I’m famously not a good reader. I’m slow and plodding. I never read without a pencil near and it can take me months to finish a book of only 300 pages. I’ve been reading Old Masters, New World: America’s Raid on Europe’s Great Pictures since January and I have about 100 pages still to go. The problem is I love to read, but I rarely have the chance to just lock down and consume words. And here’s the other truth, I love to read, but I love books more.
So when I was given amazon’s Kindle as a graduation present, I wasn’t sure how to feel. My pragmatic side said it was a good idea — I’m a gal on the go and the kindle is easily transportable, I’ve run out of shelf space, I’ve got a summer ahead of me to read books for fun. The booklover in me cringed at the thought. Imagine! Reading a digitized Austen! I was skeptical. Books without pages? No dog-eared corners. No pencil notes in the margins. No smell of glue and aging paper. This doesn’t make any sense. How can you fit a book on screen and still enjoy it the same way.
But today, as I sat on a small S-80 bound for Dallas, I was grateful for my kindle. Despite not being done with Old Masters, I have begun “Seven Days in the Art World” — which I am thoroughly enjoying and would never have gotten round to if it weren’t for the kindle. Add to that the fact I was toting 2 suitcases and a backpack through airports, the weight difference between a 400-page hardcover and a slim i-pod like kindle was much noticed. Now that i know how to work the highlight, bookmark and note features, I’m more fond of my kindle. In fact I kinda enjoy it pressing buttons on the device rather than stopping to frantically search for that pen I took out but can’t find.
For me, the kindle will never replace owning the paper-copy of most books — in particular, Victorian classics and art books — but it is a technological innovation I have embraced and a gadget I am rather happy to have been so generously given.