Tuesday, July 21, 2009

KINDLE-ing a New Relationship With Literature - A Shameless Plug!

When I was younger, I loved reading. I always had my nose buried in a book. Before I got married, my soon-to-be mother-in-law taught me to crochet. I set the books aside, and soon crochet patterns filled the bookshelves where hardcover novels and paperbacks once resided.

Late last year, I purchased an Amazon Kindle, and I’ve read more in the last 8 months than I have in the last 8 years! It’s left me in sort of a dilemma. Now my crochet WIPs are sitting idle while I take some time off to read a novel. Yikes!

I just finished 3 (yes, 3!) books in the last week and a half. I started with “Blood Brothers” by Nora Roberts. I hadn’t read any of her works before. “Blood Brothers” is the first of a trilogy of horror fiction novels. The second and third of the series are, respectively, “The Hollow” and “The Pagan Stone”. I enjoyed the story line for the most part – fast forwarded through the love scenes, which were a little too descriptive for my liking. But hey, that’s why I like the Kindle – I just hit the next page button until I got back to the supernatural story line. I also like the Kindle because, when I finished the first story, I was so involved in it that I wanted to read the next installment as soon as possible. How about less than a minute later? All I needed to do was hook up wirelessly through the Kindle with the flick of a switch, press a button and you have it within seconds. No more purchasing books the way I used to - wandering into the local B&N or Borders and scratching my head, trying to remember what book I was looking for, getting sidetracked by a dozen others that look interesting. That’s why I was able to read all three in such a short amount of time. For the most part, I did enjoy the novels – not Stephen King, but quite readable nonetheless.

Another Kindle perk is the option of ordering a sample. As you are shopping for a book, you can order a free sample of anything that looks interesting. I’ve read some of the samples only to find I didn’t care to follow through. Better that than purchasing the book and getting stuck with it when it doesn’t live up to its promise after the first chapter.

What a boon the Kindle would be to school kids and college students everywhere. Imagine multiple textbooks in a portable electronic form! No more toting a backpack that weighs more than the student carrying it. What a savings it would be to our environment too! I own the first generation Kindle. With it, I can subscribe to newspapers if I want to, magazines (love the Reader’s Digest) and blogs. Amazon has already come out with an updated version, and somewhere along the lines, I can envision a color version. But my present reader suits my purposes just fine. It is easy to operate, and the screen is viewable in all sorts of daytime lighting conditions, even bright sunlight outdoors. My laptop computer screen is virtually impossible to view outdoors. You can download books in every price range, and if you search Amazon.com’s library by price, you will even find some that can be downloaded for free. Want to read that new release? If it’s on Kindle, it’s a fraction of the hardcover price. My purchased books are all backed up on Amazon’s server too. If I finish a book, I can remove it from my Kindle and store it on the server. If I want to read it again, I can move it back to the Kindle or have it copied to my computer. I’ve even sent some of my original crochet patterns to Amazon for conversion and transfer to my reader. You can also transfer photographs to view or music files for playing on the Kindle.

There are other electronic readers out there – haven’t tried them, so I can’t tell you how they stack up to the Kindle. I just like the technology. Will it replace bookstores and libraries? Probably not. My husband is a die-hard paperback book fan. He’s tried reading my Kindle and yet he still goes out to the local bookstore to pick up his reading material. Just as well – more Kindle time for me!

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