|Image from Amazon.com|
First of all, thank you so much to everyone who enters their Amazon shopping through the Amazon Widget on my sidebar. This story could not have happened without you.
For years now I have mocked and scoffed at the Kindle. I love real books... their feel, their scent, the way the pages turn yellow with age... I even love to read the signature on the inside cover of an old book, telling me the name of a previous owner.
A common statement the past few years to my technology loving friends and family was, "I know there are real books in the future because Jean Luc Picard falls asleep reading old books at night!".*
Last year I had enough Amazon credit after the Christmas Holiday season credits arrived to purchase a Kindle if I so wanted... I so didn't. Oh, I admit that for a brief fleeting moment the thought crossed my mind but then I pondered what I could purchase with the credit and turned my back on technology.
But something happened this past year. A few friends came to love their Kindle. I began to notice how many classic books I've wanted to read were now available for e-readers... free. That really does mean at no cost whatsoever! Not to mention other books available for just a small amount of cash.
So... just in case I might (just might mind you) change my thinking, I started doing more research online and in real books about the pros and cons of e-readers. One book in particular (which I will be writing about this week) actually helped me a great deal when the author shared why the Kindle had to be set aside for his reading.
Around the time my credit was due in, I was looking for a copy of Sir Gibby (which I am gong to read, Bonnie!) on Amazon and found it to be free for the Kindle... as were other books by George MacDonald.
As well as Chesterton, Andrew Murray, I. Lilias Trotter, Brother Lawrence, A. W. Tozer, Elizabeth Prentiss, Amy Carmichael, Jonathan Edwards, Grace Livingston Hill, L. M. Montgomery, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, Elizabeth Gaskell, G. K. Chesterton, Gene Stratton-Porter, P. G. Wodehouse, Louisa May Alcott, Kenneth Grahame... and many, many, many more.
In my searching Amazon, I also found many free books about cooking, homemaking, gardening, and even homesteading in the past. I'm especially interested in those written during WWI and WWII. These tend to be good although I've only had time to quickly peruse them with a promise to come back later with full attention.
Okay, I was sold... literally... and when the time came, I ordered the Kindle. I ate my words. I should learn never to say never.
The first few days after it arrived found me downloading free books and organizing them all into various "Collections" (what can I say, I started out in business as a secretary and filing is in my DNA).
I even spent some credit on more recent low cost Kindle books and I signed up for updates on free Kindle downloads. I wanted to try it all (as I do tend to go in for things all or nothing).
After a month of being a Kindle owner what have I found?
Well, I am so glad I waited an extra year to do my homework because I knew what to expect. Some books are fabulous on the Kindle (especially fiction, biography, and many other non-fiction books). Others I found to be good are certain Bibles and devotionals, especially as I can click on the title and go immediately to the last page read.
I don't manage cookbooks well on the Kindle unless they have a fabulous Table of Contents (all the cookbooks I have downloaded were either free and a couple for 99 cents). Any book that I needed to return to a previous section quite often was frustrating. Otherwise, I have found no big challenges.
I do agree with the writer of the book I mentioned earlier (who wrote about why he set his Kindle aside for awhile)... you have to guard against e-reader ADHD. He said he found himself switching from one book to another constantly and going on rabbit trails clicking on those options within a book. It would be very easy to do that, especially with books that give those options. (Another reason the free classics are at times better... they are simple.)
That's why I have warned Christopher (who is extremely ADHD) that if he wants an e-reader for just reading books, stick to the basic Kindles. I know him... he distracts easily. Anyway, he already owns an iPad (he designs Apps for smart phones, iPads, etc.).
So, since I had read his warnings already... I set up a Current Reading Collection on my Kindle. In it I have only parked the book/s I am reading right now (besides the Bibles, devotionals, etc.).
With the Kindle you can keep each book within various Collections so it is made easy (for instance, both the Current Reading books were biographies so both could also be found in my Collection called Biography).
In this case, I was reading a biography of Jonathan Edwards and a biography of Francis Schaeffer at the same time... usually starting out with John Piper's book about Edwards which is rather deep at times and then switching to the Schaeffer biography which was written for young people and very easy to read.
By doing this on the Kindle, I was better able to read both at the same time and notice the similarities in these two men who are my two favorite giants of the faith... even though they lived 300 years apart.
Will an e-reader ever replace real books in my life?
Good gracious, no! Just this past week I had to reorganize bookshelves again to hold more lovely old books. I never turn on my Kindle and hug it to me and I'm certain the Kindle will never show water marks as my ancient copy of Hidden Art does... from reading it in the bathtub one too many times after small children had (finally) fallen asleep.
But I must admit, there is room for technology in the life of a Bibliophile. This past week I slipped it into my purse when I was to meet Christopher at the McDonald's next to the Engineering Building on campus. It gave me... options.
Recently I was reading the Kindle when Miss M. was visiting. She looked over my way and said she would never want to own one. I looked at her and told her she may want to be careful what she says. ;)
*For those who do not share my passion for Star Trek, Jean Luc Picard is the captain of the Star Ship Enterprise in the "Star Trek the Next Generation" TV shows and movies.