Saturday, April 10, 2010

Kindle Cravings

I am a closet Kindle craver.  I say this quietly and only on paper...and apparently, now to the world wide web or anyone who cares enough to follow this...hi mom! To admit this feels akin to reading trashy magazines or watching reality tv (oy, making enemies right and left with this one!) I have it in my head that real book lovers must abhor anything digital, and so i have stood strong, visiting the library every couple of days, finding refuge in a bookstore for the afternoon, and feeling ever so content when my nightstand drawers are stuffed with books waiting to be read. Plus, what would i put on my shelves if not books?  Which is why i restrained myself from stealing my father's new Kindle (1 point for lauren).

But secretly, i love them. I love the idea of instant gratification - want a book and poof - it appears on the Kindle. Have to take a trip? No need to pack eight books instead of the essentials like socks. want to remember a quote - no problem, simply highlight the text and the kindle will save it for me!

Right now, my coffee table is unusable due to the stacks of books: one stack that needs to be returned, a stack to read from the LA public library and a stack to read from the County of LA public library (and they don't appreciate when you mix up the two with your returns). Books everywhere! Bliss.

The highlight of the month was when i discovered that the interesting building with quotes on it's sides was...wait for it....a library! 2 blocks away from where i sleep! childhood dream come true (i'm not being sarcastic at all). Can we take a moment to ponder the utter genius and value of a public library? Armed with nothing other than a piece of mail and my driver's license, I stroll in and am granted that magical access to the world of words - my very own (2nd) california library card which allows me to check out all the books and dvds i want for free! Plus, little known secret - from the comforts of my couch, i can request any book or movie my heart desires and not only will they arrange to have it waiting at the library of my choice with my name posted on it, they'll also email me when it's ready!

Cost to read as much as I want: 0
Cost to laze away hours gazing at shelves stuffed with books: 0
Cost to enjoy opening a long-awaited novel while tucked into bed: priceless

So needless to say, Kindles seemed like the enemy threatening to steal these simple pleasures and bastardize books into yet one more screen that we stare at.

Until i held one. I believe i held out for at least 2 minutes before i decided that there would need to be values compromise. When my shoulder aches from toting around two books (just in case i finish the first, seriously...) i entertain the wish of a sleek silver screen that really does still feel book-ish and yet contains shelves of books but weighs less than my wallet.

But then i open my mailbox and my book has arrived! ("The Good Body" by Eve Ensler - must read! incredible!) and i have to conclude that this is where a Kindle will always fall short. The excitement of a shiny cover, the love of dog-eared pages and discovering notes in the margins of a used book, the smell of new pages that are yearning to be read, the promise of greatness held in the weight of the novel...these are simply joys i would miss.

And then i remind myself: It's not black and white, either/or. I can appreciate both - both good!
So i'm a reluctant convert to be sure, but still...if i won the lottery, after the charity giving, gift giving and stocking up on toilet paper, a Kindle would be at the top of the i go relax with my new book.

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