story rolling is an old book, and a lot of it takes place in the Bodleian Library in Oxford.
But what reminded me of this book in the first place, is that someone else asked the bibliographer if eBooks were going to kill print (which, no). He said that the cool thing about eBooks is that they've made physical books more valuable. If you own an eReader and buy a physical book anyway, it's for a good reason. That book is special to you because you've chosen to let it take up physical space when you don't have to. And back when books began, people had a similar connection to physical books.
Now, I still see the need for physical books that are not special. Reading an eBook is like reading a scroll. You can't flip back and forth easily. This doesn't really work for me when it comes to cookbooks or knitting patterns. We still need codex-style books. But mostly, yeah. If I buy a physical book these days, it's a conscious choice.
In A Discovery of Witches, we get a look inside the study/personal library of one of the vampires, who is, of course, quite old. He has a Gutenberg bible. And that's not even close to the oldest book he has. Just imagine meeting someone who lived back when books were rare objects. And still has some of his books from that time.
But only some. He's had to get rid of some books over the centuries for the sake of space. We've all done the same. As happy as I've been to pass along my beloved books from childhood and youth...I really wish I had a magical bigger on the inside book bag or something so I could revisit every book I've ever read. That's what libraries are for, but still. There are some books where I can remember what the cover looked like, but not the title or author. There was a series of books that my friends and I read in 3rd and 4th grade and maybe one the main characters was named Betsy, but that's all I've got. And we got those from the library, so my magic book bag would have to contain every books I've read, not just every book I've owned.
So what are you reading?