February 18, 2011

Welcome to the Machine

Pink Floyd, The Wall 1975

I wanted my very first e-book purchase for my Kindle to be special and so, I decided to download Abraham Verhese's novel, Cutting For Stone since the authors' parents hailed from Kerala.  Yes, when I first saw the name "Verghese" I knew the author was probably some version of a Malayali.  And I was correct.  Not only that, but in telling Manoj, it came out that his own grandfather's last name was Verghese.  No, most likely no relation, but still sort of  sweet, right?  And then, I discovered one of the characters in the book is named Anjali.  Huh.  Then, I realized the main character's name is the same as Manoj's maternal grandmother's name.  Lovely.  Apparently, I made the correct inaugural purchase for my first e-reader.

I have wanted a Kindle for a long, long time.  I have had mixed feelings about this device, though.  Want!  Yes. But still.....  What does this mean for books??  Real books with covers and dustjackets and spines and pages and texture and smell?  

When I was a little girl in Oskaloosa, KS, there was an odd little bookstore in town.  It was ran by volunteers and was only open on Saturday mornings.  Essentially their entire inventory consisted of the castoffs and excess donations from the Library System of North Eastern Kansas.  When I was little, a book could be purchased for $.10 - indeed, a single dime.  By the time I was an adult, they had raised the price to $.25 - yes, an entire quarter.   Many of these books were from the 50s and 60s - which is reasonable since they were clearing shelf space for newer books for the 70s.  So, oddly - I have a great fondness and lovely memories with books from the 50s and 60s.

Silly Mother by Lois Duncan
A cautionary tale of how little Michael’s mother was so stressed out that she was putting Michael's fire engine in the refrigerator and the baby’s bottle away in the toy box.  Michael’s father suggests that he start helping out around the house which he does to full effect because Mother all of sudden has time to bake a chocolate cake.  Perhaps, her "nerve pills" started to kick in?  How much you wanna bet that Michael grows up to be an emotional eater?

Katie John by Mary Calhoun
Growing up, I didn’t just love Katie John, I wanted to BE Katie John.  She was so fearless, spunky, and just plain COOL. I was so jealous that she got to live in a big, spooky house.

Double Wedding by Rosamund du Jardin
I just adored the 60s teen romance books - they rode around in jalopies and wore dungarees!  How daddio was THAT?  Although, I was always wondering why they couldn’t go on dates because they had to stay home to “wash their hair” - what boy would believe a lame excuse like that?  How long could it possibly take to WASH YOUR HAIR?  It wasn't until years later that I would unravel the mystery (and time commitment) of the Shampoo n’ Set.

Ah yes.  Long ago, I swore a Kindle could not replace a book.  And yes, that is true.  I will keep a healthy number of my current collection of books.  And I will continue to hunt down vintage books at garage sales and thrift stores. I will still purchase special new releases.  Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone series? Definitely.  The Power of Six?  Most certainly.  I want these books for my own kids to discover in our shelves.

Before the Kindle purchase, I had looked at other readers, other options (such as the iPad) and I realized that I did not want something backlit and I did not want to buy another toy or gadget - I have a Wii, a smartphone and a computer.  I simply wanted to read without distraction.

I have done my fair share of user acceptance testing in the past and my hat is off to the Kindle folks - they did an amazingly perfect job of creating a satisfactory reading experience.It is crazily comfortable to read - there are a jillion settings that allow you to get the font, the size, the spacing down to whatever fits your visual need.  The buttons are exactly where they should be.  I can read in any position (most importantly, the critical While Lying In Bed position.)  But damn, y'all - I could have used this thing when I was nursing mama.  I still cringe at the memory of trying to protect Anjali's newborn head as I precariously perched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on the side of my chair during nursing sessions.

So. There you have it.  The Kindle doesn't smell and is a spineless sort of soul.  No matter.  Against all odds, I am in love with this Kindle thingie.

Have I not already mentioned my penchant for crow served warm and smothered in Cholula sauce?

Knitted Kindle Cozy/Sock/Glove
My new baby needed a bootie, so I whipped this up over the weekend. Pay no mind to the fact that neither of my human babies received knitted booties from me.

In Progress

Knitted Kindle Cozy, Finished


The Hunter's Prize said...

I just finished Cutting for Stone! I loved it when I finally got past the slow start at the beginning and am sad it's over, actually.

I'm reading I am Number Four and it doesn't have the same depth, you know?

I also made a case for my Kindle when I got it and have seemed to have lost it in the last few weeks. I suppose this means I need to make another!

Patricia said...

I loved reading old books at my grandma's house. Most of them were early reading books like 'Dick and Jane'. I wonder what ever happened to those....

And I love the case you made -- beautiful!

Melanie said...

I love those Sue Grafton books, I figure I am about due for a re-read..... I have been waiting to get a reader until the library was on board, guess they are now, so let the begging begin.

Mary said...

I also just finished Cutting for Stone; absolutely facinating book filled with everything I love- drama, medical facts, history. Could not put it down and it made me cry and laugh and everything in between. You will love it!

Amazon has rolled out their lending feature now too- which works great if you know other Kindle owners. You should post if you are looking for a specific book to read, I'm sure one of your faithful readers will be glad to lend to you (I know I would!)

Happy Reading!

Chocolate Covered Susan said...

I had forgotten about Katie John! I probably checked that out from my school library several dozen times. I had an obsession with spooky old houses, too. Still do, I just know now as an adult that I don't want the responsibility of ownership and upkeep on one!

Cara said...

How funny - being able to read while nursing without the baby tearing my pages is one of my top two reasons for wanting a Nook. The other is that I usually pack a bunch of books for our trip to Bulgaria & I won't have the space to do so this time.

Olivia said...

I've been going to the library for my reading lately to save money and space, but I've been thinking about getting some type of e-reader to use when we travel. I heard the price of the E-Book is supposed to go down dramatically because their sales are lagging.

LuAnn said...

"But still..... What does this mean for books?? Real books with covers and dustjackets and spines and pages and texture and smell?"

Reminds me of a part of Fahrenheit 451: "Faber turned the pages, stopping here and there to read. "It's as good as I remember." . . . Faber sniffed the book. "Do you know that books smell like nutmeg or some spice from a foreign land? I loved to smell them when I was a boy. Lord, there were a lot of lovely books once, before we let them go."

But still, the Kindle, yeah.

Anonymous said...

The bobbsey twins! And Nancy. Nancy Drew, my mother's editions. Oh Carolyn Keene to this day I get a surge of excitement when I see your name.

I have set to knit my Nook or iphone a sock. but I think about it alot!