Monday, November 29, 2010

I got a Kindle!

For my birthday I got an unexpected present: a Kindle. Now, let me say that I'm the sort of person who is content with things the way they are, mostly: I check out books from the library, I loan and borrow them from people, occasionally I buy them. I didn't see that I'd use a Kindle much, especially as I use my credit card for large purchases only. However, as the idea began to work in my brain, I could see a couple of advantages to having an e-reader. Magazines, for instance. No more clutter on the coffee table. No more wondering why some weeks the New Yorker comes on Thursdays and other weeks on Mondays. No more missing New Yorkers! (Bah! It turns out I can't switch my current subscription to the Kindle, I have to wait for it to run out and renew it via Amazon.) And there's the space issue, which is one reason why I don't buy a lot of new books. As it happened, my book club had just chosen Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer -- a book about Pat Tillman. Not a book I would ordinarily make a long story short, oh so sinfully cheap on Kindle and I don't have to feel that I gambled buying a book I don't know much about. (Also, it turned out to be an excellent book which I don't regret buying.)
So I can see that this may, in fact, change some of my reading and buying habits. It will be interesting to see how much...
I still love books and I particularly love the cheapness and portability of them. I love that you can leave a book on a bus...or that you can find a book on a bus. When I was teaching I kept a library in my room and didn't try to keep track of who had what. Some of the books never came back, but I didn't mind -- I figured I was creating new readers. And I don't think Kindles will ever replace that.

I also want to say that I read an amazing book recently. It's written by a scientist called Iain Gilchrist and is called The Master and His Emissary. It's basically about differences in how the right brain and left brain view the world and how in the current era the left brain view (which is often fragmented and disassociated from reality and which views objects as having a fixed value) dominates. It's not exactly an easy read: there's a lot about Heidegger and the paradox of Theseus' Ship and other landmarks of the history of philosophy, as well as an entire section on brain structure. But definitely worth it. Among other things it kind of explains why it's so difficult, when you're revising something, to tell if it's any good or not. (Not that it helps you do anything about it, but at least you know why, after this book.)

1 comment:

Mary Aalgaard said...

Thanks for your take on the Kindle. I think it has great potential. It might even increase reading habits. Plus, it will have electronic features that can add so much to the readig experience - like embedding music or visuals. Still, nothing beats holding that book in your hand, the leaving and finding of one, the running of your hands and eyes along the bookshelves.