One of my favorite perks to taking a low key vacation is getting the chance to catch up on finishing up a really good book (or two).
Last year, Danny sweetly gave me a Kindle for my birthday and it has gone with me everywhere since.
Admittedly I was one of the staunch protestors of reducing the physicality of the reading experience to a lifeless technological gadget, but having one has been the inerrant rebuttal to silence my argument.
Of course there is something to be said for the tangible experience of reading a paperback. The smell of the ink, the crisp feel of pages threaded between your fingertips, the palpable connectedness that comes from dragging a pen beneath the words that strike you most; it’s a special kind of intimacy that I will always hold close to my heart.
That being said, I cannot brag enough about the benefits of an eReader. I love the convenience of it for trips, the flexibility of page layout and it’s incredible battery life. When I carry it around I feel like I’m holding a wonderful secret. It’s like I can feel it glowing from inside my purse, a living, breathing treasure trove of stories to send me wherever I want to go.
It’s sped up my reading rate dramatically. Last year I read 14 books total, and this year I’m already matching that number with 5 months to spare.
The Descendants - July, A Discovery of Witches - July, Life of Pi - July, East of Eden - Reread June, Bob Dylan Chronicles Vol. 1 - May, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress - April, The Dharma Bums - March, The Sun Also Rises - February, The Hunger Games - Reread February, Lord of the Flies - January, The Handmaid’s Tale - January, This Side of Paradise - January, The Tales of Beedle the Bard - January, One and Only - January
In typical fashion, I’ve set a goal for myself to read 20 books this year. I am all about motivation and having projects to look forward to, so I love the organizational ease of the website Goodreads. You can track books you have read, would like to read, and even set a goal to complete however many books you’d like for the year. Feel free to follow me on Goodreads and make your own 2012 goal. It’s never too late to get motivated!
I am so stunned by the brilliant ease at which an eReader can bring books right to your fingertips. A few days ago I pre-ordered Shadow of Night, the second of the All Souls trilogy, and as soon as it became available it was wirelessly transferred onto my Kindle library via Whispernet. Okay, beyond how awesomely convenient that was, can we just take a moment to discuss Whispernet? What a bitchin' name. I know I've mentioned it before, so thank goodness someone’s taking advantage of this critical labeling period of the digital revolution. While we roll ridiculous words around like blog and facebook, Amazon is injecting verbs like Whispernet into our vernacular. High-five for helping make the future sound more formidable in everyday language.
Now here’s the real clincher. I can check out eBooks from the library, upload them automatically and read them for FREE. When they’re due they simply vanish off the kindle, no late fees or running to the book return drop required. Amazing. Simply amazing.
Plus the vast majority of books available for purchase are totally reasonably priced; and eliminating publishing fees makes for a bigger book budget.
If you’ve been toying with the idea of picking one up, here’s my advice:
- Go for the digital paper. Many of you, including myself, spend the majority of your day staring at a computer screen. Why add to the strain? Digital paper is closer to the look of a paperback so its forgiving on your eyes, will better ease you into the new medium, and unlike a backlit screen you can read it in full sunlight. (Danny and I were reading on the balcony one sunny morning and when he looked over from his copy of the latest Economist to my kindle, he was amazed that my screen actually looked better than his magazine in direct sunlight.)
- Don’t overcomplicate it. When i was browsing I made up my mind immediately about the product I was most interest in, the basic Kindle model. Here’s my logic. I have had an iphone since the second they existed, so I am very spoiled by the advanced capabilities of apple touch technology. I don’t want anything to frustrate me about my reading experience, so I opted against the touch model to be sure of that. Also, I have plenty of devices that can get me on the internet. Why would I want to distract my reading experience by using a device that could potentially lure me from the cathartic experience of getting involved in a good story?
- Educate yourself about the eReader that's best for you. As for manufacturer choice, that’s your call. I struggled between the Nook and the Kindle. As you may remember Barnes & Noble is one of my safe harbors, but ultimately I liked the interface, price and customer service and convenience of Amazon more.
As for case suggestions, I initally knit my own, but found it wasn't providing the protection I wanted so jumped on Amazon and did some browsing. I found this case, with a built in light that works off the charge of your kindle, so no battery changing necessary! if you alreay have a case you love, you can always grab a simple light here.
A lot of the concern with adopting eReaders is the anticipated disappearance of real books. I now think there is room to balance the two mediums, because as sure as I love my Kindle, there will always be a bookshelf in my home. I’ll always keep physical copies of my favorite stories, as I believe all book lovers will.
So, what are you reading!? I would love love LOVE any wonderful suggestions to help break my 2012 reading goal. Please share your favorites, regardless of what medium you chose to read them in ;)