Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Why I love my Kindle!


I have noticed recently there have been lots of conversations on Twitter about the pros and cons of Kindle and electronic readers in general. Is this the death of books as we know and consume them? Or is it just another way of accessing reading material over and above ink on paper?

I must admit that I am a long-term lover of books. I may spend my life online but books were my first love and my bulging book-shelves are testament to this. And this is where the problem lies, because although I like to think I have a library of well-loved pieces of literature, what I in fact have is shelf upon shelf of yellowing paperbacks which when they are not standing the test of time in terms of their ageing fabric, have dated beyond  help in terms of their content. I know I wouldn't like to live in a house with no books - it is a way of judging someone when you enter their home as to whether they are going to be 'your sort of person' which is pretty terrible when you think of it. There is a comfort to being surrounded by literary classics which you have loved and had an effect on your life and thinking but if we are absolutely honest with ourselves these probably account for around 20% of our books. The rest are made up of disposable entertainment - very much of it's time and dating quicker than I am. 

Okay so I have some great hardback reference books (but even these date) and some timeless classics. Would I chuck out the Shakespeare, Dickens or even the Peter Ackroyd or Sebastian Faulks? No probably not. But last years Dan Brown read on the beach and smeared with suntan lotion? Or all that chick lit that helped my journey on the Piccadilly Line? Does it really warrant display and careful archiving. I think not.

A few years ago we had a clear out. Five boxes of paperbacks went to the local Red Cross Bookshop. And have I missed just one of them? No. And this is where the wonderful Kindle has become my favourite piece of kit. I can browse the bookshop from the comfort of my armchair and I can download chapters to test run the book and see if I like it first. I can carry around in my handbag more books than I will have time to read in the rest of my lifetime and there is nothing to stop me from going out and buying the hard-copy version if it's one I think should grace my bookshelves. I'm discovering more writers because of this and it's costing me much less to do so. I can download the classics for next to nothing and my handbag (and consequently my back) is not suffering because of overload. I simply love my Kindle and believe that every English Lit or Drama student should have one to hand. 

And what am I reading at the moment? The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. Before that I read a G K Chesterton because I had never read anything by him before and they were raving about him on the radio. So you see, I read wider and because it's EXACTLY the same as reading from the page I've forgotten that there's a difference really...

Has anyone else bought a Kindle? What are you reading? I'm always on the lookout for recommendations...

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