The Balance of My Life

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by Suzanne D. Williams

I got it into my head to buy a few paperbacks. I like the feel and weight of them. They are a tangible link to my youth and the old-fashioned idea of owning a book.

Backing up a few weeks … my grandmother’s sister gave me her collection of Eugenia Price books. They were valuable to her, and since she had nowhere to put them in her new digs (she’s in her 90s), she wanted someone to have them that appreciated their worth like she did.

They sat in a cardboard box in my dining room for several weeks. I have a bookshelf, but it’s cluttered with other things:  statuettes, Christmas village houses, antiques and other knickknacks. Without a place for my great aunt’s books, I decided to buy a decorative basket. At least, they’d be housed somewhere nice and look cared for.

Well, I’ve added this collection of paperbacks to the basket. I’ve owned a Kindle for many years but never turn it on. I also have the app on my phone and my computer. With the exception of looking up meatloaf recipes (there’s a book for that), I hardly use either one. Being frank, reading too long on an electronic device gives me headaches. I have to gauge my time in front of the screen. That’s reason number one I looked at paperbacks.

The second reason I only just discovered when holding them in my hands. There’s all this talk about disconnecting. People say, “Don’t bring your cell to the table,” and such like. I do and don’t subscribe to this notion. I’ve tried to set it aside more, especially when eating with family or friends. I also turn it off after 10 pm. I like the idea of not being reachable. But I’m not completely offended if it’s setting next to your fork.

Thinking deeper along this line, I turned all the notifications for social networks off on my phone. I don’t really need to know if Jill’s kids made the school play or what Heather’s opinion is of the latest action flick. The idea my phone can be for communication, only when its needed, appeals to me.

Now, don’t get yourself in a twist. It’s handy to have when I need to check the bank or my emails, and yes, I use it to surf social media. I post a photo every day on Instagram. That’s something I enjoy. But why not give all of that less attention?

This returns me to the paperbacks, except I must digress again for it to make sense. Two years ago, I bought my husband a pair of jeans using an Amazon Prime deal. That got me into paying for Prime, and I discovered I like it for one reason only – no shipping costs. I can buy paperbacks on sale for a buck or two. Since there’s no shipping to concern myself with, what’s ten or fifteen dollars when I get five or six books out of it?

I love books, and through all of this, I’ve fallen in love with paperbacks again. They are a disconnect I desperately needed. Reading takes you away from life, but paperbacks go one step further.  They don’t glow or flash. They don’t send notifications. They can be set aside interminably, and … caveat … you can turn back a few pages and reread a paragraph on a dime.

There’s nothing on the screen telling me, “Five minutes left in this chapter,” or I can read the book in “two hours and twenty-one minutes.” I can read a page or a paragraph or a chapter without pressure. Without worrying about battery life. Or wifi. Or, even, electricity.

This isn’t an article telling you to ditch your reading device. Instead, it’s about words I can touch and feel and hold. It’s about finding the happiness I had as a girl, surrounded by books, before anyone knew there was an internet. The internet connects me with my work, with readers, and has given me some dear friends. These paperbacks balance my life.

Whether I ever sit and read them all is a mystery but owning them has given me back something I’d lost. In the value of a printed page is what made me an author in the first place. There’s nothing but me and the story someone took their time to create. Words that won’t vanish with the delete key or pause midway to advertise a product. 

And, in an ironic way, I owe it to the technology they help me set aside. For a while.

Christmas In July 

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About The Author:

Suzanne D. WilliamsBest-selling author, Suzanne D. Williams, is a native Floridian, wife, mother, and photographer. She is the author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes devotionals and instructional articles for various blogs. She also does graphic design for self-publishing authors. She is co-founder of THE EDGE.

To learn more about what she’s doing and check out her extensive catalog of stories, visit or link with her on Facebook at or on Twitter at

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