Monday, January 10, 2011

Oh, What Kindle Can Do!

by Julia Buckley
Kindle reads a lively David Copperfield to my cat.

There’s been some debate in mystery circles lately about online books versus paper books. I am in the group of people who believe that there is room in the world for books in any form, and that the important thing is that people are reading and processing text, a complex activity that is good for the brain.

I am currently reading paper books and Kindle books. Yes, I got a Kindle for Christmas—the cheapest kind, yet a miracle in its own right. Every book is a wonder, when you think about it, no matter what the format—-birthed by the creative efforts of many people, but first by an author with a grand idea.

I am reading two print books now. Ian McEwan’s Saturday and Bradford Morrow’s The Diviner’s Tale, the latter of which reminds me why print books can be such a joy—the book is beautiful, with glowing title letters and artistic papers that are a feast for the eyes before one even begins reading. (I also recently finished the new Elly Griffiths book, The Janus Stone, which was wonderful. I was sad to see it end).

On Kindle, I had to first download my own book, Madeline Mann, just to check out how it looks. :) But then I got Great Expectations and David Copperfield, which were free and 95 cents, respectively. I got a Dave Barry book called The Complete Guide to Guys, which I found extremely funny, living as I do in a house full of men. I read the first Dexter novel to see what everyone’s been raving about.

The result: look how much I’ve read since Christmas!

So why, exactly, are some people so resistant to Kindle? It’s just another way of processing words, and a fun way, at that. But its uses are endless. Here are some of the Kindle’s amazing powers:

Recently the Kindle saved my dinner party by standing up and reciting a poem by Dylan Thomas. It energized the crowd and brought a literary sensibility to my gathering.

My cat has been sort of depressed in the winter weather; the Kindle has been talking to him about fun options for indoor play. It seems to have made a difference (see photo at top).

The Kindle babysat for my grade-school aged son on Saturday, during which time the Kindle modestly encouraged my son to read a traditionally-printed book above his reading level; my son claims to have understood it quite well.

This afternoon while I was working, the Kindle made sandwiches.

The Kindle has been encouraging me to work out by hanging around near my walking shoes. A subtle yet realistic indictment of my sloth: well-played, Kindle!

I'm looking forward to learning more about all the things the Kindle can do--it really is a versatile machine. So open your minds! We can all get along in book world; and if moderation is needed, I recently found out that the Kindle is a licensed therapist.


Dru said...

When I lost my internet connection, I was so happy I had a web browser on my kindle, which I used to stay in touch with the world (Facebook, blogs and email).

Julia Buckley said...

Another great Kindle accomplishment. :)

The Cat Bastet said...

I agree about the therapy part. Where would I be without a bunch comfy mysteries at my fingertips? :)

Did you know the Kindle can also play games? (I recommend Solitaire, Mahjong, and the NY Times Crosswords.)

I haven't tried letting my Kindle read to me while I'm driving, but I know at least one person who lets hers read to her while she walks on a treadmill.

Katreader said...

I had been quite leery of e-readers, but intrigued, nonetheless. This past weekend I bought an iPad...and I've been downloading books. While they'll never replace "real" books for me-I won't be reading from my iPad in the bathtub! I do think it's pretty neat.

Julia Buckley said...

Yes, Kat and Cat--there's room for all types of reading! Glad to know you like your Kindle and your I Pad, respectively. :)

Linda Leszczuk said...

Well, I like my Nook but I haven't found that "make sandwiches" app. I guess it's a Kindle only. That's a shame; I could get more work done if my Nook would get me lunch.

Julia Buckley said...

Linda, it was a very mysterious event. :)

But I think the Nook sounds interesting, too. What made you choose it over a Kindle?

Linda Leszczuk said...

Julia, I didn't actually pick it, it was a gift. But our local library held a series of meetings on comparing e-readers and I understand from people who attended (I'd already received my Nook) that the Nook was favored because it's less restrictive on format, i.e. you can order from a wider variety of places and formats. For myself, I have no first hand knowledge to offer beyond the fact that I like my Nook.