I Have Lived a Thousand Lives

 

Rosie’s take on… Books

Guys, for real though. How great are books?

There’s a reason I got my newest tattoo; “I have lived a thousand lives.” If I wanted to take up more skin on my ribs, I would have gotten the full thing; “I have lived a thousand lives and I’ve loved a thousand loves. I’ve walked on distant worlds and seen the end of time. Because I read.” Thanks to our mate, George R. R. Martin, for that one.

I fucking love books. Seriously. I love reading. I love falling in love with characters. I love falling in love with a place and a world totally different to mine. I laugh, I cry. I even love that horrible book hangover you get when you’ve read a book so good, your emotions so raw, that you can’t move on from it. This has caused me to reconsider how I’m living my life every single time I’ve finished the Harry Potter series. It’s really hard to accept it’s all over, you know what I mean? It changes my life every time.

I have fallen in love with my fair share of fictional characters. Yes, I went through the typical phases of Edward Cullen and Christian Grey. And Noah from The Notebook (but, if we’re being honest, mostly because of Ryan Gosling. The Notebook is the only exception I can think of where the movie is better than the book). Jesse De Silva, I am almost certain, is destined to be my soul mate. Ian O’Shea from The Host. Even Suze Simon and pretty much all of Meg Cabot’s other characters, both male and female. I love them as if they are real people, I shit you not.

I went to Barnes and Noble last week, and was awestruck by the two-levels of pure joy, in every form a book comes in; soft cover, hard back, graphic novel, audio book. Call me old fashioned, but I always choose a physical book over a Kindle, iBooks or audio version. Every single time. I love everything about books; the smell, the feel, the satisfaction of seeing how far you’re progressing, with the bunch of pages in your left hand getting bigger while the pages in the right diminish.

I could spend all day in Barnes and Noble, there’s not a doubt in my mind. I could also spend all my money there, easily. However, I had to remind myself about that teensy tiny little detail of my suitcases, and the weight limit they hold for the flight home. So I will only buy as many books as I can squeeze into my suitcases (and also part of my boyfriends – he literally signed up for this by dating me. Wish I could say I’m sorry, but I’m not. Side note: only 17 days until he comes and joins me in this amazing city!).

There’s hope for the younger generations, my 10 year old sister reads books like crazy. She’s literally insane with how much she reads. It’s not the kids changing the way we read, it’s us, the ones making the kids use iPads in school and discouraging them from reading real books. The thing about teaching kids is just that; they’re learning. If we teach them to read on computers, Kindles and iPads, they won’t know any different. I was taught to read books. And now I can’t stand reading electronically. Technology doesn’t always win.

I am honestly stressed by the fact that bookstores seem to be closing everywhere. I keep saying that quote that makes me feel momentarily better; “books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs are by the elevator”. It sounds nice in theory, I want to believe it. Can’t exactly see a world where stairs don’t exist, so maybe we’re safe on the book front too. And I can understand why people like the convenience of Kindles, I really can. But just because you like elevators, doesn’t mean you’ll never take the stairs again, right? 

But realistically, where I live no longer has a single bookstore, except a tiny second-hand one. You can buy books like in the supermarkets or department stores, but it’s not the same. Where’s Dymocks? All three Dymocks stores near me have closed. Borders and Angus & Robertson are already gone. There’s nowhere to go that has the sole purpose of selling books, except online. And, as is always the case with amazing chains, Barnes and Noble doesn’t exist Down Under, which is a tragedy of its own.

I did this speech for my year 9 English class, I think it was, about how Pringles were disappearing out of the stores, and less places were stocking them, and I was getting freaked out because I didn’t want them to disappear completely. There were only like, 3 flavours available and they were fast disappearing. So I urged everyone to consider Pringles next time they wanted a snack, and invest in the future of this incredible, delicious food. I asked everyone to buy even just one packet; “it’s for a good cause,” I implored them.

Have you recently been to a Coles or Woolies and seen how many different flavours of Pringles there are? There’s like, a lot. I would go check exactly but I’m pretty far away from Coles – but I used to work there, so I know. I’m not going to say I was solely responsible for the re-rise of Pringles (I mean, you have the facts, you tell me), but if there was a thank you award for the salvation of Pringles and they offered it to me I wouldn’t feel wrong in accepting it. Sometimes all people need is a swift kick and a little reminder how awesome something is. And clearly, when I handed around those tubes of Pringles in my year 9 English class for people to share, that was reminder enough.

So guys, remember how awesome books are? All I’m saying is, please please please go to a bookstore and buy a book. A real life book. From a real life bookstore, not online. They’re not even that expensive, you can get them really cheap. Please go and support this industry that I am so passionate about, and would love more than anything to be involved with one day. I won’t actually give you anything if you do it, but just know that when I’m old and (assuming I succeed in my mission) books still exist, I will personally thank every one of you. Y’know, in my head. But that still counts. I can’t imagine a world where our kids think finding a bookstore is as exciting and rare as living in Perth and getting Krispy Kremes when someone you know went over East. Before Krispy Kremes came to Perth, I mean. Don’t let “Mum, what’s a bookstore?” be a thing. I don’t want to live in a world where I speak to my kids like “back in my day, you could go to a store dedicated to selling books – and in those days a ‘book’ was print on paper, not like you see them on your weird little technology screen today”.  And my kids will laugh and laugh at their poor old mother who can’t keep up with technology and won’t let go of the ‘good old days’ of when she was younger.

Let me know if you have any book suggestions! And I will add it to my ever-expanding list of ‘to-read’ that stretches into eternity, that I will never ever be able to complete, but will continue to try. And for goodness sake go and buy a book. Even if you (for some reason) are against reading it, just send it to me. I would be okay with that.

Two of my favourite things in the world; reading, and Central Park
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