If you take a peek at a book reader’s library, you can tell a heckuva lot about them. Like what sort of sick, vampire fetish they have or what disturbingly-gross aversion towards medieval poetry, written by cross-dressing, albino serfs, they’re akin to. I’m preaching to the choir on that last one, though.
About six-months ago I received an Amazon Kindle as a gift. Truth be told, I was skeptical about the e-reading device. I didn’t buy into its proposed ability to harness my attention away from paper-based books. There was always something about the Kindle that seemed too articificial; too cold and unromantic. But thanks to the Kindle, my reading life has been transformed. Truly.
I’ve loved reading ever since I was a wee lad. In fact, my fourth grade “girlfriend’s” dad was the first to slap the bookworm label on me. The son-of-a-spelling bee never even met me. Only saw me from a distance during PTA meetings.
Anyway, I won a contest that same year for reading the most books in my class. Our teacher, Ms. Robertson, pinned prizes on the bulletin board for the different winners to choose from. After I was declared the first-place winner (I read over 5,000 pages during the school year), I got the honor of selecting the very first prize. Somehow, out of everything up there, I picked a Rubik’s Magic. (Yes, your nerd sirens should be going off right about now.)
I picked the Rubik’s Magic over a bag of our teacher’s famous, freshly-baked monster cookies. Which went to Ryan Murphy, the second-place finisher and my elementary school nemesis. He sold them for a buck a piece and ended up making $20. A few weeks later, the unsolved Rubik’s Magic got crushed in my backpack. Fourth-grade-remedial bollocks!
The point is, I developed distinct reading habits during those formative years. Habits that are still with me today. For instance, before I ever begin reading a book, I like to hold it in both hands and feel the weight of it. Then, I study the design and layout, browse through the table of contents, thumb through the chapters and take in a few notes about the scope and structure. Even while I’m reading a book, I’ll often times pause, turn to the front cover, then to the back cover, and simply meditate on the entirety and significance of the book. I’ll picture the author as he or she wrote certain parts, think about their intentions, soak up the words that have been read thus far, and then ease back into the flow of the book.
Suffice to say, for me, reading a book is more than a process of digesting information. It’s an experience. Like eating popcorn at the movies or making out with my wife. Making up! I meant to say making up!
But there’s no two-ways about it, I’m in love with the Kindle. And I believe a majority of the reading I do in the future will be on an e-reading type device. To help explain why, here’s a rundown of the Kindle features I enjoy the most:
1. Quick access to your library. No matter where you are, you can read any book you’ve purchased for your Kindle.
2. No need to lug around books. Because I travel quite a bit, this is a big one for me. I always envision myself reading an assortment of books while I’m gone, so I compulsively pack a plethora of different titles — which most of the time never get pulled out of my bag. The Kindle, therefore, salvages my back from having to tote piles of books around.
3. Lookup words as you read. I don’t want to be stupid forever. Consequently, Kindle’s built-in dictionary feature is quite handy. The definition of most words is only a click away. Brilliant feature!
4. Make notes and highlight. This aspect is similar to what you can do with printed books, except for the Kindle now allows you to access your notes online. Suck on that, Gutenberg.
5. Buy books and start reading them within minutes. There are over 230,000 titles now available for the Kindle, and Amazon allows you to browse books directly from your Kindle. When you find what you want, you simply click purchase and then Amazon delivers it immediately to your Kindle via Whispernet. Only takes a few seconds. And it alleviates the need to visit the bookstore. You can suck on that, Barnes. You too, Noble.
6. Well designed. Turning pages is effortless. Battery life is respectable. And bookmarks, used diligently, become the crux of fluent navigation.
7. iPhone app! All Kindle content is accessible on your iPhone with this app. I’ve read chunks of books and even an entire novel on my iPhone. It’s easily one of my top 5 favorite apps.
For those who care, a selection of my Kindle books:
- Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
- A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
- No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
- Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
- The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- St. Augustine Confessions (Oxford World’s Classics) by Saint Augustine
- Prayer - 10th Anniversary Edition by Richard Foster
- The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
- NIV Bible
Granted, I’ve only had the Kindle for 6-months, so my library is a bit thin. And one wish I do have is that Amazon gave you the option of buying the Kindle version and the book version for a bundled price. There’s something nostalgic about showcasing books on a shelf that I never foresee going away.
The bottom-line is, if you’re a reading fanatic, the Kindle should at the very least pique your interest. However, if you’re like me, it’ll downright tickle your Tom Clancy.
Are you a Kindle owner or do you have questions about the Kindle? Feel free to comment below. I’d love to hear what’s on your mind.