So I got a Kindle.
I am not one of those who objected to the device on the basis for some nostalgia for the printed page, though there is that. There is a tactile pleasure to holding a book, and I think it’s important especially for kids.
However, I do have access to good libraries in Hong Kong where I can get books for free. Much as I like the idea of bookshops, I cannot afford them at the pace at which I read. V was not on board with the idea of a Kindle because he felt that I could use an ipad and then the device could be used by other people too. So I shrugged and moved on.
Then on Nene’s birthday we landed up in Sham Shui Po which is this secondhand mecca for anything and everything including electronics. I had a cold and at some point came home, while Nene and V stayed on to browse random stuff. While dozing off, I got a message from V: “Did something I hope I’m not going to regret.” “What? Did you buy more fish?” was my reply. Everything time V goes out to get something small for our fish tank, he comes back with a bag of fish, most of which do not survive.
Turns out it was a Kindle. And of course he regretted it.
Because from that day on, I started reading non-stop. Which is perfectly normal for anyone who knows me, but without the Kindle I was hampered by a number of little things that the Kindle has sorted out:
1. Access to books: Yes, I have two library systems in relatively easy reach, but the Kindle books are even closer. I’ll admit I have not bought a single book yet. I have dipped into a friend’s not-so-secret stash. I will buy certain books, but frankly if I was not on the Kindle, I’d be reading through the library so I’m not a physical book customer lost.
2. Weight: The Kindle is so easy to slip into even my smaller handbags. I can carry a tome like The Goldfinch around without any issues (one of the reasons I haven’t gotten around to reading that book is because of the size).
3. Reading at bedtime: The built-in light technology is a lifesaver. The reason reading on the ipad did not work out is because a) the ipad is heavy, but more crucially b) it gave me a headache. With physical books, I had tried those little lights you can attach to your book, but they were never entirely comfortable. The Kindle means I can indulge in my favourite bedtime pursuit without hassles.
4. Bingereading: I just queue up book after book, thereby leaving less time for dealing with my own emotions for example. Of course, this is exactly what V feared. On a positive note, I look at my phone and scroll aimlessly on Facebook less. Not that that’s of much consolation to those who need my attention.
The first book I read was Jilly Cooper’s Jump, which was quite bad. Jilly Cooper’s horse series are not high literature by any stretch, but the first few had engaging characters and of course lots of horsey action. This one, though, was just all over the place. Nevertheless, it was a good fit was the very busy period in which I read it, because I wasn’t that into it and could go back to work when needed.
Now I’m immersed in Sue Grafton’s alphabet series, which is perfect for my mood. They are not 100% gripping but gripping enough as detective series go. I like the matter-of-fact tone and I love the central character Kinsey Milhone. There are so many of her character traits I identify with – the need to protect oneself from attachments to other people, the running without joy but out of a sense of necessity, the unrepentant love of junk food, the love of small, cozy spaces to name a few. I also had the hots of Dietz, especially in the first book that he appeared. The mysteries themselves sometimes had holes in them – P for Peril was the worst – but I can live with that. I was sad to hear that Sue Grafton passed away before she could complete the series.
I know that the Kindle pro and con debate is an old one, but what do you think? Yay or nay?