Tattered Rag Magazine

July 12, 2015

How To: Better Appreciate Tangible, Flammable Books

Before the digital age, before the conception of Ipads & E-books, people would read books, magazines & newspapers that were written on tangible, flammable paper. Before I proceed any further, I want you to lose any impression you may have that I am suggesting that digital reading materials are evil or unconscionable. I am not implying that at all.

I mean, I confess that even I have found myself engrossed in some pretty riveting online periodicals or have delved into a thrilling E-book every now & again. But for me, having the words written in ink on some type of combustible paper still seem to speak to me much more profoundly than just staring at a screen with my eyes half glazed over.

Digital books are a worthy opponent, but after you consider these comparisons I hope you will find that they are not really the emperor of literature manufacturers.

Digital Books - Nooks, Kindles & E-books
  • Ability to hold large quantities of reading materials all on one device.
  • Compact.
  • Saves paper.
  • Ability to highlight, write notes & comments.
  • They are computerized devices and therefore, can be hacked.
  • Not completely spill-proof. While there are some that are being improved upon now with spill-proof screens, they are still not entirely liquid-proof. I don’t always trust manufacturers when they brand a product as being “spill-proof” because most of the time liquids always seem to find their way inside of the devices’ internal organs and kills it, fries it, marks it with a ’D’ (for dead). You see, this is their ploy.; their bait. Then when your device fries, you buy another…and another. The manufacturers get their money. And you lose yours.
  • Demands electricity. Batteries always need to be charged. Even when reading outside in the sun, your device still requires a power source which only lasts for a few hours. Unless, you have some sort of solar charger. Then, in that case, you’re cool.
  • No smell or feel of the pages.
Tangible Books
  • That intoxicating smell & feel of ink and parchment after a book has been pressed and bound.
  • No screen that idles or locks while you sit & ponder awhile.
  • Saves electricity and batteries. Does not always require electricity, unless your reading indoors at night. You can read by sunlight, candlelight, even moonlight on a bright night. Live life balanced & unplugged.
  • Old-fashioned-vintage-retro-hip-cool factor. For all of you who were not born in the pre-digital age.
  • Serves as a billboard for others to see the fascinating artwork on the covers & strike up conversations over what you’re reading. Interacting with people and building relationships over what you are reading.
  • Intimate. Personal. Historic. Romantic. Not so corporate feeling.
  • Spill-proof. Unlike computerized devices, if you spill coffee on the pages, your book is still okay. It’ll dry and/or leave a stain, but it is still readable. Spills & stains add character and make memories. Spills & stains are messy & imperfect, just like life.
  • Ability to highlight, write notes & comments. Doodling with pencil is best because it won’t bleed through the pages.
  • Unhackable.
  • While I am all about being more of a friend to the environment, life is about balance and when it comes to books, I feel like it is a trees destiny to sacrifice themselves in the name of excellent literature. It is one of the most poignant sacrifices a tree can make – enriching lives with the words tattooed on, well, at least the majourity of their pages. Besides, many books & magazines are printed on recycled and acid-free paper, nowadays. Additionally, trees and wood are not the only source for paper-making. According to a speech Susan Kinsella wrote in 1989 and presented at a seminar in Washington D.C. that was also published on Conservatree.org, paper was actually manufactured from rags and recycled linens up until at least the 1850s. Hell, at least we do not use the skins of sheep, goats & cows anymore like they used to in the 1400s! Even in the paper-making industry, we can still understand and find ways to move forward with the progress of modern times.
  • They are flammable. This is both a good & bad feature.
After having examined the comparisons between the two, I hope that I have been able to impress upon you how much more enjoyable physical, tangible books and magazines can be. They will still be my favourite part about reading regardless. And so, I invite and challenge you all to envelop yourself into at least one flammable book this year!

Venture On!