Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Bookish Confession

I have to come clean.

I have a Kindle.
What's that you say?  You didn't hear me?

I have a Kindle.  
You still can't hear me?  Alright, alright!!  I HAVE A KINDLE!!

There.  I've admitted it.  Me, the book elitist who put up a Pledge to the Printed Word.  I have succumbed because I think the Reader in me ultimately was stronger than the Booklover.  I never thought I would find myself saying those words and I am just shaking my head in wonder at this turn of events.

It was a gift.   That's how it started.  I expected to hate it.  And it did take some getting used to.  I can't tell you how many times I went to turn a non-existent page (you must press a button instead).  And I read so fast that I found myself pushing the button too fast as well, going on to the next page before I had read the last few words.  So in a way, it has forced me to slow down.

It is unbelievably, and expensively, convenient.  Two o'clock in the morning and you have nothing to read?  No problem.  With one click a book is delivered, usually less than $11, to your device.  And in less than a minute, you are reading.

Many Kindle versions of books are ten dollars or less.  But those ten dollars can rack up really, really quickly when you read three or four books a week.  And then you feel you don't even have anything to show for it.  At least with a book you can still look at it, put it on your shelf, see it in all it's tangible bookish glory.  The Kindle is all about virtual.  Your book is just a title on your Kindle home page.  Yes, you can read it again.  But it is still not the same. And, at least for my model, there are no pictures!!  So that leaves biographies out.  I love biographies and the pictures are my favorite part.  However, there are also a lot of free books out there in the public domain, great stuff like Twain and Jules Verne.  One of the free books I read was The Red House Mystery by A. A. Milne.  Before he wrote the Winnie the Pooh stuff, he wrote one of the first modern detective stories and, while it was dated, it was great fun.

Because of my limited mobility, I have not been able to browse in a bookstore in a long time.  I truly miss that.  That, to me, is the all time high point in book shopping.  To be intrigued by the cover art, a title, and then to have a synopsis on the back be as promising as you would hope, it doesn't get any better than that to a geek like me.

Until I get a lift for my power chair, which is $1900 away, I am forced to virtual browsing.  I wouldn't say I have a love/hate relationship with my Kindle.  I don't love it and I don't hate it either.  It is more like a grateful/tolerant relationship.  I tolerate it's shortcomings as an un-book and I am grateful I have access to such a wonder of technology.   It will never, ever take the place of a real, in-your-hands book.  But, at two in the morning, it is a nice substitute.

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