To Kindle or Not…

19 Jul

Reading has always been one of my most favorite parts of summer.  It’s the only time I can read whatever I want without feeling guilty that it’s not from Penguin Publishing or a McGraw-Hill hardback.  I’ve already taken full advantage of this limited time luxury by reading non-stop for the past two months.  I’m not sure if it’s because I grew up reading copious amounts or if I was born this way, but I read freakishly fast.  It’s both a blessing and a curse.  On one hand, I breeze through books like a speed racer and it takes me half the time to read a text than it would others. Yet, this only really benefits me when I’m reading for pleasure (ie: books with plots) and not for class because at the rate that I’m ingesting the words I can’t comprehend difficult text.  So here’s where the downside comes in: while it takes me half the time to read for fun it takes me twice as long to read for class because I need to re-read a few times before I actually grasp what is being read.  However, none of this has to do with what I want to discuss today.

I received a Kindle last Christmas and have gotten mixed reactions when I share this fact.  I’ve had some gush about their amorous relationship with their e-reader while others turn their nose up at such a device.  After spending some quality time with mine here’s my overall reaction:

Positives

As mentioned, I read quickly so it’s become a norm for me to travel with at least three books regardless of the destination or duration.  Anyone who has flown within the last couple years knows the irritant of having to pay a baggage fee on top of the ticket price and being a notorious over-packer I always have to worry about weight. As I have grown out of picture books and prefer novels over magazines, adding three large books to my already crammed suitcase is a challenge and adding any more weight to my carry-on risks extreme back pain.  This is where my Kindle saves the day (and my back).  I can now take as many books as I want wherever I go and not have to worry about leaving room in my suitcase or purse.  Also, the battery life on it is phenomenal.  I can go weeks without having to charge it.  It’s been a huge relief to have multiple books in a compact reader that fits in just about any bag.

 

Not-So-Positive  
The downside to the Kindle isn’t really a negative it’s simply what I find undesirable.  I basically grew up in a library and from the time I learned how to read I was seldom seen without a book in hand. Reading from a book that I can hold, seeing the familiar dog-eared pages and storing a book on a shelf when it’s concluded is what I’m used to.  It’s familiar and it’s right.   I don’t care how nerdy it sounds, I love books.  I love everything about books. I love the way pages feel rough yet smooth, the stiffness and crackle of the cover when you open it for the first time, the sound the pages make when you turn it.  However, my most favorite thing about holding a book occurs in the last 20-30 pages when you’re reading a really good page-turner that you can’t put down and will forfeit sleep for. That feeling of not wanting the book to end, so you read a little slower relishing every word in every sentence until you’ve reached the last letter.  Although I can still appreciate a good novel electronically, I don’t feel the same sense of bittersweet melancholy when I can’t feel the right half of the book thinning out.  When I can’t see, without a shadow-of-doubt exactly how far into the book I am and how much I have left.  That is what I miss when I read from my Kindle.
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2 Responses to “To Kindle or Not…”

  1. Jeremy July 20, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    I love this Kelley! It’s so true; Kindle makes things easier for traveling, but kind of takes away the overall joy of reading. I have pretty much the same in-between view on e-readers; I don’t hate them, yet I’m not in love with them either.
    I have my own nerdy quarks, too; I love the feel of the pages, but I also love the smell of them. Usually (and strangely), if a book smells good, I’ll probably read it – almost regardless of what the book is about 🙂

    • kelleyzwong July 20, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

      Hi Jeremy! Good to hear from you. I’m very familiar with the way books smell. I also love libraries and bookstores. I want to live in them.

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