Saturday, August 28, 2010

How the Kindle makes bibliophilia worse

I love books. I have always loved books. I used to beg my parents to read me my favorite stories over and over again. We aren't really sure exactly when I began to read because I would memorize books so quickly and be able to recite them by heart. I was the kid who was always reading under her desk during class. I never thought it was a problem until my last year teaching in France when I caught one of my students doing it. My first instinct was to think it wasn't that big of a deal, until I realized that it would set a bad example for the other kids to let him get away with it!

I still don't think it's a big deal.

My parents got me a Kindle for my birthday before I went back to France for a second year because I had trouble finding books in English in my small town, and even in Paris you aren't guaranteed to find the book you want. What an amazing present!! As long as I am somewhere with wireless I can get almost any book I want. It's amazing! One of my favorite features is the free sample feature. You can download the first several pages of a book for free to see how you like it before you buy it. I love it. I love being able to try out books.

I'm afraid I've become a bit of a Kindle addict! Real paper books don't interest me the way they used to because I love my Kindle so much. That's terrible. I know there are some books I could never read on a Kindle; any Jane Austen, for example. But I have several paper books that I need to read and have been meaning to read, and for some reason they just don't make me want to read them the way my Kindle makes me want to read. I also have books I've been meaning to order from Amazon that I haven't ordered yet because I'm so captivated by my Kindle!

Then there's the ability to browse for books! I can always have new books! All the time! I can look through hundreds of books a day! Their enormous store is always open! I can sit in bed and look for books! It's amazing! This is another reason why I don't want to read the paper books that I already have in my possession but have yet to read. I'm kind of addicted to looking at new books all the time! I don't know if it's the appeal of being able to look at all those different books all the time, or the idea that there might be something better out there.... I really don't know. I just know that I'm hooked on Kindle, and I may have been spoiled for real books forever!

One of my favorite books when I was a kid was a book of American tall tales that my mom's graduate adviser gave me. By far my favorite story was, and still is, the tale of John Henry. Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox are pretty cool too, but John Henry holds a special place in my heart. My friend Get Yourself Connected and his tale of machines taking over railroad work that used to be done by men reminded me John Henry and the great folk songs about him. The Boss has a pretty mean version of one on his album We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions.


Monique said...

I feel the same way about my Sony eReader!!! Except, I seem to have lost it in the move.....

But now that the Barnes & Noble Nook is out, I feel I should have waited a few years to get it! That thing blows my eReader out of the water!

getyourselfconnected said...

Book addict as well? I know the feeling. I read all the time!

Happy you know the John Henry story, I love American folklore and legend but that one always had special meaning to me because of the railroad angle.

Great post!

shannon said...

I really want a kindle. I wouldn't have to worry about how much weight I'd be adding to my suitcase each time I bought a book. I'm become too attached to my books to think about giving them away after I read them (unless I'm just loaning them out...).

Mary Harvest Kitchen said...

we should sing some John Henry songs at the next singing gathering--I'm planning to start having those again soon. xx

ps. BOOKS! (you know me)

Zhu said...

I can relate - I love books are I go crazy when I don't have anything to read. Last year, I made Feng go check out all the hostels in Buenos Aires for book exchange because I had finished my last English novel.

Yet, I'm not sure I would enjoy reading on an electronic device... Maybe I should give it a chance.

Andromeda said...

Though I'm not going back till Spring, I'm already thinking about which books I want to bring back with me from my parents' house, lol. A Kindle sounds like my birthday request for this year, you gave such a great review :-)

au soleil levant said...

Monique - well, I have to put in a good word for the Kindle over the Nook! Hope you find your ereader.

GYSC - love finding fellow reading-lovers! And John Henry afficionados!

Shannon - That's the way that Kindle has revolutionized my life the most, is that I don't have to take a million books with me any time I go anywhere. All I have to do is tuck my Kindle in my bag. Haven't been able to find French books on it yet though.

Mary - but think of all the trees I'm saving by not buying books! And yeah, I know there's the library, and I still love the library, but half the time they don't have the book I want or it's been reserved until 2015. Looking forward to more musical nights!

Zhu - you should see if you can sample a Kindle, they're really easy to read on. It's just like reading a print book, not like reading off a back lit computer screen.

Andromeda - I totally recommend the Kindle! I think that now the wireless works internationally, but you might want to check on that. Otherwise you can download books to your computer and upload them to the Kindle with a USB cord. And now that there's competition from the Nook, the prices have come way down!