Monday, September 10, 2012

Kindle and Me

I love books. I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember. Novels, especially. I’ve loved looking at them, smelling them, flipping through them, and eventually, reading them. I have also believed in reading books as books, and while the whole notion of e-books seemed attractive for practical as well as geeky purposes, I thought it would take me a while to make the (ultimately unavoidable) transition. Until, that is, right before my summer vacation, when I realized that half my suitcase was filled with books and there was no room for any clothing or toiletries (nerds like to dress up too, you know).

So, I decided to take along the Kindle my brother had generously lent me (and by lent, I mean pretty much given away). It’s a Kindle Keyboard 3G (I believe this one), very compact and light (and those will be the keywords for this review).  I found some sites to download the books I had in mind for my vacation. Let’s leave it at that. Then I found a pouch to use as a cover, and voila! I was set.

To keep things from getting overly long: I loved it. Kindle was light, it was easy to navigate, it told me how much of the book I’ve read so far (I used to calculate that as I went along with ‘regular’ books). My concern about dropping it in the sand and/or water proved to be ungrounded with only the slightest amount of attention. Visibility was extremely clear, and the E-ink felt like it was printed on paper. But I experienced the benefits only when I started reading a paperback after my return: it was difficult to keep the pages open, I couldn’t prop it up anywhere, I constantly needed at least one hand to be able to read... It was clear that I had been converted.

After having read two books on Kindle, and with the comparison I was able to make; there are only two possible drawbacks I could think of. One is about the actual physical feel of a book: the content of a book is etched in my memory along with its size and cover, it’s a rounded experience. Maybe I can say more about this when I read a few more books on Kindle, but this may prove to be another unnecessary concern. The second weakness, I realized when I forgot a paperback I was reading in a friend’s bag. If you leave your Kindle somewhere, or lose it, or break it, etc., you lose all your books. So maybe it’s safe to still keep a paperback with you, just in case...
Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being was the first book I read on Kindle - a book from a time when books came only on paper! (and I still haven't seen the movie...)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Iron Lady

Long time, no blog...
If I were young enough to know 1980s only through films, Phyllida Lloyd's portrait of Thatcher would probably convince me that 'Maggie' was a sweet, if on occasion tough -for the right reasons of course- lady. The film stands at a very conservative point, takes forever to get into action, and swiftly avoids any political commentary over the entire Thatcher era. But all of that is easy to miss, thanks to Meryl Streep's amazing performance. She is indeed likely to receive her third Oscar next month.
For a Turkish summary of all this, let it suffice to boil the film down to one sentence: "Ne güzel başbakanımızdın sen Maggie Abla..."