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Books, Culture and Society

A World Of Books At Your Fingertips

A brief look at why the electronic word will never take over from the written word.

A World Of Books At Your Fingertips

Anna Stenning is a book historian and loves all kinds of written word including reference books. To find out more visit http://gale.cengage.co.uk/

Have you ever considered building yourself a library? No, not the public sort where people come with their tickets and borrow books. I mean the sort of book collection you can keep in your home. There is no doubt about it. There is something unique to treasure about a book collection and these can become very personal items that are passed down the family line.

Picking up a well-thumbed book that you remember your granddad sitting in his favourite chair with will bring back all sorts of sensory memories that we love to hang onto. A book collection also speaks volumes (excuse the pun) about a persons character. Is the collection full of romantic novels or is it all about nature and fishing? Is the library essentially a collection of reference books for verification and learning purposes or is it full of classics from Charlotte Bronte through to Shakespeare?

In the library of an elderly person you will be able to identify different phases of their lives which can lead you down a fascinating path. You might find childhood classics or rare versions of them. You might find books on health and well-being, parenthood, nature, educational books, reference books, great fictional books and a whole host of interests that you never even knew about them.

With the advent of computers and electronic books which admittedly have their place, one cannot help but feel that the next generation will never know the love of a real book. Book lovers will passionately tell you about their favourite one; the characters that they see in their minds eye, the satisfying feel of turning the next page and even the unique smell of their favourite book, not an experience you will get from the electronic version.

It also has to be said that their seems something morally wrong in throwing books away which is why people end up building such collections. It is as though a little bit of you is nestled within the pages of that book. For those who do not have such sentimental attachment to their books, many donate them to charity shops and this is where so many people are able to build their book collection on a budget. It matters not that they are already thumbed by someone else, maybe even with the occasional tea stain, it just means that someone else has also gained personal satisfaction from this particular book.

Books are all about knowledge and imparting that knowledge to others is as valuable as gold dust. Wars have been recorded in history books, you will find lost civilisations within the pages of a history book and you will see the major events that have shaped the world we live in. You will be able to check, cross check and double check with reference books and you will be able to immerse yourself in another world entirely with a little escapist fiction where the characters come to life as you see fit.

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