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The World in the Cup of Your Hand

January 2nd, 2011 Comments off

The best gift anyone can ever give me for Christmas is time to laugh and eat and relax with the people I love.  I was blessed with this precious gift in spades this year.  Outside of two very special homemade presents given to me by my children (priceless wonders that mean all the world to me), the next best gift I got was my new Kindle.

A lot of writers at Storytellers Unplugged have remarked on their experiences with a Kindle, or the like.  In fact, my desire to own one was born of what I read here.  It dawned on me rather slowly that I would greatly enjoy one both as a reader and as a writer.  Reading is just about my favorite thing on the planet and I wanted to understand how e-book devices work and what opportunities might be out there for writers.  I could research this in several ways, of course, but owning one is proving to be such fun.

One thing I had not expected was the thrilling feeling I would get just picking the thing up.  It’s the same heart-pounding, out-of-my-mind-with-joy sensation that comes over me every time I step into a bookstore or a library.  What a great surprise!  I pick up my Kindle and suddenly I am Jesse James feverishly spinning around in a giant vault piled to the ceiling with money, plotting how much I can carry out with me.  What a time to be alive!  A single person can hold an entire library in the palm of their hand.  It’s a miracle, really.

Here’s another thing that surprised me: I don’t know what sort of covers are available out there but mine is like a book.  It’s not nearly the leap I thought it would be in terms of the way it feels to read this way.  If it was, I suppose I’d have to get used to it because such devices are not going away.  For this reason, I think it’s great news that e-readers have familiarity built into them.  I am presently reading a hardback copy of This Rock by Robert Morgan and it’s a beautiful book and a good story but it’s heftier to hold then the novel I’m reading on my Kindle.  I’m not chucking my books, mind you, just appreciating both the similarities and the differences.  I’ve also discovered that I have a habit I never knew I had; I slip a finger between the pages when I’m getting close to the bottom of a page, in preparation of turning it.  I didn’t know I did this until I began reading on the Kindle.  I can’t start turning the page with my Kindle until it’s time to turn the page.  I can live with that though.

As for what’s available to read – I’m going for the free stuff first.  There are a lot of classics out there that I’ve always meant to get around to.  My favorite thing about my particular reader it that it has an E-ink display, which means that it looks like a book.  I stare at my computer screen way too much as it is.  I’ve no desire to read all the great books that can be found in public domain on the Internet because I don’t much like reading long stuff on my computer.  Print that is not colored or lit is a great fit for me.  I have a reading light clipped on the side of my cover and I recently used it at night in the car while traveling over the holidays.  It works pretty good.  I’m currently reading The Portrait of Dorian Gray and I’ve lined up many exciting selections to follow.  What a splendid time I’m having treasure-hunting in the Kindle store!

It goes without says that I’m still new to the Kindle and have a lot to learn and experience.  It’s impossible to guess how much I will be liking it a month from now.  So far so good.  I am anxious to begin investigating how writers are making the most of reading devices.  Giving away free chapters appears to be one popular marketing idea.  I’m too distracted to go into that much at the moment, however, because even as I write, I have the strongest urge to simply go and hold a big bookstore in my hand.  In fact, I don’t think I can resist any longer.  Before I leave my computer for my Kindle for the day, I wish you happy reading any which way you find it in 2011!