The Kindle vs. the Book?

I would like to wax poetic about libraries and technology and how awesomely they go together. This past fall I entered the world of the Kindle thanks to a wonderful birthday gift. Back in the 80s during my middle school years I would never have thought one day I’ll be reading books from a flat DVD cover sized device (shoot I didn’t even know DVDs would exist). It was the frontier-like era of computers; they were available at schools and rarely seen in anyone’s home. I even went away to college in 1993 with an electric typewriter (I thought I was doing big things!). Can you see where this is going? I was brought up in a time period when computers were viewed as something strange and interesting and there wasn’t even a thought (at least by non-tech folks) of downloading a book to an electronic device…what?! I hadn’t even heard the word download. I mean reality is I would never have purchased a Kindle because it was the enemy, it was designed as part of this bigger machine to kill the printed word…seriously, hasn’t that aided in making newspapers one step closer to being extinct?  So what changed? Two things: someone at work brought one in and allowed me to take a (skeptical) look AND it was a gift and you can’t look a gift horse in the mouth (where did that phrase come from?).

When my brand new touch screen Kindle was presented to me, the b.f. told me he thought about this gift because it would eliminate the heavy shoulder bag I carry when I travel because I always have two to three books with me for fear of being trapped somewhere with nothing to do for hours. Hmmm, why in all my theoretical reasons for not allowing myself to love this little piece of technology, did I never think, oh yeah, I can carry mad books with me and all of them together will weigh the same as one of those sorely under-utilized solar-powered Texas Instrument calculators that I still have from my high school chemistry class- speaking of which for all its bells and whistles I only use that calculator to add up my bills…I digress! I’m a chick who loves her book shelves and has read most of the books on them. I love the slightly scratchy texture of paper beneath my fingertips. I was brought up on books and began my love affair with reading one summer when I was grounded, only allowed to sit on the back stoop, and forced to read a book of my Mom’s choosing. That book was Charlotte Bronte’s ‘Jane Eyre’ and I was not thrilled because it looked to be the size of a dictionary. Once I realized my Mom was serious and I was never getting off that stoop as long as it was hot outside I began to read in earnest and ended up enjoying Jane and Mr. Rochester’s story.

I now identify my books with happiness especially in colder weather; to curl up with a book and drink some tea while watching it rain or snow outside your window is a beautiful thing. I still don’t get the same feel from my Kindle so for me it won’t replace my buying books that I want to have on my bookshelves. I also find that unlike my books, which I will lend out, it’s not likely I’ll lend someone my Kindle which sucks, because I’d like my sister to read both of the only two books on it: Robert Rave’s ‘Conversations and Cosmopolitans’ and Common’s ‘One Day It Will All Make Sense’. I also thought about the fact that it’s going to get pretty expensive to buy a book every time I’m headed out of town for the weekend, so what’s a girl to do? Enter the public library. Someone recently told me that the local library just started allowing patrons to download books to their electronic devices, which means that I can load some books up on my Kindle without having to go broke trying to keep up with my reading appetite. Moral(s) of this story: technology is awesome and please do get a library card…there are too many benefits the library provides to not take advantage.

Note: Please share any good non-fiction and/or auto-biographical books you’ve enjoyed; I’m always looking for my next good read.

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