I love books, not just the smell of older volumes or the feel of the crisp pages of newer ones in my hands, but the accumulation of them. I look at a full bookshelf and feel greedily rich. So, it won’t surprise you that when Amazon’s electronic reader, the kindle, first came out, and my husband diffidently asked if I might like one, my answer was a resolute No!
Still, things change. Kindle 2 is now available, and apparently it addresses some of the glaring faults in the first version. Plus, we are going to the UK for ten days at Easter, and on any such trip I normally require 4 or 5 paperbacks secreted about our luggage, simply to provide me with in-flight reading material. The lightweight kindle could replace that excess poundage. So, I said, OK! And on our 13th wedding anniversary this past weekend (lucky for some!) my kindle duly arrived.
I love it! Let me give you some reasons why.
- Believe it or not, I think I actually read faster on the kindle. This is no mean feat, because I wasn’t exactly a slouch in the reading department before. I’m not exactly sure why it is. Perhaps because there are fewer words per page, and my highly-programmed reader’s brain almost internalizes them all in one look? Or maybe because I can press the “next page” button while I am still absorbing the last sentence, and begin the next one without that annoying (seriously!) page turning delay.
- The kindle is way better for stop/start/on the go reading. I really can hold and operate it in one hand (It’s about the size and weight of a first poetry collection), which leaves the other one free to eat/stir dinner/let dogs out/drive (Just kidding on the last one!) Plus, if I’m reading and the phone rings/ a child calls for help with a fractions worksheet/ the oven timer goes, then I can simply put it down. No hunting for bookmarks or mashing the spine with the book face down on the table. The kindle remembers where I am, even if it goes to sleep (after a ten minute delay).
- I can email my own manuscripts to the kindle. Perhaps this wouldn’t matter to everyone, but for a small fee I can send My Body, Torn from Me to Amazon, and they will format it into a kindle file and download that to my kindle. Imagine how useful that would be at Poetry Readings, or just for working on the m/s (using the kindle’s annotations function) on the plane.
- Classic literature is like, really cheap. So, I was browsing the “literary fiction” category (Bit of confusion going on there, Amazon. Maeve Binchy? Really?) and I found British Classics: The Bronte Family, which contains all 7 of the sisters’ novels, the poetry m/s they brought out initially, their father’s poetry AND the first two biographies (Gaskell and Shorter.) Guess how much this bounty cost? $0.99! Really!
Now of course this wouldn’t float everyone’s boat either. But I am in the process of writing an essay about Emily Bronte for the Mezzo Cammin timeline project/ West Chester seminar, so the prospect of having this material available in England (where I will be visiting Haworth Parsonage) is ideal.
I’m guessing that rather like Project Gutenberg, this is possible because copyright on the original editions of these works (It’s the third edition of Jane Eyre, for example) has expired. Might not suit everyone but perfect for me!
In fact, my husband has started to call me “Kindle Girl!”