I thought I'd pick up on a couple of points made by Lisa Jardine in a Point of View last week: that books are meant for sharing; not something envisaged by those marketing the Kindle in this Year of the Electronic Book.
'Passing a book from hand to hand' was what was expected to happen to this Penguin re-printed in 1941- the blurry type reads:
FOR THE FORCES
Leave this book at a Post Office when you have read it, so that men and women in the Services may enjoy it too.
- something one wouldn't want to do to a Kindle. However, a Kindle with all its downloads would have been ideal in a soldier's haversack - better in many ways than this WW2 equivalent -The Knapsack published in 1939 for 'the soldier on active service' - a pocket book of Prose and Verse compiled by Herbert Read.
It has Pages for Notes and Additions. A Kindle could easily supply Additions but not Notes - for as Lisa Jardine observed there is no way of annotating a Kindle or filling the margins with private jottings.
Kindles are purely functional with no human story attached whereas this worn copy of The Knapsack does have a story. It survived Dunkirk along with the soldier who read it and scribbled in it. They were recued by a paddle steamer, the Medway Queen.
The soldier was my father and the book will always be cherished.