Rekindling

Those who have known me for very long know that I love to read (and I’m happy that our daughters seem to have inherited that trait from both of us). Lately, though, I’ve not been seen so often with a book in hand. Why? Part of it is simply logistics. Larger books are more cumbersome and hard to control, and with my tendency of “stacking” most everything, having a number of books simply adds to life’s clutter… which adds a possible tripping hazard for yours truly.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve balked at the mere idea of an ereader (an electronic reader) for quite some time. The exception here is my Bible, for after seeing a friend in Bible study use hers with such finesse, I decided to simplify things there. I would be able to use a small, handheld reader (a palm pilot at the time), and the palm-sized device could hold my notes, not to mention three versions of the Bible to help when I wished to find clarification. Nice.

Other books are less bulky than my favorite Bible, but they’re all such friends that the idea of replacing those with a techie toy just grated on my sensibilities. The Bible was difficult (emotionally, not technically), though I enjoyed the smaller size and the search capabilities… but for everyday reading?? I think not. I had heard about Amazon’s Kindle, about the “epaper” display, so there wouldn’t be glare or eye strain like reading from a computer screen. Unlike my palm pilot, the battery was supposed to last weeks without a new charge. …I still didn’t know, but then I got to interact with one a bit when my husband purchased one last October. I was pleasantly surprised when I held it and read from it for a while… and I decided that I was going to step over to the dark side. After saving birthday and Christmas funds, I did indeed purchase my own Kindle ereader. When people talk to me about this technology and ask for my thoughts, I’m thrilled to answer, as several things that come to mind. Here are a few:

1. I can carry over 100 books with me wherever I go, and they weigh less than the book I checked out from the library. With my own balance and mobility issues, this is particularly helpful.

2. Along those lines, when I’m in a doctor’s waiting room (like when a daughter breaks a bone and we sit for more than a half hour before going back), I can open a word puzzle game that we both play together.

3. Of the 100+ books on my device we’ve only had to pay for a few. The NIV Study Bible was one, and the other is a trilogy T.R. purchased about hobbits and a ring and a place called Middle Earth. You might have heard of it before. But where did the others come from? Well, anything published before 1924 is “public domain,” meaning the texts are available free of charge; many have been released in Kindle format, so they can be downloaded and read. (I downloaded 18 books for Rachel when she did a report about Louisa May Alcott. Our library is good, but they only had a few LMA-related volumes.)

4. Besides “public domain” items, Amazon has free Kindle items from time to time. My first two books to read were by two authors I enjoy, Randy Alcorn and Janette Oke. Another I just downloaded that I’m excited to read is a work by author/poet Wendall Berry… our town library doesn’t carry any of his, so I may even purchase a few of his books in the future… but this will get me started.

5. Here’s a reason that may seem unusual, but this technology been an unforeseen blessing. You see, I have an infusion once per month for my MS medication, Tysabri. I get to spend an hour with a needle in one arm, then an hour after that in the same room, making sure that there are no reactions to the meds. What does this have to do with reading? Well, during that hour+, it’s hard to read a book, as it’s tough to hold a book AND turn pages with only one hand available, as the other arm is elevated, and moving it can give the IV problems. But with the Kindle, one can read and turn pages by pressing a button on the left or right side. So you don’t need to worry about losing your page number, turning the page, or moving an arm that is to stay still. Hooray!

6. Due to the simplicity with which I can now have a book available to read, I am finding another unforeseen benefit: I read more. I really do plan to purchase some non-free volumes from Amazon in the near future, but even so, the simplicity and accessibility factors are helping reawaken the reader inside. (I suppose you could call that “rekindling.”)

I remember thinking – and perhaps saying – that I love books, but an ebook just wouldn’t be the same. Well, it may not be the same, but I’m finding that a little electronic reader can help enhance my reading experience in ways I hadn’t foreseen. My six points leave out a few of the advantages of an ebook, but this isn’t meant to be a term paper. Just a blog post: a blog post celebrating the fact that a small piece of technology could rekindle a love I’d almost forgotten I had.

10 Comments

  1. Steve Van Bruwaene said,

    June 19, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    If you at into science fiction, fantasy, or alternate history, the publisher baen is giving away a bunch of their ebooks for free too. Check out http://www.baen.com

    • Angie said,

      June 19, 2011 at 8:43 pm

      Sounds wonderful – I’ll certainly look into it – thanks, Steve! (and it was great to see you at ICCM!!)

      • Steve Van Bruwaene said,

        June 19, 2011 at 11:18 pm

        No problem! Baen seems to have a pretty progressive handle on ebooks, and the modern economy. In adition to their Free library which is largely the first book or two of various series to get you interested enough in an author or series to buy more, they also give ebooks on CD with some of their newer hard-cover books. The CD’s generally have a bunch of the earlier books in the series, so you can buy one hardcover, and get the whole series in ebook format. And the licence allows you to freely distribute copies. (word-of-mouth advertising). These CD’s are posted at http://baencd.thefifthimperium.com/

        So tonnes of ebooks for free in the hopes that you’ll buy a few books, and they’ll get some money out of you.

        Anyhoo, I’m done my Baen pitch. 😉

        Was great to see you again today too!

      • Angie said,

        June 20, 2011 at 10:51 pm

        Thanks! 🙂

  2. Angie said,

    June 19, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    Thanks! I went to the site aond only found a few chapters of a book offered… your specific link will help me look again tomorrow. 🙂 And I appreciated past blog comments also – in a “duh!” moment on the way home I remembered you from the past also. Thank you for your prayers!

  3. Steve Van Bruwaene said,

    June 20, 2011 at 7:03 am

    Finding your way around their site is a bit confusing at times. here’s a link to the Baen free library:
    http://www.baen.com/library/
    Probably a good place to start with trying out authors. What types of books do you like?

  4. Angie said,

    June 20, 2011 at 11:01 am

    I enjoy historical fiction, children’s/juvenile literature of various types, fantasy (can be sci-fi-sh, but I’m not really into hard science fiction). I enjoy classics of various kinds, and really, if a book is well-written and not overly sappy or technical, I’d likely enjoy it. One reason I enjoy juvenile/young adult literature is that the story is often purer, simpler, pithier, yet clearer and enjoyable by any age. (Harry Potter books are an example of what I mean… a favorite author of mine in this area is Madeliene L’Engle, or today Andrew Peterson.) The books of all three of the authors I mention here are on my shelves, not in my kindle. 🙂 I have a book signed by M.L. and A.P., so that stays in hard copy format!

    • Steve Van Bruwaene said,

      June 20, 2011 at 2:11 pm

      You might enjoy Eric Flint’s Alternate History series starting with 1632. Concept is a town in modern day Virginia somehow gets transported to Germany during the 30 years war. The series looks at what might happen from that point on. Quite interesting. You can get most of the series along with anthologies of short stories here:
      http://baencd.thefifthimperium.com/23-TheEasternFrontCD/1635TheEasternFrontCD/
      (and this is endorsed by Baen. Idea is if you like the series, buy something in it.)

  5. Cindy B. said,

    June 21, 2011 at 7:08 am

    Enjoyed your blog. My husband, too, seems to bring in “the latest” technology. A long time ago (maybe 20 years ago), I gave him a cartoon I cut out from somewhere. The cartoon said, “What’s hip, what’s hot, what ain’t I got?” We do not have a Kindle, yet. But, an iPad, iPhone… and he’s continually saying, “I’ll have to get you one of these… (because of money constraints, he is unable – a blessing from God, maybe?- to purchase many “new technical toys”.)
    I’m finding with my class, having to upload, download, send electronically, I do miss handling real paper, but, I’m learning…

    • Angie said,

      June 21, 2011 at 11:38 am

      Cindy,
      I really think this is a “techie” toy that you’d like… if you want to play around with mine a little bit, let me know, and you can stop by sometime. 🙂


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