When there was speculation about the death of printed books as ebooks were to take over the world, Rita smiled to herself. She wasn’t adverse to technological advances but knew that the printed word would always have a place somewhere. Ebooks offered convenience on a number of levels, but that tactile experience of turning a page, of tracing a line of words that touched your heart and soul, or flicking backwards and forwards to find your place couldn’t be replicated.

Looking around her home, she derived much pleasure from seeing the bookcases neatly stacked with treasured friends. There were runs of books by the same writer, usually bought in a reading frenzy when a book discovered by chance led to a growing appreciation of a writer’s style. In the non-fiction sections, there were clutches of books on wide-ranging topics. There was much to uncover by reading around a topic, she had found, and the knowledge contained within her book collection was to Rita a wealth beyond measure.

Like trying to pick a favourite friend or relative, it was hard for Rita to identify a book that had changed her life. In their own way, all of the books had touched her to an extent. There was the joy of the sense of timelessness when in the midst of a good read, that anticipation and restlessness to return to the pages to find out what happened next. And at times, even a sense of sadness when a loved book approached the end. How to say goodbye to fictional friends that had grown to mean so much?

But one of her most treasured books as a set of illustrated dictionaries. Found by chance in an op shop window, these books occupied pride of place in her non-fiction collection. They were Rita’s go-to for unusual terms and for getting an idea of how something worked, or what it was made up of, rather than the random result of a Google search. Some of her best a-ha moments had come from simply flicking through the pages, looking for one thing and learning something else entirely.

I’m participating in this blogging challenge for the month of January, which supports starting the year on the “write” track. You can find other posts with #bloganuary and join in the challenge.

Photo: Reader’s Digest Great Illustrated Dictionary