Like several million others I received an iPad for Christmas. Although I firmly believe that such appliances are a signpost to the route we will all eventually be travelling, I was very unsure of exactly how this newcomer would fit into my life. I have to tell you, dear reader, it is a relationship of unmitigated bliss.
In our first few weeks together I have dowloaded five books and four of them have brought great joy, (the fifth was a substitute purchase for another on the same subject - Montaigne - which proved to be unavailable for download). With each of the books I have made a spontaneous decision to buy based on a recommendation, a review or simply a whim, and I have been reading the desired texts within minutes of experiencing the initial whims - without any expenditure on petrol, postage or parking fines and with minimal damage to the forests of the world.
The screen literally brings light into my life, making it unnecessary for me to hunt out suitably illuminated corners of the house, (of which there seem to be fewer and fewer as both light bulbs and my eyes seem to grow dimmer), and allow for the turning of pages with the most satisfyingly sensual of caresses. Once we are in bed together we need no other light at all.
The books whose glow I have so far basked in, since you ask, are:
"Room" by Emma Donoghue, which is simply delightful in similar ways to "Stuart a Life Backwards" and "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time".
"One Day" by David Nicholls, purchased in order to try to understand why so many people keep telling me its wonderful.
"Life" by Keith Richards - just because - which yielded the unexpected surprise of finding him (or perhaps his co-writer), quoting from a book which I once wrote with someone who was involved with the Stones during their Riviera exile.
"Just Kids" by Patti Smith, telling of her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe, which is both fascinating and beautifully written.
I understand that these are all commercially successful projects from authors who currently do not need to worry overly about methods of distribution but I am only a few weeks into this relationship and suspect my purchasing decisions will broaden and deepen in time. I am not entirely sure that I would have got round to actually buying any of these books in paper form, certainly not all of them - and that fact makes me feel extremely optimistic about the future for authors of all sorts.