Light My Fire . . . Kindle It, That Is

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!

7 thoughts on “Light My Fire . . . Kindle It, That Is

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  • February 5, 2011 at 12:14 pm
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    lots of visitors i escorted had written a lot about tunisia the country of peace the land of 1001 sites

    I am pleased to write my response to the eight day tour of Tunisia. At the coffee stop between Tozeur and Kairouan, on the final day, I told you that we had got so much out of the experience at a number of levels.First, because we were on vacation, it had to be enjoyable, different and relaxing. Even though you took us to 34 places of interest, many very significant and some merely your “little surprises”, we did not feel pressured and the tour would have been poorer had we missed out on any of them. Each added to the enjoyment and there was a variety of experiences giving us insight into the ancient and recent history, the culture, the daily life and the varied geography of your country.The western media offers us a biased view of Islam, with its emphasis on the divisions between the Sunni and Shiite factions and its sensationalizing the actions of the extremists and fanatics. It focuses on the countries which resist efforts to bring our version of stability and our values and our economic needs to what we are told are unstable societies. Touring Tunisia, with the benefit of your explanations, we have seen a tolerant, stable country with a defined set of values that should be the envy of many Western nations. We have seen the positive side of Islam and the way it can share, with a government, the means to order a society so that it progresses while having regard for its history and traditions.We knew very little of Tunisia’s geography, history, culture and way of life when we arrived in Tunis. This tour has given us an appreciation of the variations in geography and the effects of mini climate and terrain. We water-rich Canadians have learned that water is a critical and scarce commodity for so many. We are now aware of Tunisia’s rich history, back to 400 B.C. We have learned something of the Arabic and Muslim cultures, dating back 1300 years, and how it manifests itself in art, architecture and literature. We know of the colonial influence and heritage from France and the struggle to gain independence and its consequences on your comparatively liberal society.We see a Muslim society giving equality and opportunity to women, and a government educating and holding out opportunities for its young population. We have had efforts at environmental responsibility and education pointed out to us. We learned of moves to broaden the economy from its traditional agrarian base and, everywhere building to encourage tourism as a source of foreign currency and wealth.Had we come as casual visitors, intent on enjoying the sun, sea and hotel hospitality, with a few excursions thrown in, we would not have learned half of this. It was not just the places to which you took us; it was how you explained their significance in terms of history, culture and way of life. It was you willingness to answer questions, not just about what we were seeing or had seen, but also about Tunisian life and the way society differed from what we live.Above all we have seen the beauty of your country, whether it be in the Roman remains, the mosaics, the mosques and minarets; or in the topography of salt flats, mountains, coasts, deserts, olive groves and oases. We have seen its historical artifacts and the remnants of the traditional way of life in which your country is rooted as it successfully keeps up with modernity and progress.In addition to the stops at places of interest, you also made sure that our lunch stops were satisfying and helped us settle in the quality hotels along the way. You encouraged us to try foods that we had never experienced and which we enjoyed. You turned us on to the joys of mint tea and once again, got us all on camels, while managing to avoid the ride yourself.Thank you, and also Slim, our friendly driver, for showing us not just the delights of your country on our 1000km odyssey, but also for doing so much extra to complete our enjoyment and make our tour so interesting and informative. borhen: of course my name is borhen the owner of villa in tunisia kelibia for ages
    Posted by: tom robston
    Borhen Ben Brahim that s actually a great honor for tunisia to be selected among the 10 top destination in the world Frommer’s Top Destinations 2010 tunisia with its historical and archeological heritage is really a worthwhile destinationJanuary 26 at 5:34am · Comment ·LikeUnlike · View Feedback (9)Hide Feedback (9) Nouha Farjallah Nacef Aw really??? Didn’t hear abt that !!! It’s absolutely a great honour to be selected among these marvellous places! Tunisia is definetly a hot spot for European tourists although it’s still new to Americans, who tend to visit Morocco instead, and this success will definetly bring many privileges to Tunisia and lots of opportunities to be more magnetic than before ! All tunisians must be proud of this honourable result 🙂 January 27 at 10:41pm · Borhen Ben Brahim these are for instance some impressions and ideas of americanns who enjoyed their trip in tunisia as a matter of fact it is not just by chance that tunisia was selected among these touristic resorts throughout the world and it is as i mentioned beforehand a that s actually a great honor for tunisia to be selected among the 10 top destination in the world Frommer’s Top Destinations 2010 tunisia with its historical and archeological heritage is really a worthwhile destination these are a few comments of these american people Dear Borhen;… See More I am pleased to write my response to the eight day tour of Tunisia. At the coffee stop between Tozeur and Kairouan, on the final day, I told you that we had got so much out of the experience at a number of levels. First, because we were on vacation, it had to be enjoyable, different and relaxing. Even though you took us to 34 places of interest, many very significant and some merely your “little surprises”, we did not feel pressured and the tour would have been poorer had we missed out on any of them. Each added to the enjoyment and there was a variety of experiences giving us insight into the ancient and recent history, the culture, the daily life and the varied geography of your country. The western media offers us a biased view of Islam, with its emphasis on the divisions between the Sunni and Shiite factions and its sensationalizing the actions of the extremists and fanatics. It focuses on the countries which resist efforts to bring our version of stability and our values and our economic needs to what we are told are unstable societies. Touring Tunisia, with the benefit of your explanations, we have seen a tolerant, stable country with a defined set of values that should be the envy of many Western nations. We have seen the positive side of Islam and the way it can share, with a government, the means to order a society so that it progresses while having regard for its history and traditions. We knew very little of Tunisia’s geography, history, culture and way of life when we arrived in Tunis. This tour has given us an appreciation of the variations in geography and the effects of mini climate and terrain. We water-rich Canadians have learned that water is a critical and scarce commodity for so many. We are now aware of Tunisia’s rich history, back to 400 B.C. We have learned something of the Arabic and Muslim cultures, dating back 1300 years, and how it manifests itself in art, architecture and literature. We know of the colonial influence and heritage from France and the struggle to gain independence and its consequences on your comparatively liberal society. We see a Muslim society giving equality and opportunity to women, and a government educating and holding out opportunities for its young population. We have had efforts at environmental responsibility and education pointed out to us. We learned of moves to broaden the economy from its traditional agrarian base and, everywhere building to encourage tourism as a source of foreign currency and wealth. Had we come as casual visitors, intent on enjoying the sun, sea and hotel hospitality, with a few excursions thrown in, we would not have learned half of this. It was not just the places to which you took us; it was how you explained their significance in terms of history, culture and way of life. It was you willingness to answer questions, not just about what we were seeing or had seen, but also about Tunisian life and the way society differed from what we live. Above all we have seen the beauty of your country, whether it be in the Roman remains, the mosaics, the mosques and minarets; or in the topography of salt flats, mountains, coasts, deserts, olive groves and oases. We have seen its historical artifacts and the remnants of the traditional way of life in which your country is rooted as it successfully keeps up with modernity and progress. In addition to the stops at places of interest, you also made sure that our lunch stops were satisfying and helped us settle in the quality hotels along the way. You encouraged us to try foods that we had never experienced and which we enjoyed. You turned us on to the joys of mint tea and once again, got us all on camels, while managing to avoid the ride yourself. Thank you, and also Slim, our friendly driver, for showing us not just the delights of your country on our 1000km odyssey, but also for doing so much extra to complete our enjoyment and make our tour so interesting and informative. but I needed to let you know that you made this much more than a simple vacation to be enjoyed. January 27 at 11:28pm ·
    Posted by: borhen

  • January 12, 2011 at 12:08 am
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    Yes Diane, you can just download it onto your computer and then transfer it to the Kindle via USB. (You MAY be able to use the Kindle’s browser to get it too, like you can off of Manybooks, but I haven’t tried) Here is the link: http://lds.org/handheld/0,18493,5299-1,00.html. It’s on the old Church website. It may be on the new one too, but I haven’t found it there. The mobipocket format is the one to get for Kindle. Happy reading!

  • January 11, 2011 at 1:33 pm
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    OK, I have the kindle, but no blackberry. Is there a way to download that app without the blackberry? It bothers me that we can get the scriptures free off the church website for lots of other devices, but for the kindle someone has set up their own web company to charge us for an inferior product! Loving the Kindle!

  • January 11, 2011 at 12:01 pm
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    Hmm, you’ve almost convinced me. We always have tons more books than we’d like to be lugging around but I just can’t give up the physical books yet!

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