Yes, my #1 favorite Christmas present finally arrived today! Thank you to my in-laws for the funds, and Tina and Robert for getting it over the Atlantic for me. As an inveterate bookworm, I have been contemplating getting a Kindle for years. At first, I was one of those people who just couldn’t stomach the idea of replacing a real book with an electronic device. I loved the classic Star Trek episode where Captain Kirk visits the eccentric with the real, old-fashioned library. It makes me feel at home to have shelves and shelves full of books, preferably nice, heavy hard-bound ones. My favorite used bookstore from Fallbrook, California still sends me emails, and I just can’t bring myself to unsubscribe, even though I know I’m not going to make it to a half-price sale on the other side of the world anytime soon.
Although with two small children and two large car-seats, space is precious in our luggage, we always end up with an entire carry-on full of books. This time around, we brought the entire set of the Chronicles of Narnia, the entire set of Little House books, the entire Tolkien trilogy, and a couple of Jane Austen novels, in addition to various more justifiable Italian language books, and a full-size set of Scriptures each. After a couple of months in Florence, we were through all of those. Luckily, our new town in Ireland had a very respectable used book store too. I went in every week or so, and got massive volume discounts. Still, I was sick, and I couldn’t really keep up with my appetite for books. I checked out the public library in our town, but there was a fee to join, and the selection was pretty pathetic, so I just bought more books instead.
Finally, reality hit. In the form of a move back to Italy. I was out of reading material, and books in English in Italy are expensive and hard to come by. An e-reader started to seem like not such a bad idea. After all, I am addicted to classics. That’s basically all I buy. And even at 25 cents a book, eventually it does add up. Almost my entire existing library and tons more is available online for free. But here’s the clincher: the homeschooling curriculum we use is based on classic books too, most of which are also online in the public domain. Up till now, we’ve gotten by with reading them off the computer screen and listening to librivox recordings. But the computer screen is hard on the eyes, especially as Axa starts reading. And I would LOVE to be able to carry around our entire term’s worth of readings in my purse. Especially with all the time we spend waiting around in government offices here.
So, we’ve done it. We are now the proud owners of a lovely new Kindle with this really hot hemp case that makes it look a lot like a nice book. Some people buy covers that flip open and prop the Kindle on a table. But since I have never once propped up a book on a table to read it, I figured I’d go with the book-style cover. While I was waiting for it to travel to Italy, I downloaded lots of free books from Amazon, Manybooks, and Gutenberg. I also got the Blackberry version of the Scriptures off of the LDS.org site, and it works perfectly on the Kindle, and is free, unlike some other LDS Scriptures for Kindle I could name. So as soon as I opened the box, I plugged it into my laptop, from which it happily downloaded 150 books in under a minute. I got the wifi only version, since I don’t fancy carrying around the equivalent of a gigantic cell-phone around all the time, and I don’t mind managing my library from my laptop. And it was $50 cheaper.
I have yet to read an entire book on it (I did only get it this morning, you know), but from my peeks at various books, things look great. I believe I’m an instant convert. I’m not about to hack up my “real” library to get it into an e-reader like this person (I am a little opposed to violence against books, thank you), but I think it’s safe to say that I will probably be reading my Kindle every day. (And don’t worry, Tony, I keep saying “I” and “me” and “mine,” but what I really mean of course is “We” and “us” and “ours.”) Here’s to a whole new year of unbridled and unhampered bibliophilia!