Tuesday, February 16, 2010

E-books


I love books. That should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me. I love the feel and the smell of them. I love collecting them in my ever growing library. There is just something about curling up with a well-loved book or browsing in a bookstore to make me incredibly happy. I was once asked about the perfect gift and without even batting an eyelash I said books. I won't ever turn down books.

So I've been avoiding the whole e-book thing. I've read a couple books electronically but I don't really enjoy the experience. It seems more like research than something done for pleasure. Even though I just finished Wuthering Heights online, I'm not as much of a fan of electronic versions. So when a friend at work brought me in her Kindle to play with, I originally resisted. My complaint has always been that I can't read in the bathtub with a Kindle. Nor does it seem cozy to curl up with a Kindle in bed. But I have to admit once I started playing with the thing that it has its benefits. It's far more user friendly than the older e-book readers I've used. The big screen helps make it less of an eyestrain. But the biggest advantage that it has is easy access to the classics.

I'm a huge classics reader. I've picked up books like Dante's Inferno, Othello, and Anna Karenina as fun reading. I'm constantly scouring public domain literature sites for good books. So when I found out that the Kindle will instantly download public domain works to the Kindle for no cost, I was hooked. With the push of a button I could have a title downloaded on the device in seconds. I could have a huge library of free books on this device and never lack for reading material. If I start a book (like Moby Dick) that I won't finish, I won't be out any money (I've tried it twice now. Just can't read it). My friend even showed me that there are a number of new books that are available for free or at a huge discount.

While this won't take the place of books for me, I can now see the advantage of the Kindle. It's mostly user friendly, offers cheap or free reading material, and can store a ton of books. I could even take notes on quotes I like or sections that are interesting. The Kindle is still a toy for me but I could see purchasing one. In fact, I'll start saving my money. I'll still buy paper books. I like the permanence of them and the feel of them. And picture books will never be replaced by e-books. But I could go for a cheap digital portable library. I could actually be moving into the 21st century.

2 comments:

Lonster said...

Moby Dick is a little weird in the middle.

I think the only book I ever really "skipped" in Lit class was "Exodus" by Leon Uris. I read the first 100 pages, and the last 100 pages, and figured out the middle 600 pages by inference from class discussion (which was always held the day before the section quiz).

Cat B said...

Heh. Perhaps I'll have to give Moby Dick another try. There are some books that need to be read at the right time.

I've never read Exodus although Uris's "Trinity" was a favorite book for a while. Huge but so well written I flew through it. But nice that you could pick up the pieces from discussion and didn't have to resort to cliff notes.

I skipped through "Emma" in college. The only Jane Austen I haven't read completely. Just didn't enjoy it.