Bibloiphile with his selection of classic and modern Science Fiction books.
The Scottish Word:


Whit tae dae? Whit tae dae? I’m switherin atween reading yin o mha digital buiks o the pochle I hae oan my slippery peerie tait o a screen here or tak in some classic Sci Fi Frae mha skelfs o muckle pepper yins there wi their lairge prent.

Alang wi their greater resolution, reality, textures, smells, heft, ahn physicality o interaction – wi a wee dram tae wash it doon.

THAT’s whit memories are made of.


lairge: large, generous lavish, ample in quantity.

What to do? What to do? I’m undecided between reading one of my digital books from the collection I have on my slippery little insubstantial screen here or take in some classic Sci Fi from my shelves of big paper books there with their large print.

Along with their greater resolution, reality, textures, smells, heft, and physicality of interaction – accompanied with a little glass of whisky to wash it down.

THAT is what memories are made of.

The Scottish Word: lairge with its definition and its meaning illustrated and captioned with the word used in context in the Scots language and in English.

Digital or Physical?

There is no correct answer. The answer is – it depends.

I used to make side by side lists of strengths and weaknesses of media for clients who seemed to be always after the latest and greatest ‘sexy’ new shiny media full of bells and whistles – no matter what.

Media Comparisons.

The media comparisons were to demonstrate that very often the old traditional print on paper or on the wall was often the most effective in comparison to their ‘sexy’ preference for what they wanted to achieve. By an order of magnitude. A choice.

Taking Control.

The same applies to you. Digital or physical? Make the choice. Because if you drift unthinkingly far into digital you may be giving up a lot of brain ‘muscle’ you might not want to lose.

Use it or lose it applies to the brain as well as to the body.

Don’t underestimate yourself.

A lot of what seems to be digital advantages your own hand and brain can do just as well or better. We tend to take it for granted and never notice. Like a fish doesn’t notice water.

Ever open a book retrieved from a room full of books to find the passage you were looking for first time within a page or two? A lot of people can do that.

Pick up an index and thumb it open at the page required? Look for a word on a page and your eye flicked to that very spot where that word was?

Autocomplete words and spellings at the speed of light? If you can write your brain does that already. Want to lose it?

Look up meanings you know – the same. Practice makes you stronger at it. Letting the digital do it for you all the time will make you weaker.

I speak from experience. I’m old now and a year or two ago while doing some physiotherapy for a wee injury I madly thought I’d do some push ups. I used to be able to do lots.

Couldn’t do a single one! Not even from on my knees instead of my toes.

I’ve now worked hard, It’s more difficult when you’re ancient, and I’ve built my general strength back up to a good level for an old bloke. I have no intention of struggling to get out of a chair or not being able to get up off the floor if I sit down with the grand-kids. Not yet anyway.

It’s in your forties when the strength of unused muscle first begins to fade. Fact. The same applies to unused mental faculties. Fact. Use it or lose it.

Muscle Building.

So the choice is; what brain muscles can you afford to let slide and which do you choose to strengthen?

Alternatively – let yourself go – and slide into digital insipid contentment like a bovine happily chewing cud in the fattening shed. Let the ignorant win.


No longer do the ignorant need to ban or burn books.

If you let your digital devices to do all the mental heavy lifting like problem solving, recall, memory, search and analysis, and digest only what you see. Then that will allow the digital ‘book burners’ to get to work unnoticed.

We all have to bear responsibility for the strength of our thinking so as to be able to resist those torching our online resources.

Digital ‘book burning’ is worse than the real kind because you don’t see it happening.
Information starts not to be there, and what we don’t see we don’t remember, until we forget entirely what is missing aided by any malign or compromised search engine quietly refusing to find it. Not burnt. Just gone.

Doing that to real books in the real world is much more noticeable. Which would likely prompt us to resist.

Insidious ‘Truth’.

And then ‘facts’ which book burners would prefer you to believe come to the digital surface and become all pervading in slow and insidious ways. Becoming the ‘truth’. It’s like boiling a frog by heating the water up slowly. We as a mob would not notice the change. In fact we already don’t.

So if you are pointing a finger of blame and feel hatred towards other groups or things then you are the bovine ignorantly chewing the cud – unknowingly allied with the ‘book burners’.

Don’t hate, it’s likely fear in disguise which someone has persuaded you to feel. Be strong. Here’s a 2012 quote from the late author Iain M Banks.

"l won't miss waiting for the next financial disaster because we haven't dealt with the underlying causes of the last one. Nor will I be disappointed not to experience the results of the proto-fascism that's rearing its grisly head right now. It's the utter idiocy, the sheer wrong-headedness of the response that beggars belief. I mean, your society's broken, so who should we blame? Should we blame the rich, powerful | people who caused it? No let's blame the people with no power and no money and these immigrants who don't even have the vote, yeah it must be their fucking fault.” lain Banks.

Science Fiction.

I read science fiction because it gives us novel ways to look at our world from an often far flung perspective outside our little bubble of experience and to explore ways our society could or should be.

The authors imagine other societies and impacts of technologies and alien cultures as thought experiments. And we the readers get our minds broadened.

The Books.

The illustration for Lairge above contains a lot of my favourite books. Some from way back and a few more recent. This link lets you examine the illustration at a larger size where if you peer at it you should make out most of the titles.

World Book Day.

World Book Day is a registered charity on a mission to give every child and young person a book of their own. It’s also a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and (most importantly) it’s a celebration of reading. In fact, it’s the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world. Running for 23 years.

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