Well … maybe some stuff matters more than others. Which you become acutely aware of when you move and go through the stuff you thought was indispensable that proves to be dispensable after all. Stuff matters in a way we don’t usually contemplate, and this wedlock of ours to materials is explored beautifully in a new book by Mark Miodownik.
As many of you know, much of the stuff I accumulate is books. Lots of books. Books on shelves, books in piles, books still in boxes. Books in the office, books in storage, books in our condo at the shore and now in our newly re-located apartment.
Among other passages on a variety of stuff, reflecting on books is when Miodownik shines. Books en masse, he notes, are more than a library. They are a statement of identity. His prose is so lyrical that a simple paraphrase won’t do. So I’ll leave you with this thought:
“The Janus particle has made reading e-books much more like the experience of reading a physical book, at least in terms of the appearance of the words on the page. It could yet be the future of the written word. However, it is unlikely that electronic paper will completely supplant books while it lacks paper’s distinctive smell, feel, and sound, since it is this multi sensual physicality of reading that is one of its great attractions. People love books, more perhaps than they love the written word. They use them as a way to define who they are and to provide physical evidence of their values. Books on shelves are a kind of internal marketing exercise, reminding us who we are and who we want to be.”