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:
- Classics I’m likely to read again and again
- Chunksters where Kindle’s portability is a major benefit
- Essay collections, short stories, and certain nonfiction, all of which I may want to read a bit at a time
- 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.