Paper Books and Memories
By Annie Kim
The other day, I carefully picked up the sample displayed Nook book on the stand, letting it sit in my hands as the solid plastic looking cover stared back at me. Then, I picked up my hard cover copy of the “Love You Forever” book written by Robert Munsch.
I felt its smooth cover resting in the grip of my hand. The thin edges of the crisp white pages brushed against my fingers as I gently flipped through the book. It was at that moment, in front of the Nook book stand at Barnes and Noble, where I realized that the intricate details that come with each individual book will always have an edge on the technology of e-books.
It’s not all about the “feel” of a printed book that makes it out to be more personable, but it is the reason behind why you made the purchase for that book. It could be as simple as your attraction to the title, the colorful cover or short summary that sparks your interest. Or it could be as complicated as investing in a book that will help you understand more about who you are, learning about the hobby of a romantic partner or a mournful story entangled with a heartfelt lesson, that will help you cope from your own tragic loss. Whatever the reason for your purchase is, that book you own on your shelf may remind you of a life lesson learned, an old friend, a familiar moment or just for the plain luxury of reading it because it’s a good book. And, yes, people still use bookshelves! On e-books, it’s great that you can download over 90,000 books but after a while, it’s nothing more than just another download on your delicate rectangular platform.
“A mother held her new baby and very slowly rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while she held him, she sang: I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”
When my mother was reading these words to me from “Love You Forever,” which became my favorite bedtime story book, I was still wearing Huggie’s baby diapers and reppin’ the bowl mushroom haircut, because you are not Asian unless you embodied this embarrassing hairstyle at least once in your lifetime.
Every night, my mother and I would go through our night time regimen of pulling on my Power Ranger onesies, brushing my teeth with Crest toothpaste and curling comfortably together in to her secure arms as our flowered blankets engulfed our bodies for a preparation of a good night’s sleep. Before we turned off our fluorescent wedding-like lamp, my lovely mother would read me the soothing words from “Love You Forever” until I fell asleep.
Sometimes she would have to read it at least twice for me to shut my eyes. Other times I would be soundly asleep before she got through the first two pages. But no matter what, I would always enter the dream world to the serene voice of my mother.
We stopped this nightly routine as I entered high school. Besides, I was in high school, I didn’t want to be tucked in by my mother as she read me cheesy bedtime stories. Ironically, a section of this book tells a true-to-life description of my rebellious years.
“The boy grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was a teenager. He had strange friends and he wore strange clothes and he listened to strange music. Sometimes his mother felt like she was in a zoo! But at night time, when that teenager was asleep, the mother opened the door to his room, crawled across the floor and looked up over the side of the bed. If he really was asleep she picked up that great big boy and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. While she rocked him she sang: I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”
Now that I am in college, I wish we had stuck with our consistent routine of “Love You Forever” nighttime readings during my high school years. Sadly, somewhere along the road of life, we had lost this book that we read together every night during my youthful years.
This past July, I turned 21. My mother handed me a neatly wrapped package. Inside the package was a new “Love You Forever” book.
“Don’t forget to read this to your son or daughter every night before they go to sleep,” my mom said genuinely, with a hint of sadness in her voice.
As I flipped through the pages in my hand, bittersweet memories flooded my mind and tears slowly blurred my vision. I missed this- those simple times when falling asleep was easy and all you needed was your mother to tell you she loved you.
That night, I asked my mom to read our favorite bedtime story to me. We tweaked our old routine just a bit. I read the last few pages to my mom.
“That mother, she got older. She got older and older and older … The son went to his mother. He picked her up and rocked her back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And he sang this song: I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living my Mommy you’ll be.”
Now imagine a different scenario.
My 21st birthday rolls around and my mom hands me a wadded up green bill and says, “I got you our favorite bedtime story “Love You Forever” for your birthday. Here is 10 dollars. Download it on your Nook.” … Now, how sentimental is that really?