I received the best birthday present of my life this March when Meredith got Marcus and Lucas to take Badger to the beach, and Lucas, a talented photographer, took pictures of pony (one of Badger’s several nicknames). He is nicknamed “pony” because with his long, rangy legs, he looks like a pony especially when he races and runs, which as a Jack Russell, is one of his main life purposes. I get to see my beautiful white beachy frame with the beautiful beach pictures of him every morning.
So, the 3-M’s (Meredith, Mike and Marcus) outdid themselves this holiday season. I had an early Christmas gift-opening this year and I got a Kindle 2. I let it charge 2 1/2 hours, registered it, and have started to use it.
I made my first Kindle book purchase: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Seeing the gorgeous film trailers and having read AT it for several years, I thought of the first grouping of 30 or 40 books I looked at, this seemed the likeliest for me to start reading.
I have started reading, and I am causing myself some anxiety and discomfort by turning back to the computer and blogging. By the way, my Kindle just went idle, and my default screensaver is a large, well-illustrated black and white picture of Ralph Ellison.
Let me preface what I am about to say: I am a Kindle user of about 3 hours, so I am not giving an expert device review. Crunchgear has a great basic overview of ten reasons to buy, and not to buy a Kindle.
What I do have to say is that I haven’t been this happy and excited about reading – anything – for years. This includes my Jon Krakauer books. This includes my climbing, hiking and point-of-death adventure books. It includes stories of John Muir, and . . . heaven forbid . . . fiction. The last book that I read that I genuinely enjoyed was Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susannah Clarke. Some time ago.
I own over 5,000 books. Many of these are art books, some are family books, while others are first editions, and in other ways, special and unique. I love hardcovers, and love the beautifully-made feel and quality of a beautiful, well-typeset and designed book. The Kindle cannot replace art books, and I am certain there are other sorts of physical books for which it will not be an ideal substitute.
But for regular reading, of the sort people used to do to relax, to divert themselves, and to activate their imagination and mind? I have just reclined in my office chair, rolled it around and turned to face my lovely beachy bedroom window, with a view that I seldom see turned opposite as I frequently do to use the computer. I have leaned back and lifted the Kindle, and as I read the exquisite writing of Alice Sebold, I suddenly want more than anything to listen to Susie Salmon’s story. I want to find out about her heaven, and I want every word of this story to resonate in my mind. I want to savor it. I want it to last.
I have heard from many adult friends who “no longer have time for books” aside from trains and airplanes and rare beach excursions, that once they got a Kindle, they began reading more and more. I see so vividly now the difference between the unsatisfying, frustrating computer screen reading experience, and how satisfying, relaxing and lovely the Kindle is. It is as simple as turning in my chair, leaning back, and holding the “book” up as easily as a “real book” or moreso. Perfectly balanced, lightly pressed between my fingers, a bare movement of my thumb to read from page to page to page . . .
I believe for this, Susie Salmon is the exact right girl . . . she has “spunk,” it says . . . and now I must read.
(now at 42% . . .)
Also good Christmas purchases include Badass, by Ben Thompson (hilarious and cool – an entire chapter on Musashi and other figures I didn’t know about, like Xenophon, who swung his “giant steel ballsack” around to eliminate the whining pussy enemy). My fave chapter so far is the one on history’s rockstar Tsar, Peter the Great.