Review: My Kindle
I was one of those “it’s not a book” people when first I came across this technology called Kindle. A book is a thing with pages, a thing you hold, a thing with heft. A thing that smells like your basement after doing so much time on a shelf there waiting to be attended to, to be studied for the notes in the margin and to be passed on to the right friend who will know what to do with what you have left in the margins.
Thinking about my objection to the Kindle, I realized the eau de basement was a key factor. Because books that stand the test of time are discovered over and over again. You can’t be discovered if you don’t have weight and take up space. The here and now of a book is very important. So are the there and then. I am thinking of my mother’s Nancy Drew bookss in her mother’s attic that became mine because they were there. Electronic books don’t do that very magical kind of showing up. And magic is as important as showing up.
I know this to be rock-solid true because this is exactly why my daughter’s childhood does not exist between her first and second grades. This was the year I first got my hands around a digital camera but did not make the leap to Winkflash.com. That is, I had no outlet to transform my digital images into print ones. Sure, I had piles of digital images of my daughter. Sure, there were plenty of outlets for printing digital images—but I didn’t know them. On top of that, silly me, I trusted the computer to hold the data I fed it. Unworthy of my trust, the stinker crashed and took a year of my daughter’s history with it.
If you want your photos to be there for posterity, you’ve got to get old school and find yourself a printer. For me that printer is Winkflash.com. I upload all my photo files there and then turn them into hard copy. Why? Because I am old enough to remember the 8”, the 5 1/4”, and the 3 ½” floppies. Heck, I still have a zip drive—which is, let’s face it, the 8-track of digital memory. It’s kind of embarrassing. And I have albums of CDs some ladies magazines would suggest I crochet together and turn into wall coverings or grocery bags. I am old enough to be sensible enough to insist that this thing I own fit in my hand, be mine to turn over and contemplate. All these digital means of remembering have grown obsolete. The stuff isn’t there anymore. The photos I stored on those 3 ½” disks? Gone. It never happened.
But this is about the Kindle. And why I love it.
Which I do. Ebooks are only a few dollars cheaper than their hardcopy counterparts, after all. So, why? I might save a few bucks by purchasing a digital edition, but it’s not like I can hand it to you by way of recommendation when I’m done. I pay just a little less for a one shot deal, so it really isn’t a bargain.
I can start to tell you why I love the thing in two words: North Carolina. Where we holiday, you have to travel 40 minutes to get to the nearest bookstore. Double that travel time and add in how much time I’ll spend in the store on a summer’s day and try to put a price on that that makes it worth a day on the beach.
Cannot be done.
Another reason. Try exercising with a paperback that needs two hands for you to keep it open. This horror show does not compare to working out on an elliptical, for example, with a Kindle that stays open, requires a tap to turn the page, and can be any font size I need it to be. I know I exercise more than I otherwise might because I can read as I go.
That, and the e-ink is so clear and beautiful that It’s hard to look at paper now. And the screen savers—like etchings. Beautiful and always a new surprise.
Then there’s the dictionary that makes it easy to check out a new word without really breaking stride with the text.
And the highlights. It’s a strange and interesting thing to read a book that lets you know where other readers have marked the text. I realize I am not alone with this work of art. And if I mark it, others will know what I think is important. It’s a nice thing, to not be alone.
Kindle. Someone out there called the technology that brings me my Irving and Gaiman and anyone else I want “whispernet.” That right there is worth the purchase price. Because it’s like that. When a novel rings true, the heart and mind whisper “yes” at the same time and Iknow, if we are all islands, then we are joined by the same beautiful dreams. Where there is writing there is the insistence that life is beautiful and worth the time it takes to be known. Anything that makes that beautiful process easy is beautiful, too.
So it is with my Kindle.