The nook I used to sit in on cold winter afternoons, with a book propped up on my knees, was halfway up the stairs, in the old house of ours. It was a small house. A tiny house by some standards. But, I was only 12 and had nothing to compare it to, so I thought it was grand.
There I'd be, on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, curled up in the corner of that nook - the windowseat covered with a soft cushion that barely offered comfort to my skinny bottom. The door to the downstairs was closed. We kept it closed in the winter, to keep the warm air downstairs. I would pull a blanket up around my shoulders and cozy on down into it... keeping that book propped up just so... just so I could lose myself in it and be one with the story.
I can still feel the cold air settling on my ears. I can see the windowpane fog up. I can see the house next door, and the trees with their bare, black branches bouncing in the wind. The memory of how wonderful it all was - me in my little happy place, complete with my book and just myself - and the smell of chicken cooking downstairs, the muffled sounds of my mother talking to my father or my brother/sister, the only light to read by coming from a break in the winter clouds now and then... a world separate and apart from the weekday hustle; a world created by me, and my book.
There's a lot of talk about where books are "going" today. Will printed books still be around in 3-5-10 years? Do ebooks really spell the death of the "book" as we know it? We, of course, being those of us who grew up reading in those favorite knooks, on cold winter afternoons (or curled up under a tree, on warm summer afternoons).
Books are so ingrained in the human experience, I do not believe for one minute that they will ever go out of print or style. No matter how busy we get or how technologically savvy, we will want books - the physical books of old, in our homes, in our lives, in our hands. We will want to have books sitting proudly on bookshelves in our homes - whether we display them in a "library" or just on a wall in the living room. We will crave the feel of them - the touch and smell and experience of them. We, as human beings, as creatures that love to lose ourselves in our imagination, need the physical presence of books to transport us to those faraway places we so crave to visit.
Books, the kinds of books you read in bed, or in the corner of a loveseat, lost in the pages, hardly aware of turning them, are a necessity of life for many of us. Ah, the joy of closing the book when one is done reading it - of looking up into the dim afternoon light, seeing the characters still alive in your mind, already planning to grab a new book and continue the quest for... for... what? For completeness.
Books complete me. Novels, stories, characters, settings, all important elements of books, got me through some tough times when I was a kid. And, I know they are helping many people (children some) today, get through tough times. They will not go away. Ever.
Not the books I know.