21 responses to “The Argument for Books—
‘Heavy, Smelly, Cumbersome, Perfect Bound Books’”

  1. Casz Brewster

    Endearing as always, Jonathan.

    John Waters said the same thing — “If you go home with somebody, and they don’t have books, don’t fuck ’em!”

    I posted today, stealing from Danny Marks, that people need to start budgeting books into their monthly finances like they do eating. It feeds your brain.

    A save the whales campaign worked, can we do the same for save the books?

  2. Michael

    Packing up the nest now that Deb and I are entering the next phase. What’s to become of those boxes and boxes of books is a question mark still. For example, there are a couple shelves worth of old philosophy texts from my college days down cellar in the kid’s den which were picked through and given a second life during those kid’s high school days. Knew I was keeping those books for some reason. And great to see a child working through Sartre or Plato’s Symposium, mildewed as they might be. Might just be time to lighten the load now though, as bittersweet as that might be.

  3. Dan

    Hey Michael, bring ’em on down to AZ next time you visit Tucson. I’ll find a safe place for them.

    Great post JE, nothing beats a good book!

  4. Shann Ray

    Jonathan, way to bring the thunder!

  5. Emily

    Well said, sir!

  6. Bart King


  7. Crystal J. Casavant-Otto


    You brought my emotions to words so eloquently. Thank you! This was fantastic.

    ~Crystal (who gladly donated all but a gym bag of clothing [to live on a boat] – but didn’t get rid of a single book)

  8. Randall

    I guess I’ll keep all this in mind when I decide I’ve tired of reading books to absorb the ideas and thoughts of people other than myself and move to holding titles in order to impress others?

  9. Dan Coxon

    This required more than just a comment. Instead I wrote an entire essay in response. You can find it here –

  10. Alicia

    Superbly put. Everything I’ve been telling people who call me a Luddite (I am) but I also believe in books as art for their own sake. They are a window into the time and person we were when we read them. Hurray for this article!

  11. Melody

    Just spent all day at Green Apple Books in SF, CA trying to figure out the logistics of parking on Clement St w/ a Moving Truck that could carry all the book I was going to buy to fill up my favorite room in the new house I am buying…when those special numbers show up on my Lotto ticket! Alas had to settle for as many as I could carry…

    Excellent Article, love the memories of books ie: Reading “Satori in Paris” in San Francisco, then accidentally finding “The Subterraneans” in Paris a few months later, ditto for Don Quixote in Spain, in English!

  12. John

    I love this essay. Agree with you 100%. I’d like to print it out and make it into a little book, then leave hundreds of copies on tables in cafes and coffee shops all over Chicago. Do I have your permission? I’m utterly serious.

  13. jonathan evison

    Go for it, dude!

  14. Brian

    Just throw a little action NWBookLovers way, if you could, please.

  15. D.A. Trappert

    There is plenty of room for both. Love my Kindle Paperwhite AND my shelves and shelves of books from used book stores. Don’t be a Luddite.

  16. John

    Thanks, guys. I’ll give credit where the essay first appeared, Brian. I’ll also post links asking the finders of the booklet to post comments at my blog or this one. Sort of an experiment along the lines of what BookCrossing.com does.

  17. Laura

    You hit the nail on the head sir. I am in love with the title of this essay.

    When my husband and I were moving from our two bedroom apartment to our four bedroom house, our friends HATED us at the end of the move. They underestimated the amount of books we owned and that number only continues to grow exponentially.

    I only wish more people saw our view of bound books.

  18. Brian

    How did I not know about Book Crossing?!

  19. Sunday Links, January 27, 2013 | Like Fire

    […] reminds us why we love real books—the actual, physical, turn-the-pages paper objects—in this lovely short essay from NW Book Lovers. I live with 15,000 or so books (the number remains uncertain at present, as the library is not yet […]

  20. Bill Bryson, Louise Penny, E-readers and Jane Austen | Nooks & Crannies - 'cus they're perfect for a book lover

    […] The Argument for Books— ‘Heavy, Smelly, Cumbersome, Perfect Bound Books’ – an argument for books that pushes across a point that at times seems to me be a big justification for physical books – that “Books are a nexus”. Reading is a solitary experience and the advent of e-readers has made it more so. Heavy, smelly, cumbersome books through book stores and libraries and the passing of one copy from one generation to another make the reading experience more communal. […]

  21. Things that Start with S | A WordPress Site

    […] anti e-books. Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer to read the written word on paper. Check out The Argument for Books by Jonathan Evison, I just spotted a quote from this short essay on Julia’s blog, and it is […]

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