Books Made of Paper


In the future…

My granddaughter hops onto my lap, and once again I say a silent prayer of thanks for the medical technology which let me live long enough to know her.

I pick up a paperback book from the table beside my chair. “Would you like to see something from back when Grandpa was a young man?”

She giggles. “You’ve always been Grandpa. You weren’t young.”

“Yes, yes, I was. Here, this was one of my books.” I hand it to her.

She holds it in front of her with both hands and speaks, “table of contents.” When nothing happens, she shakes it and addresses it again, “T…O…C”. She passes it back to me. “It’s broken.”

I flip it open and show her the pages. “The words are ink printed on paper.”

She runs her fingers over the paper. “How do you put a new story on it?”


I made a decision a few years ago to reduce my library of paper books, using audiobooks and kindle ebooks to reduce clutter. However, I recently purchased two paper books which weren’t available electronically, and found a third sitting on a shelf.

I’m planning a lengthy post (or two or more smaller posts) about galactic empires, and this sparked my interest in Asimov’s Intergalactic Empires. However, I wonder if the empires in the book are really inter-galactic, meaning they span multiple galaxies.

I’ve always been interested in underwater science fiction, but haven’t found many good stories out there, so I’d like to give Blueheart a try. However, it could be a year or more before I have time to tackle this 500+ page novel.

I found Alien Pets on the shelf. Last year, I posted about Dogs in Science Fiction and More Dogs in Science Fiction, so it wouldn’t be fair to leave the alien pets out.

Let me know in the comments if you have any thoughts about my reading choices, their cover art, or why I’m taking so darn long to finish my magazine quest.


  1. These kind of stories are fun. I love the almost pulpy old cover art too.

    1. The alien pets don’t look that huggable to me, but the kid on the cover seems to like ’em.

      1. If I were a kid, I would too.

  2. I’ve been trying to keep my paper library to a manageable size, but since I’ve started reading older books, I’m afraid of the quality of the kindle versions. So I’ve been buying even more physical books. At least books back then, like people, were a lot thinner.

    I need to be careful about my library management though. I briefly panicked that I had tossed my original copy of The Hobbit. It has a horrid, horrid cover, probably the worst cover the book has ever been given, and I bought a nice, leatherbound copy several months ago. But it was that old ugly book that my mom originally pressed on me as something she thought I would like, that ignited my love of reading permanently, a love that has played no small part in every bit of success in my life.

    1. I gave away almost my entire library of paperbacks a couple years before I started blogging. Now I sort of wish I still had them to fuel additional blog posts. But, something had to go to free up space.

      I was lucky — my junior high library had The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.

  3. It’s interesting how quaint paper books already seem. Among my own little social circle, I think I’m the only one who still uses bookshelves for books.

    1. Most of my female relatives who read books still go for paper. They read the popular stuff like James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell, John Grisham…

      I think they like to read a book and pass it along, which is something that doesn’t work as well electronically (well, if you do it legally).

      1. Interesting. I’ve had basically the opposite experience. The women I know who read stick to their Kindles.

  4. A sad confession. I own Intergalactic Empires. I think I bought it new.
    And I still haven’t read it.

    1. If I like this one, I might try #2 in the series, which is SF Olympics. It has a story in it from Mike Resnick that I’ve read before, and it’s one of my favorites.

  5. Most underwater novels I’ve read leaned more to fantasy than science fiction. The only possible exception I can think of at the moment is David Brin’s Startide Rising, part of the Uplift series, but I read it so long ago, I can’t really recall much about it other than the dolphins. One old rare jewel of an underwater novel — technically fantasy but exploring sf-ish topics such as ecology as well — is Mermaid’s Song by Alida Van Gore. I treasure my paper copy of it — not available as an e-book, and good luck finding a paperback of it for less than $100!

    I still prefer the tactile aspect of physical books, so streamlining my extensive library doesn’t happen without much thought & agony. But my hands often cramp up or go numb when I use an e-reader for very long — frustrating for a marathon, cover-to-cover reader.

    For some strange reason, I also seem intensely battery-challenged — remembering to charge electronics like e-readers is just one more task to pile on an overflowing platter of things to do.

    1. I enjoyed Startide Rising, but don’t remember too much of it other than a twist at the end which I’ll avoid posting here.

      I have one of the original-style black-and-white kindles, which rarely needs charging. It’s possible I’d find the new tablet-style ones a pain to keep charged.

  6. Reblogged this on Journeys of the Clayfoot and commented:

    My heart will always prefer physical books, whether paperback or hard cover.

  7. […] took one of my paper books, Blueheart, on my trip to Maine, and managed to read 225 pages of it. It isn’t a bad book, […]

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