Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Kindle and a Guilty Conscience

By next Thursday, I will have a Kindle.

As a professed bibliophile, in a sense, I’m a little ashamed of myself.  Though the choice was not entirely my own (it was my father’s idea), I can admit, with a little guilt, that I’m excited by the shiny-new-toy-ness of it, and that perhaps the novelty will tempt me to pay a bit more attention to my courses’ reading assignments.  (Not that I’ve fallen behind, yet… There’s just SO much, this semester!)  And I did also get a fancy leather cover, with a built-in light!  (This way it also looks like a book, when closed.  It was important that my Kindle could still visually represent a traditional book.)

All things considered, having a Kindle will be a practical choice for a few reasons, such as:
  • Having a full library of course books, available all at once
  • Better readability for eBooks than presently available on my iPhone
  • Note-taking, in a searchable, non-scribble form
  • Long battery life and lots of study time/entertainment for travel use

Admittedly, I still like the margin-scribbling approach to note-taking, but the other qualities have won over, in general.

Now, do I still feel just a little bit like I’ve sold my soul?  Erm… Yeah, a little.  But you won’t catch me boxing up my book collection any time soon.  At present, my book collection takes up a considerable amount of visible space in my bedroom (and out of view as well – in an old toy box, in light-proof boxes, and even stuffed in corners of my bed frame), as well as in the living room, and in the garage (mostly books from childhood there).  Some of my most prized possessions are a few ancient tomes.  I love the looks and styles of books, the scent of old and new books (used bookstores may well be perfumeries), and their very tactile nature… The promises they hold, the excitement of browsing a bookstore and pulling a new title off the shelf… Every bit of it. 

I love books, in their physical form.  But I don’t feel that my choice to use a Kindle will take those experiences away.  Even more than my love for their physical qualities, I prize the ideas held within books.  And so, I will live with both methods of reading.  I am a consumer of books – now of both traditional and digital means. 

"Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life." (Mark Twain)

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