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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

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Transitioning to Kindle: The True Struggle

I recently was given a Kindle as a gift—a seemingly nice gesture for someone who loves to read—but to tell you the truth, it’s been sitting in it's package for almost two months. It's not that I'm ungrateful. I love presents. People tell me all the time that I'm a wonderful "receiver of gifts." I'm just simply refusing to abandon my beloved books for an an archaic-looking technology that may or may not be prone to epileptic seizures at the click of a button. And it doesn’t even have Snake.

But the Kindle is everywhere. It has taken avid-book-readers by storm, and I’m not sure I should continue fighting it. Does that mean I'm cheating on my books?

Kindle [setting books on] Fire

Here's my thing:

I like that the books have character. I like the aesthetic of yellow pages and coffee stains. I like that I used to go into my brother’s room looking for something to read and choosing the book in most need of spinal surgery,  because it meant he took it with him to school and soccer practice and that road trip to Grandma’s, using the table of contents to take geometry notes, reading and re-reading it hundreds of times until it lost the will the hold itself together for his enjoyment. Some books are just mini versions of the giving tree. Some books are loved. And that's how I can tell the good ones from the snoozers. 

What if I want to go camping and I don't have access to electricity? My Kindle battery will die eventually. I also like to draw in my books. And that’s something you can’t do in the Kindle.

I like libraries. If I give in to this technology, what’s next? Will libraries of the future simply carry Kindles attached to counters by a cord, just like the cameras at Best Buy? I mean, MTV no longer plays music, and nobody pays attention to album artwork anymore, so anything can happen. Is there some greater revolution happening out there? Are we killing less trees by printing less books or is Amazon taking over the world? Am I over-thinking this?

Okay, let's stop for a second. Am I just the person who refuses to transfer over to smart phones, because I simply like the feel of my little Nokia? I like the feel of the numeric keyboard, just as I like the feel of turning the page (and also I’m pretty sure I am the ultimate master of the universe when it comes to T9 prediction text, so I can’t just give that up). I also have have an iPad, so why do I need a Kindle? 

Because that shit hurts my eyes after a while.

Ok, so I can read it outside in the sunlight. I can still highlight and add notes. I can also look up words in the dictionary or read further about a topic on Wikipedia. It has a translation feature. It also has this X-Ray function which gives you a list of relevant/frequently-used terms and people, so I can read up on them or simply jump to the parts that mention Franz Kafta or Paris or the Bollingen Tower.

Those are some some great features, and I don't even have the Kindle Fire, which apparently comes with some sort of personal OS like in the movie, Her

Some things that I'm not crazy about but can deal with:

It tells you things that other people have highlighted, which is kind of distracting. If I’m going to get meaning out of my book, then I want to decide what’s meaningful. It also tells you how many minutes it should theoretically take you to finish the chapter, which is convenient but presumptuous. You don't know me, Kindle.

But I got through my first book, and I didn't burst into flames. And okay, I don't go camping THAT often. 

While it takes some getting used to the Kindle’s old school “computer-from-Lost” aesthetic, I suppose it’s nice to have access to fifteen different books in the palm of my hand, especially when I'm traveling during the holidays.

And fine. Books aren't going to go away. We still have snail mail, right? So maybe the Kindle is a step in the right direction--or at least, in a different direction. Change is good. At least, that's what my books tell me. 

Though it would be cool if they added Snake, so that when I’m in a waiting room where the receptionist keeps calling me to the front desk because I spelled my name wrong in three different places, I don’t have to disrupt the flow philosophical contemplation every three minutes. I mean, someone should bring that game back. Peggle is too stressful.

Highlighter and Notes
Carry 15 books at once
Brother can't lose it (cause I can lend virtually)
Read outside
Download in the convenience of your bed/living room.
Automatic bookmarks
Goosebumps: Choose your own Adventure

Can’t doodle
No doggie ears
Ascthetic of yellow pages.
No new book smell
No personal message scribbled on the front by your high school teacher
No camping

Please feel free to add your own pros and cons in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. I'm also a newbie to the Kindle. I'm reading my first book now. The thing I miss the most is turning the pages. But I'm going to keep reading anyway. I was also the last of my friends to get a portable phone, let alone a cell phone. But I have all three now, so there is still hope!