Friday, July 20, 2012

Our Kindle goes traveling

Forget the argument that the Kindle will allow you to carry hundreds of books on this little tablet. That's true, of course, but irrelevant -- who would be reading all those books, when there are so many other things to do while traveling? No, the best, the unique pleasure of the Kindle is the immediacy of its response.  If I want a particular book (and I'm willing to pay for it), it's ready for me to read in minutes.
To fully appreciate this, try making an extended visit to Saskatchewan, Canada, a place of great beauty and no book stores.
We had packed a starter set of books in the truck, but you always remember something you'd neglected to include, or you read about a newly published book, or somebody like your sister recommends a book.  It's like magic, the acquisition of exactly the item you want to spend time with RIGHT NOW.
I have purchased books in Germany and in Canada, thanks to our Kindle's ability to use wireless to Amazon's website. Both worked just fine -- although Amazon's new tax situation has caused us as official Texans to pay sales tax for the first time in our relationship with the company.
We continue to prowl through every bookstore we do find, but we have had little success.  One chain bookstore in a Saskatchewan shopping mall was clearly stocked for teenagers, heavy on Twilight and Hunger and Vampires but nothing for adults beyond the Top Ten Sellers.  A promising-looking used bookstore in Manitoba was hosting a class which took up most of the bookshelves; we didn't feel we should intrude.  My goal currently is to visit enough Canadian book stores to learn what is current in Canadian literature.
Another pleasure provided by the Kindle: focus.  I am forming new reading patterns.  When I read a book or a magazine, I find myself turning pages, riffling from front to middle to front again, to the cartoons or the book reviews at the back.  With the Kindle I start at the beginning and read my way (occasionally checking percentage read, it's true) to the end.  I have realized that I'm more aware of the prose, paying more attention to the details of what I'm reading.  Will this last?  I hope so.
So after a half dozen or so books, I'm now a firm admirer of the Kindle.


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