Can’t Kindle The Fire For My Kindle: Why You Can’t Teach An Old-School English Major New Tricks

I can’t do it.  Try as I might, I can’t bond with my Amazon Kindle.  

I eyed this marvelous machine at my techie friend’s fingertips while we were flying together on a vacation.  I loved the idea of a lighter carry-on and a catrillion books at my disposal when I was lazing by the pool.  I would never again be stuck in the hotel gift shop buying some weird “bestseller” out of desperation.

For those of you who don’t recognize the Kindle, it’s an electronic book.  Slim and basically the size of a journal, it has a direct charge card line to Amazon so that you can download newspapers, blogs, magazines and books instantly.

I was very excited about owning a Kindle.  I even had to wait patiently for it to arrive.  It was backordered for months and the day it landed on the doorstep I fell head first into learning how to maximize my hefty investment.  I also learned the pitfalls.

All was good if I wanted to read Reader’s Digest or The New York Times.  All was not good if you craved reading The Catcher In The Rye.  Not every book is available, and it can be hard to pick a book blindly in cyberspace.  Foreseeing that catch, Kindle allows you to download sample chapters, so that you can feel a book out.  

Ahhhh, but there was the problem.  I couldn’t feel the book.  I couldn’t touch it and flip its pages.  Yes, it occurred to me, as I spent $200 at Barnes and Noble and piled real books on my nightstand next to my abandoned Kindle, I have a physical love affair with books.

I love the whole process.  I want to go to the bookstore and pick books the way I choose wine:  by the label, er, cover.  I want to feel it, touch it, smell it, and read the blurb on the back.  I want to pluck it down on the counter and snap my visa out of my wallet and carry it home in my re-usable bag

Then I want to climb in the hammock, in the bathtub, on the beach towel and get that book dog-eared, sandy and bend its spine.  I want to place it down open, take a nap and find my page just where I left it.  I want to get it soggy with bubbles and let it dry all hob nobbly.  Yep, pretty much want to abuse it.

And the only batteries that I have to worry about are the batteries for my book light.  No charging, no problem.  No dead batteries, no forgotten cords in the hotel room, no outlet?  Nope.  I want to snuggle up with that book on a gray, rainy day and feel it in my hands…and then I want to take that very good book and pass it on to my friend.

I know someday the paper book will go the way of the stone tablet–Moses would have been pretty happy to carry a paper book instead of stone.  I’m sure some fogie like me said, “Damn, just can’t get used to this papyrus stuff.”

And, ummmm, if you drop your Kindle in the bath, it doesn’t dry out hob nobbly and it’s never quite the same.

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6 Comments

  1. midwin
    Posted September 16, 2008 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Hear hear for the book! You just can’t cuddle with electronics. They are too bright. They are too hard. And they beep sometimes. Maybe its all that plastic and metal — a wall between the reader and her story. I don’t think I could ever give up the wonder of strolling through a book store and feeling the creative weight of so many intimate stories shared. So many writers who trust you with their secrets and whisper to you to write back about your own.

  2. Mermaid
    Posted September 16, 2008 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Darn. I look around Border’s clearance rack and feel defeated. My one great novel might be better as kindling than on the Kindle. Glad to see tons of tomes inspires you!

    I’m more likely to be moved that there is so much information out there to learn. I can always find my answer in a book…or on Google. That is one electronic mode that I cannot surrender.

  3. midwin
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Rubbish! You have at least 6 great novels in you and I can’t wait to read them. I don’t remember what we used to do to find info before Google.

  4. hablab7
    Posted September 18, 2008 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    So does that mean that your Kindle is now up for sale? Are you interested in selling? Just curious. Thanks!

  5. Mermaid
    Posted September 19, 2008 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Sorry, got a techie husband and a couple of tweens that are drooling over it as we speak.

  6. blondeshell
    Posted September 20, 2008 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Nothing, but nothing, will ever keep me from my beloved books. Of course I was the last remaining human on earth to use Email.


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