Monday, February 7, 2011

Books and such

I think I told you guy that I got a Kindle for Christmas?  Well, it has fast become my favorite way to read.  I'm a very avid reader, and I though I would miss physical books; the weight of them, the smell of them, the sound of a page turning.  All of those things are definitely parts of reading that I enjoy.

But, it turns out I don't.  I love my Kindle.  If you've never seen a digital reader, they are not back lit like a computer, so they don't hurt your eyes (you need a book light for reading in bed) (do not even talk to me if you are not nerdy enough to own a book light); they have a little bit of weight but are far from being heavy; my Kindle is the perfect size for my hand; they are much more transportable than a traditional book because of their slim design and light weight; you can have multiple books on your Kindle for say, vacation, instead of packing three or four novels so it frees up luggage space.  It's a really nice reading experience.

I'm a pretty committed library goer and I was a little worried that I wouldn't use the library as much, but that has not held true either.  While there are a lot of free books for the Kindle (anything published before 1923, I think, so hello Jane Austen), you still have to pay for most books and some are as expensive or even more expensive than a traditional book.  So, even though I really enjoy reading on my Kindle, I'm not going to buy a book just for the sake of buying a book.  If it's not a book I would have purchased in traditional form, I don't buy it for my Kindle either.

Example: I just finished reading The Last Child by John Heart.  It's kind of a mystery/suspense type book and while I really liked it, mystery/suspense is not typically my favorite genre of book and it's certainly not a book I'd ever read again (I already know who done it, so where's the fun in that?), so I borrowed it from the library and returned it when I was finished.  That was very satisfying to me.  Using the library always makes me feel like good people.

I've read a bunch of books on my Kindle so far that I've really enjoyed.  I re-read the Hunger Games Trilogy and actually found I liked it EVEN MORE the second time through.  I also read A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan and I thought it was fantastic.  Each chapter is narrated by a different character at a different period in time, and all the characters and stories are interconnected.  It goes from the past to the near future.  I read another novel on my Kindle, The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman that is told in a similar style, and I liked that one even more, probably because it's kind of about the newspaper business and I was a journalism major.

Here's the rub though; I really liked the Egan and Rachman novels and I think my friend Becky would like them too, but I can't lend them to her because the publisher does not allowed these books to be lent.  That's annoying, because I do lend out my books all the time and I don't like this restriction.  Plenty of books are lendable (the Hunger Games trilogy, for example), but I want them ALL to be lendable.  Get on that for me, okay?

So, I really realized how much I liked my Kindle this past week. I've been reading Jonathan Franzen's new novel, Freedom, which I received from my mother-in-law for Christmas in traditional book form.  I was equal parts excited and intimidated by this book (if you read The Corrections you can understand why).  It is a tomb, a 576 page hardcover novel.  Huge, in both physical and literary terms.  It took me an entire month of looking at it to psych myself up to begin reading.

It took me a little over a week to get through, which is a long time for me, even for a novel of that length.  In general, it is not nearly as tough as The Corrections; there are actual likable characters (or at least noble characters) which were completely lacking in The Corrections.  I think you need someone to root for in a story, right? The story in Freedom, while sad, is not nearly as disturbing as the one the The Corrections.  The tone is less despairing and I'd say the ending is even happy.   I realize if you've not read The Corrections this is not a very apt description for you, but I don't want to give the book away, and I want those of you that HAVE read The Corrections to give Freedom a chance, because it is better.  Really.

Anyways, while reading this massive book, I must have thought 10 times, "I really wish this was on my Kindle." The book is just so big and heavy and hard to mark a page in and I was tired of lugging it up and down the stairs every day.  I know this just makes me sound terribly lazy, but  my Kindle is just so compact and I love that.

Right now I'm reading Just Kids by Patti Smith and liking it quite a bit, though I almost always like autobiographies and biographies.  I got it from the library and I was wait listed forever and I nearly forgot about it until I got an email on Saturday that they were holding it for me.  I like it so much I'm a little sad that I did not actually buy it, and I'm a bit curious as to how the photographs would appear on the Kindle.

I also checked out Skippy Dies by Paul Murray and am a little concerned it will be too dense, and it's quite long (672 pages) so perhaps I'll wish I'd bought this one for my Kindle as well?  I think if I start to feel like it's too much I'll buy it for the Kindle and save it for later.  No, I probably won't.  I'm the type of person that has to finished a book once I've started; I feel like I OWE it to the book or something.  I think I've only ever put down two books in my life and not fished them.

So, that's what occupying my nightstand these days.  Tell me what your reading, and if you have a digital reader and what you think of it; or what you think of the idea of digital readers.  Just tell me something.

Disclosure: All books linked to in this post come from my Amazon Associates account and I will receive monetary compensation for your clicks and/or book purchases.

14 comments:

rach said...

I'm re-reading hitch hikers guide to the galaxy and no kindle here, just good old fashioned books. I like the idea of the kindle, I just don't know if I would ever really love it the same way I love a good book. I tend to get fancy scmancy gadgets and never really use them....

Strawberry said...

AND the Kindle can serve as a scrabble dictionary, AND you can play scrabble/sudoku/crossword puzzles on it! I lurve my Kindle, too.

VandyJ said...

I want a knidle--mostly for travel. I'm a book junkie and have several that I read over and over. I'm trying to expand my reading horizons. I get stuck a an author rut and get a bit reluctant to try different books.
Our library is small and the wait list for popular books is long. I don't get there often. I should go more.

Aliceson said...

Your Kindle sounds wonderful! I'm currently reading a fun novel about a woman who lost a bunch of weight and is trying to adjust to her new life. Can't think of the title right now... I also just picked up Marley and me from the bargain bin for just $2 to read on vacation next month.

Sprite's Keeper said...

I've burnt out my booklight. How nerdy am I? :-)
I'm currently reading "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and liking it. I think the Kindle can do digital downloads from the library like the Nook can, right?

Momma Hunt said...

I heart my Kindle too!

unmitigated me said...

Love my Kindle, too. And you could just add Becky temporarily to your Kindle account, as it supports up to four devices.

unmitigated me said...

The library thing? Does work for a Kindle, too, as long as the books are in PDF format, so you might have to use Adobe's converter first, but it's possible.

Becky said...

Ooh, some good recs in here.

And now that we understand how the lending thing works, we need to coordinate our purchases better! I mean, I bought all three of the HG trilogy too. Inefficient!

I'm about to start reading China Mieville's Perdido Street Station on kindle but I bet it's not lendable. Will check.

Amy said...

I don't have a kindle, but I was checking out my neighbor's. Like you, I didn't think I'd like it, but it's actually very "book-like". Great recommendations!

Mrsbear said...

I wouldn't mind getting a Kindle. I love a new toy.

I started downloading mp3 books from my library, which I plug into when I'm in the kitchen or doing housework, it makes the time go faster and I can squeeze in a book. By the end of the day, I'm so beat I can barely keep my eyes open some nights.

Patty O. said...

Just last night I realized I had lost my book light. I must get another!

I don't have a kindle. I'm pretty sure I would somehow lose it or spill diet coke on it if I owned one. Maybe someday...

Casey said...

I want to know what's wrong with me that I have ZERO time to read since I'm always either cooking for these kids or staying 2ft from them so nobody gets punched. WHEN WILL THEY STOP THEIR SHIT SO I CAN READ A BOOK. Sorry, that was whiny. The kindle does look cool and I'm jealous.

Amy said...

we have three booklights in my house, and two people. i have a kindle, and i use is pretty much the same way you do. i'm tempted to buy one of the ereaders that allows library lending, though.