Monday, November 14, 2011

In Praise of the Kindle

Bedside reading

I love books. Perhaps irrationally so. I've left boxes of books behind with each new phase my life, leaving a trail through three, possibly four, state. They pile up on my bedside table and in closets. Nothing will ever compare to the feel of a book, a nice fat paperback full of musky pages, waiting to spill all the secrets hidden between it's cover. Or opening a book to read some stranger's name written in a looping, irregular hand on the inside. Did that person love this book? Did it move her? Or frighten her? Did it change the way she saw herself or the world? I will forever collect hardcovers, lining up their spines on shelves to create life and warmth and color in my home.

My husband bought me a Kindle for Mothers Day and while it will never replace my books, I love it. I've read more in the last six months than I did the previous year. I've discovered stories and authors I'd never have found in libraries or book stores. I can balance my Kindle in one hand while rocking a sick child or curled up in bed. It's much easier to travel with single, slim e-reader than the pile of paperback I'm accustomed to lugging with me on trips. Now that I can borrow library books on my Kindle too, I'm never without unread books.

One of my favorite uses for my Kindle has been as an editing tool. I am admittedly terrible at proof reading. I seldom read whole words - my brain fills in enough that I don't need to slow down and absorb each letter. I fill in entire missing words because that's what makes sense. I read fast, but it's sloppy even when I try to pay attention. With my Kindle, I use the text-to-speech feature and listen to my manuscripts. It's amazing how much I hear that I've missed a dozen times on paper. It's not perfect -the name Nina reads like Nine-A, which drives me crazy - but it's a tool.

Nothing will ever replace books for me. Nothing will ever change the visceral reaction I have to holding a new, unknown book or the familiar warmth of an old favorite. But I love stories even more than I love books and I'm always happy to find a new source of stories.

What about you? Have you embraced the e-reader revolution? What do you love or hate about trading books for digital copies? And because I love books, what is your favorite part of real books?


  1. Ok. I JUST ordered mine today. Been wanting one for a while, but like you, love the feel of books. But this just makes sense and after getting to play with a friends, I was sold. I really wanted the "touch" Kindle (WITHOUT ads...for crying out loud), but I was scared it wouldn't ship in time for our big trip back east. So I went with the original and I am happy about this. I can't WAIT to fill it up with books that have been "on my list" forever!

  2. Oh, my favorite part of a real book. The feeling of "accomplishment" as I turn each page. Seeing how much I've read, how far I have to go... and imagining what could POSSIBLY happen in those last few remaining pages.

  3. I feel the same way. I LOVE my books. I love the feeling I get when there's a knock at the door and the mailman has another box from Amazon for me. I also have a Kindle, which I love. I think it's just best to have both. Sometimes a novel is so much less expensive for the Kindle version, and lets face it, its INSTANT! Hello? But nothing will ever replace real books for me. In fact there are several books I've loved so much I have both the Kindle and the hardcover. (Ahem, the Hunger Games.)

    Oh and I would love to be a reader for you. Seriously, anytime. Just shoot me an email or something and I'd be happy to help. Whatever you need. :-)

  4. @ Amber - you're going to love it! I do miss that feeling of turning the pages. Somehow a status bar doesn't do the same thing for me ;) Plus, I can't sneak a peak at the last page nearly as easily.

    @ Megan - I love the instant gratification of the Kindle! And I have considered picking up a few favorites for both. I keep telling my family - nothing but Amazon gift cards for birthday & Christmas!

    I sent you an email, BTW. Can't wait to share my story with you!

  5. I haven't joined the ereader revolution yet, but I've been thinking about getting a Kindle (or maybe a Nook). Perhaps for Christmas? But ooh, the text-to-speech feature sounds fabulous! I have a heavy accent and lousy reading skills, so and the often touted advice of reading out loud to myself really doesn't work at all. That makes me want to get a Kindle that much more!

  6. Thanks for the follow, Emy! Text-to-speech is fabulous because I often read things wrong, even out loud (like breath vs. breathe or sparing vs. sparring). Hope you do get one for Christmas!