The Sunday Salon: Joyfully entering the fray

My family gave me a lovely gift for Mother’s Day.  This was especially surprising since we don’t usually “do” Mother’s Day gifts, but I was overjoyed to receive it!   Can you tell what it is?  (it’s clickable. if you’d like a larger view)

A book?  Well, sort of … it certainly has a pretty cover doesn’t it?  Now look inside (again, click to enlarge):

Yes, it’s a Kindle!  I’d been eying them from afar, and would probably have broken down and bought one in a matter of weeks.  Once I recovered from the surprise gift, I downloaded the complete works of Jane Austen:  all six novels, which I’ve read and intend to re-re-re-read, plus Lady Susan and Love and Friendship, which I haven’t.  I wish-listed loads of other free classics, and I downloaded a manuscript I’m reading for a friend.  And then I a won a copy of We Need to Talk About Kevin, by Lionel Shriver, which I’ve also read before.  And thus began my e-reading journey.

Just as I was experiencing the Joy of Kindle, I read an interesting short post in The New Yorker’s Book Bench.  Using a Shelf Awareness quote as its jumping-off point, Are You a Reader or an Owner? was a “personality test for the bookish.”  Well, I am definitely a reader.  I’m in it for the experience of reading more than collecting (with the exception of Virago Modern Classics, which I collect with reckless abandon).  This should make me an ideal candidate for the Kindle, but once I downloaded the free stuff, I had to stop and think.  What am I willing to pay for and own?  I’m a long-term fan of Paperbackswap and my local library, and I intend to keep using both.  By no means do I see my Kindle replacing “dead tree books.”   So what makes a book Kindle-worthy?  Having mostly weaned myself off of buying books retail, I’m a bit worried about going crazy and damaging my pocketbook.  For the time being, these are my criteria:

  1. Classics I’m likely to read again and again
  2. Chunksters where Kindle’s portability is a major benefit
  3. Essay collections, short stories, and certain nonfiction, all of which I may want to read a bit at a time
  4. Books with a waiting list on Paperbackswap, that I want to own sooner.

On Friday I bought my first Kindle book, The God Delusion, which meets criteria #3 and 4. We’ll see how it goes, this could all be a bit like making New Year’s Resolutions. 🙂

If you have any tips on Kindle reading and buying, I’d love to hear from you!


Read more from The Sunday Salon here.

23 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: Joyfully entering the fray

  1. Congratulations, I got my Kindle about six weeks ago. I love paperbacks and never thought I would convert to an ereader but my eyes are going and, even with reading glasses, I find it difficult to read books with small print.

    The instant-download is very appealing and I also love the free access to the classics. There was a brilliant sale in January and also (though only in the UK, I think) a spring sale recently, with books by bestselling/critically-acclaimed authors priced at around £1/$1.50 for a short while.

    I had got into the habit of adding paperbacks to my shopping cart on Amazon as an unofficial wishlist to remind myself to go back and buy them (not necessarily from Amazon, I like to support independent book stores) but you can’t do that with ebooks. However, if you check they have a useful facility which allows you to add a book that interests you that is currently priced too high – they monitor it on Amazon and send you an email (the service is automated, obviously) to let you know when the price drops. Publishers play around with price all the time so if you’re not in a hurry to read something (which I never am) then it’s a great way to be alerted when there’s a sale.

    • Helen, I agree with you about the appeal of instant download. As for Kindle wish lists, does Amazon UK have a wish list feature? Their US site does, so I created a list for Kindle books I might want to buy someday. Thanks for the tip on ! I will definitely check it out.

  2. Oh, I feel the pull of the dark side. Must. Resist. Seriously, I think these are just the ticket for travelling. It was silly that our luggage had at least four books in it last big trip.

    • Tui, good point about traveling. I don’t travel much, but on a related note I always bring a book with me to work. And if it’s a chunkster it just adds to the weight I have to schlep back and forth. So I hope the Kindle will help with that.

  3. The perfect gift these days for an avid reader! I don’t own a device yet but would head over to girlebooks if I did to download The War Workers by Delafield.


    • Darlene, I had to Google that Delafield book and have now discovered Girlebooks and … OMG! I have bookmarked that site and will be exploring it in great detail. THANK YOU !

  4. Wow – Congrat! I’m interested to hear how the actual experience of reading from a kindle is (versus the tactile page flipping experience).

    Another piece of criteria I would add would be important reverence works like those by:
    Martin Luther King
    President Abraham Lincoln
    Dali Lama

    Anyway – Congrats and looking forward to seeing you guys.


    • Jeff, the tactile experience of a Kindle is not as different as I expected, particularly once I put the cover on. The cover opens like a book and the page turning involves pushing a button on the edge, so not too different really. There are some eReaders (the iPad’s iBooks for example), where the page-turning itself is tactile, too.

    • Thanks Col! I agree about the travel thing, and I’m excited about taking it with me on our family vacation this summer.

  5. Oh, hope you enjoy it! I doubt if I would have bought one for myself, but got it as a Christmas gift. And discovered there are many wonderful aspects to Kindle book buying. The quick download of Whispernet (great for those who have difficulty with delayed gratification!); somewhat lower prices; and ease when traveling.

    I took a trip last year and had to haul in three tote bags of books (I was there for a week).

    I still have books on my Kindle that I haven’t read, so obviously I could have waited to buy them. But I get a little niggle of anticipatory glee when I think of them…just waiting.



    • Laurel-Rain, I completely understand that “anticipatory glee” thing. In fact I think I’m feeling it right now!

  6. I am a new Kindle owner myself, and one of the things that I love (aside from all the free classics!!!) is that I can read something on my Kindle that may not be readily available in print. I paid to download South Riding on my Kindle because I couldn’t find it ANYWHERE. I’ve also decided that if I absolutely adore a book that I read on my Kindle, I will probably buy a hard copy of it. I guess that puts me firmly in the owner category!

    I would suggest that you check the Kindle Bestseller list periodically because books will occasionally be free (or a penny, nickel, or dime) for short periods of time. That’s how I got Passage to India for free!

    P.S. My bookclub is going to read Testament of Youth per your recommendation. We are all really looking forward to it!

    • Jo, great point about reading things not readily available in print. See my response to Darlene’s comment below, with a link to a site that might be of particular interest to you!

      P.S. Very glad to see your “PS” as well. I hope you all enjoy the book and the discussion.

  7. Well, I’m BOTH a reader AND a collector…although I will be the first to admit that my collection of books is a bit out of hand! I have not yet felt the urge to buy an e-book reader. I like owning the physical books, but I also just like the feel of a book in my hand which I do not think I would get with an e-reader. It has been interesting to see the publishers moving toward e-books for review copies…and if that continues, I won’t be accepting books for review for much longer. I’ll be interested to see how things go with your resolutions, Laura! Good luck!

    • Wendy, I’m surprised how much the Kindle “feels” like a book once the cover is on. Come on over to the dark side … 🙂

    • Jeremy, I’m trying to tell myself I’m doing this for environmental reasons (tree conversation or something) although I know that’s not really true because I’m pretty sure “dead tree books” will still enter our home! Oh well …

  8. Pingback: The Sunday Salon: Free vs. Purchased…. | Books in the Burbs

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