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...)