I'm standing in the last metro car, elbows tucked in, sweaty stinky people pushing up against me on my way to McGill one morning. I'm reading a French book, the pages up close to my face as if to block out the sight of so many strangers invading each other's space. I have to be careful that I don't fall out when the doors open at each stop- "Station Laurier".
The man directly in front of my tries to strike up a conversation about my book (a classic Québec lit novel that I actually wasn't enjoying at all): "Ah! Ce livre est magnifique, n'est-ce pas? Les personnages blah blah...." At this point in my life I'm really quite bad at avoiding eye contact, the rural Atlantic Canadian in me just has to respond in order to be polite. It was ridiculous, since that was WHY I had chosen to read a book, so I wouldn't be harassed by weird men looking for the lady who makes eye contact.
This interaction resulted in the man giving me his dating 'card' with "Je m'appelle____, s'il vous plaît appellez-moi à ______" which was extremely awkward because I took the same metro car and bus every day... and we did end up running into each other again. Thankfully he was just weird and not some crazy serial stalker killer guy.
This wouldn't have happened if I had been reading on a Kindle.
Bookshelf un de trois: as you can see we have eclectic tastes in books....
Last fall Andrew decided that he wanted a Kindle. I was completely against it. There are so many aspects that are a part of the essential reading experience for me: The feel of the book, the cover, the smell, the act of turning the pages and of marking your place. A Kindle would be a sad electronic version of a beautiful analog experience.
(Another bookshelf with some of my 'eco' books- French novels from Stolen Harvest-candle!)
Except: it saves on a crap load of paper and trees.
After five months (the Kindle was a Yule gift), I will admit that I have read a grand total of 6 books on the Kindle- to Andrew's smug joy. For a analog book lovin' gal, I have a few thoughts on the Kindle. Since I feel it's important to be honest and authentic (le mot du jour in blog land) here goes:
The Kindle in 'sleep' modeKindle- The Good Stuff:
- It is ridiculously easy to buy books. Although this would kind of fit in the 'bad' category as the entire experience of book shopping is one of my favourite things to do (read here), sometimes book stores don't have the book you're looking for... or you finish a book and you want to read the next one RIGHT NOW. It's honestly scary how fast you can buy a book, under a minute and voilà! It's on your Kindle, ready to read.
- It's easy on the trees. Of course there would be an initial environmental cost of creating the Kindle and the electronic parts that go along with that, but it uses a minimal amount of energy as it's 'electronic ink' and not digitally powered (magnets move the 'ink' into words on the screen- which isn't backlit for easier reading).
- It saves on space which is a big concern for Andrew. He grew up with parents who read A LOT (and whose childhood home is now a bit overrun with books). I grew up in a home where I was the only reader, so I think our three bookcases are a perfect addition.
- It's easier for travelling... (but I really don't mind bringing a few analog books with me- it's just that they can get heavy...).
- If you're reading something embarrassing (like Fifty Shades of Grey- which honestly AVOID, it's SO SO terribly written, I'm annoyed we spent the 9,99$ Kindle price for it), no one has to know.
- It can update to Goodreads automatically which is pretty geeky and awesome. (If you don't know what Goodreads is- go there, it rocks).
- It's a lot easier to buy good French novels which are difficult to find in book store in the Atlantic provinces.
Kindle- The Annoying Stuff:
- I am not a fan of the way the Kindle feels in my hands. It's kinda small so it doesn't feel like a book.
- It doesn't smell, look or feel like a book. This is important.
- It drives me bonkers how you have to change the pages and you're never quite clear where you are in the book. AND what if you accidentally push the forward or backward button too many times? Because it's electronic, it's much more intangible, which makes it tricky to find your spot- backwards or forwards it all looks the same.
- Not having real pages also means that you can't just go back and reread a certain part of the book- unless you were paying attention to the percentage part of the book when you read that part, you'd have to press through the button of the entire book. It makes it feel like when you're done reading the book, the experience was fleeting and almost unreal.
- Buying a book on the Kindle means you only get an electronic file, which the company (Amazon usually) can retract and alter at any time they'd like.
- You can't write notes in the Kindle... (without ruining the screen).
- You can't lend books with the Kindle (I love lending books to friends, sharing the reading experience).
- Due to planned obsolescence, in a few years this Kindle will be out of date. If they decide to change the electronic book file format, you will likely have to buy a new version of the Kindle. More environmental damage, more money.
The verdict: If it were just me, unless I had an unlimited budget (or won the lottery) I wouldn't buy a Kindle. I prefer analog every time. My goal this summer is to get a library card and give it another go!