dVerse – The snobbery of books

I wonder –
is there a certain cachet
to be gained from being seen
holding some vast tome
in your aching hands,
arms held just so,
biceps straining under the weight?
Such dedication requires admiration,
for the sheer girth surely reflects
the capacity and agility of the reader’s mind.

I wonder –
do men prefer to be seen
with several inches resting in their laps
– since as we all know, size matters –
even if the weighty article
shows no sign of ever having
been opened, not even to see
the name of the lucky recipient
of the heartfelt dedication
on the pristine pages within?

I wonder –
is it more earnest to handle
a whisper of a thing lightly betwixt
skeletal finger and thumb?
A novel so short it verges on the
novella, but not so short, you understand
to render it unworthy,
the mere sparseness of language, and
the economy of words is so artful and artless
and less is more more, than more could ever be.

I wonder –
does it really matter
what he reads, what she reads, what they read
as long as there are readers willing to read?

Hurrah! It’s Open Link Night at dVerse. At this time of the month, we are given free reign to write in whatever style we please, and on any topic that we wish. This piece of mine came to me on the train travelling home from work on Friday night. So many people sitting with closed books on their laps, spurned in favour of the smartphone…..

Do visit dVerse and revel in the gloriousness of word, words, words! I will be reading and commenting tomorrow, never fear… I’ve just got back from a day of unctious writingness – a masterclass and readings, with lots of discussion, so I am a little frazzled – but in a good way!

43 thoughts on “dVerse – The snobbery of books

  1. I think it does… great thoughts are like seeds that grow and change us. The book doesn’t matter so much as the insides.

    We have a dictionary from my dad that is about 12″ inches thick ( from the 1930s ) – when my kids were small they loved to look through it. Of course words are magic so their search wasn’t in vain.

  2. ha. no i think reading is essential…and there are far more willing to write than read…smiles….i just finished the Game of Thrones series…roughly 5000 pages…over about 6 weeks…i dont know that the size matters…some writers are engaging enough i could read 1000s of pages…and i have read short works that were more impactful…

  3. Fortunately reading what ever you like and thinking what ever you choose about what you read are still free in much of the world. πŸ™‚

    1. Yes, a very valid point. It just tickled me that of the men that I could see on the train, they all seemed to possess vast tomes, as if it said something about them… πŸ˜‰

  4. Oh my goodness! What a great exploration you’ve written. You’ve hit the spot Freya! I happen to be going through bookcases of books, deciding what to keep as we move without our next living spot quite in focus.

    It is funny how “his” books are the heavy tomes, while my selection seems to be numerous light ‘n artful featherweights.

    You nailed it all the way around on this one.

  5. I enjoyed the witty tone of this and the double entendres……and am aghast that people eschew books for their devices…..nothing can replace opening a book and reading, in my world. Have been carrying home an armload from the library since I was five and that is a lot of armloads!!!!! Great write! And your writing class sounds marvelous.

    1. Thank you, Sherry. I confess to using Kindle every now and again, but there is nothing like reading a proper, paper book. It’s part of the experience, isn’t it? Yes, em and libraries go way, way back. I used to love going with my mum and my grandma when I was little. It was like going on an exciting journey where the possibilities were endless. Still is…

  6. I see a lot of people reading on the subway- books, kobo, free metro news, sitting or standing up ~

    I love this part:

    he mere sparseness of language, and
    the economy of words is so artful and artless
    and less is more more, than more could ever be.

  7. All I ask is to be so engrossed in a book that I neglect everything else until I have finished it and feel a great sense of loss when I have finished it. No matter what the cost I will always buy that book. I love my library better than anything else I own..Books are such good friends.

  8. I think your final stanza summed it up nicely Freya. Size mattering is a myth I think, a willingness to act honourable and truthfully no matter how thick or wordy is what really matters.

    1. That’s funny, in my writing masterclass yesterday we were talking about how, as a writer, if we listen to our bodies, we know when we are not being true to the character or the emotion. Respecting the reader and the character is of the utmost importance.

    1. I have been reading less books than I used to as well, but I have begun replenishing my library once more – last spree was yesterday (which is what happens when you attend a writing masterclass deep inside a vast bookshop in London!).
      Enjoy your return to books over the summer πŸ™‚

  9. Your poem made me wonder whether I would have a book in my bag if I commuted like you do or would read on my iPad. It would be interesting to see if the people you describe ever open their big volumes. The second stanza made me smile while I too liked the “less is more more, than more could ever be.” line, a brilliant one.

  10. if a book really grabs me i wished it had thousands and thousands of pages so that i can read on and on… generally the size of a book doesn’t matter to me… one of the books that made a big impression on me was quite small… i’m more for quality than quantity..

  11. Exactly, Freya, so much snobbery about types of books and being seen to read certain books and the latest books and the ‘wrong’ genre… We should be allowed to read whatever we please.

  12. I have never looked around and judged people by the thickness of the books they read. And, ha, I think if I were commuting and carrying a book I would choose one as light as possible. Smiles. Nowadays I read on my kindle. One cannot see whether it is a thin book or a thick book I am reading. The wonders of our devices! As for books – the only books I buy now would be poetry books or books I want to study and underline in. The trees perhaps thank me….

    1. Neither have I Mary – it’s just important to read! I’m afraid I’m a bit of a martyr – I have been known to carry very heavy books on my commute to work – but also graphic novels, Marvel comics and of course, poetry collections… πŸ™‚

  13. I think it is the reading that matters, moreso than what one reads. This is one of the reasons I love having a Kindle though, along with the ability to enlarge fonts for my old lady eyes.

    Love the word play you used in this!

  14. Great word play:) i think it’s great to read no matter what the size of the book. The older I am the more I want to read ….there is not enough time left to read all that I want to. Sometimes a book can be short and a gem…sometimes it’s long and you still don’t want it to end.

  15. I liked your speculation in this. My first thought was that perhaps this is why there is resistance to e-books. LOL I love to read no matter what the form. Thanks for visiting my blog.

  16. This brought a smile to my lips and a memory. Years ago a bible–The Jerusalem Bible–was popular. It was chock full of references and must have weighed …I have no idea how much. I used to claim that it could give you a biblical hernia. I also have an art history book that weighs 12 pounds (I weighed it). The problem is that you can read it just anywhere.

  17. I’m a slow reader, not gonna lie! I’ve been on a certain book for three years now 😦 (but I’ve finished 4 others since, that counts right? smiles.) Reading is def essential, tho my attention spans is always trying to prove otherwise… haha

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