Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Book 'Em

Even though our tastes in literature differ tremendously, both JM and I are avid readers (yes, that's a euphemism for "severe geeks"). Yet, neither one of us has actually bought a new book since 2009. How can that be, you ask? Have we switched, so he is now catching up on my florid, relationship-based novels and I his military historic non-fiction? Decidedly not. Have we stopped reading and instead turned our intellect toward other pursuits, like chess or solving Fermat's last theorem? Um, no (and what intellect?) Have we run out of space on our color-coded bookshelves? Well, yes, but that's not the reason. The real reason is that we are now both now fully converted to reading on our Kindles ($139-379 on Amazon.com). As you know, I like to write about the things I love, and the only reason I haven't written a post on this topic before is that I thought everyone sort of already knew about them and had their own preconceived opinions, positive or negative. However, thrice in the last week, people (okay, they were all foreigners, but still...), have stopped me on the subway platform, in the airport, and walking down the street (yes, I can read and walk at the same time), to ask me what was this strange screened tablet I was staring at, and whether I liked it. Also, Amazon announced the new generation of Kindle last week (It has 3G wireless! And comes in black!), so I figured this post might be timely after all. Don't get me wrong, I still love the look and feeling of a real book -- the smell of the ink, the texture of the paper, the feeling of that first time you crack the spine -- that's all like porn to us nerdy bibliophiles.  But there are a lot of benefits to the Kindle that give real books a run for their money. Here are just some of the reasons I love my Kindle.

You Can Take It With You- at any given time, I have a lineup of five or six books waiting to be read on my Kindle (including The Fountainhead, which, in physical form is a real honker). And when I travel, I can take all those books with me, without having to actually carry six books. My Kindle is light enough to carry anywhere in my purse, but even when I don't have it with me, my books automatically sync to the "Kindle for iPhone" app, which means that I can seamlessly pick up right where I left off, right on my phone.
Immediate Gratification- I was recently talking books at lunch with a friend (we geeks band together), and as she made suggestions, I was able to download them to my Kindle right away. So much better than writing them down on a napkin I would inevitably lose.
Privacy, Please- When you read on a Kindle, no one can look over your shoulder or read your book jacket. And while there is something amusing about the communal experience of finding yourself in a subway car with eight other people all reading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, it was a relief to me to be able to read the Twilight series without being judged by my fellow commuters. Oh, shut up, you've probably read them, too.
Easy Does It- Even if you are a technophobe, the Kindle is surprisingly instinctual and easy to use. My husband's grandfather, who has never really used a computer, picked up how to use the Kindle very quickly. It also has a screen that uses real ink, instead of backlighting, so there are no problems with glare when you read in the sun. Also, you can turn the page with the push of one thumb, which makes it much easier to read one-handed while in the bath, or while cooking, or walking the dog (yes, I do read in those places).

The only downsides I have encountered with the Kindle are that you have to remember to charge it (although the battery lasts a very long time), you have to turn it off for takeoff and landing on an airplane, and you can't lend out the books once you've finished. But that last one isn't really a problem for my husband and me, anyway. 

And, no, Amazon isn't paying me to write this (but, hey, Jeff Bezos, you can if you want to).


Jess said...

I love my e-reader too! I have the nook though and it has an airplane mode and you can lend books to other nook users.

Deepali said...

I love, love, love my Kindle. I'm in agreement with you over the advantages, and strangely the disadvantages too. Luckily my commute is not on a public train so I don't have people asking me what my gadget is (which I think I would hate). But I do love the privacy of it. P.S. I have figured out how to share books and get loads of free ones, but I cannot reveal my secrets! Enjoy.

Anonymous said...

I've been interested in them for a while.. but, think I will wait until someone comes out with a waterproof one. I tend to fall asleep in the tub & drown books.. ;-)

SJ said...

I have a second generation Kindle and I absolutely love the thing. I have also read the Twilight series and I'm in my fifties! Great blog, by the way.

Anonymous said...

The Kindle is my absolute favorite possession! I came across your blog online, and I ended up reading 7-8 posts! Blogs don't tend to captivate me like this one, and I'm not even into domesticity. :-) -Jillian