Library Tonnage

October 21, 2011

I like to read. I read everyday and I am usually reading more than one book on any given day. Paperback, hardback, or eBook, mystery, action, suspense, novel, and even the occasional non-fiction – all are fair game. In 2010 I kept track of the titles I read, so I know I completed 85 books that year.


Currently I’m reading two books at home. The first, checked out from the library a week or so ago is Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants. It’s the first of a trilogy about World War I.

The book is lengthy at about 985 pages, and heavy too. My bathroom scale puts it at an even 3.0 pounds. Laying in bed at night, reading before turning the light off to sleep is a workout.

0061977969 The second book I’m reading is one I got at the library last night. It’s Neal Stephenson’s Reamde.

Since I have all of Stephenson’s other books I don’t know why I thought this one would make a better late-at-night-reading-in-bed book, but I did. At least until I got to the library to check it out. It weighs 2.4 pounds and measures 1024 pages. The .6 pound difference does make the book noticeable lighter, but the book still gets heavy after a while.

0345529057 On our recent trip to Germany I decided not to take any paper books at all. Instead I relied upon the Kindle app on my iPad for reading. I consumed the first two George R. R. Martin books from the Song of Ice and Fire series.

A total of about 1800 pages that weight no more than the iPad itself. I find reading on the iPad to be comfortable and enjoyable. However it isn’t the same has having books.

There is a certain smell to books, and a pleasing heft in your hand as you carry one. I like the creak of the binding as you open a new book, and I delight in finding old receipts or business cards that I used as bookmarks when I reread a book.

I will always want real books in my home, both to read and to have and display. But, late in the evening when I am in bed reading, there are times when I think eBooks are a better solution, if only to reduce the chance of hurting myself when I drop a three pound novel on my face.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.