On July 30th 1935, Penguin Books published its first paperback books and in honour of what has now been dubbed ‘Paperback Book Day’, I thought I’d throw together a little blog post to celebrate all things paperback.
I’m thankful to be in a position where I’m tremendously busy with both writing and publicity work which has unfortunately meant that reviewing has once more taken a backseat. However, I endeavour to change that in the next few weeks once I adapt to my new working schedule so please bear with me! This also explains why the photos in this post are extremely old. It’s unbelievable to think that it has only been little over a year since these shots were snapped, but damn, have I aged. That’s what happens when men decrease your net worth, folks! We said sayonara to questionable hair partings and heels less than 5 inches in 2019, but my love of anything check patterned and of course, books still remains.
Reading has always been a key part of my life. Throughout my tortuous time in school, I turned to books and stories as a form of solace. I owe an incredible amount of my personal and career achievements to books – this blog, for example, would not exist without ’em!
WEARING: Bershka Check Print Blouse £19.99, Moss Copenhagen ‘Noah’ Leather Jacket £280, Miss Selfridge Mom Jeans £40
We live in an increasingly digital world and there’s been much conversation about whether or not printed books have a life shelf. After all, it was only a few years ago that the Guardian were reporting that sales of printed copies had fallen over £150m. However, things do seem to be changing with The Bookseller proclaiming that 190.9 million books were sold for £1.63bn across 2018, an increase of £34m in sales and an additional 627,000 books bought in comparison to the previous year of 2017.
With an ever-growing ‘To Be Read’ list, a years-old IKEA bookshelf already bursting with titles and a floor-space overcome with copies I’m sent in the post, some would argue that it would simply be easier for bookworms like me to pick up an iPad or Kindle and download all those books onto there rather than try to squeeze them in every nook and cranny on the shelf.
But there’s just something about printed paperbacks that I can’t quit.
Yes, e-books take up far less physical space and are just way more convenient. Yet, to me, nothing beats holding a book in your hand. Paperbacks don’t require battery power, can safely be read in the bath and there’s nothing quite like the visceral act of physically turning a page.
For me, e-books ruin the immersion and that’s partly the reason why I am always apprehensive about taking on an e-book request and unfortunately, largely due to the visual aesthetic of the blog, tend to have to turn them down.
In his opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, critic and author Joe Queenan argues that e-books suit people who care only about the contents, have vision problems or other physical limitations or who are ashamed of what they’re reading;
“People who need to possess the physical copy of a book, not merely an electronic version, believe that the objects themselves are sacred. Some people may find this attitude baffling, arguing that books are merely objects that take up space. This is true, but so are Prague and your kids and the Sistine Chapel. Books as physical objects matter to me, because they evoke the past. A Métro ticket falls out of a book I bought 40 years ago, and I am transported back to the Rue Saint-Jacques on Sept. 12, 1972, where I am waiting for someone named Annie LeCombe. A telephone message from a friend who died too young falls out of a book, and I find myself back in the Chateau Marmont on a balmy September day in 1995. A note I scribbled to myself in “Homage to Catalonia” in 1973 when I was in Granada reminds me to learn Spanish, which I have not yet done, and to go back to Granada.”
I will always have fond memories of sitting down with my mother, working through a dog-eared children’s book on loan from the school as she taught me how to read as well as the first time teenage Sam gleefully strolled to Waterstones at the crack of dawn to pick up the latest installment of the Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter Chronicles and spent the subsequent hours with her nose buried in the book. Every book on my bookshelf encapsulates a particular moment of time in my life and certain novels evoke a very distinct type of nostalgia, a form of magic that is rare with e-books. Pixels are temporary, but paperbacks are forever.
Pick up a good paperback today and immerse yourself in another world for a few hours, you just might like it!