Kindle! Kindle! Little Star!

English: Third generation Amazon Kindle

English: Third generation Amazon Kindle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s been a strange Christmas in many ways but also one where I have been shocked to find out that I have been totally wrong about a strongly held idea.  I’m open minded about most things, but my mind had been firmly closed about this issue for about sixteen years.  If I say that I received a Kindle for Christmas which I hadn’t asked for, things might become a bit clearer about where I am going with this.

Roland Barthes

Roland Barthes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It might be a good idea to explain where the distaste for the electronic reading device came from.  Sixteen years ago, I was on a writing course and attended a lecture about writing and the future.  A guest speaker gave the lecture and as the evening wore on he made me more and more depressed as his discourse consisted mainly of threatening my whole way of life as a reader.  As Roland Barthes had written in his famous essay that “The Author is Dead”, so this speaker seemed to be saying that the book was dead.  He gleefully wittered on about how we would not sit reading physical books anymore but would have these electronic reading devices which would send books down a type of telephone line.  I came away from that lecture feeling as depressed as if a lover had ended our affair and I hoped desperately that the chap giving the talk would physically get sent down someone’s telephone line.

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So why did the idea of sitting looking at an electronic device instead of holding a book alarm me so much?  Reading is one of my greatest pleasures and therefore the atmosphere when reading a book has always been important to how I feel about life.  For instance, I remember sitting by a coal fire at about thirteen years of age having just picked up my very first Agatha Christie murder mystery.  The room was silent apart from the very loud ticking of the clock and the odd hiss from the fire.  My grandmother had developed a need to hoard confectionery after the food rationing of the war and had a long sideboard in her bedroom full of packets of Tate and Lyle sugar and boxes of chocolates.  She’d given me a box of Milk Tray and the chocolates lay open on the arm of the chair as I devoured the details of the delicious murder by the safety of the fire.  As my hand wondered into the chocolate box to find my favourite strawberry flavoured one, my eyes left the book for a moment to glance towards the window.  The moment my eyes met the ones leering in at me, the book fell to the carpet and momentarily, I was in my book.  I stared at the nose with huge hairy nostrils pressed up against the glass and after my initial fright, I become furious and stamped to the front door to berate the middle aged man who was peering in at me.  It turned out to be someone with learning difficulties who had wondered off from the house he was visiting and decided to look at what I was doing.  However, that feeling when I was lost in a murder in a vicarage with a face peering through the window at me will stay with me forever when I read a cosy murder mystery.

(Sir Henry Irving was a real-life inspiration for the character of Dracula.)

So have my opinions changed since I have owned a Kindle?  I have to say that they have.  This Christmas, I have sat by the fire with Mildred, the cat stretched out on my knee, a box of chocolates on the arm of the chair and reading Agatha Raisin on my Kindle.  I have to admit, I was just as transported as if reading a physical book.  I’ve also been reading “Dracula” and when Jonathan Harker was being taken to the Count’s castle in the coach with the wolves circling it, I was there.  It’s a strange way to begin a new year, admitting that I have been wrong all these years but hey ho, it means that I can now carry a full library with me wherever I go!

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16 Comments

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16 responses to “Kindle! Kindle! Little Star!

  1. Hi,
    What a wonderful Christmas present in more ways than one. 🙂
    I haven’t gone down the Kindle road yet, but of course a few friends have them and love them, they seem to hold a lot of books, it certainly would be like carry around a library. 😀

    • Hi Magsx2, If anyone had told me how much I would love it, I would have laughed and said that they had to be joking. One of the things which I love which I did not mention in the post is that it can sit on my knee and I can read it without having to hold it – so the cup of coffee can be sipped whilst reading – it’s lovely.

  2. Neridah

    Yes I can see there use and my children in the future may even decide to buy one themselves. For me however I think I will stick with books for now, as I really haven’t got into this electronic world yet. The most I have become used to is emails and some times even if not very often blogs, becuase it is just like typing an good old fashioned letter. I enjoyed reading your post which give another insight into your world and Strawberry creams are my favorite too!

    • I’m glad that you enjoyed reading this and at the end of the day it doesn’t matter really how folks are reading as long as they are reading – I will never stop loving books, I hope I haven’t given this impression – and of course, the chocolates are a must.

  3. I’ve always been a supporter of actual books, but I recently acquired an e-reader of my own and have been really loving the experience. One perk is that I can finally read in my bed comfortably without the need for any book lamp!

  4. what a wonderful way to start a new year – with new learning and obviously a new liberation as a result! Wishing you a new year full of brilliant books – some on Kindle of course! 🙂

  5. What a wonderful way to start a new year – with new learning about yourself and a liberation as a result!! wishing you a new year full of lovely stories – some on Kindle of course! x (Hope this isn’t posting twice – computer miseries at the mo!)

  6. I must admit that I too, for a long time hated the idea of reading books that were anything but ‘real’ books. I never wanted one of these devices, and I think, rather crazily, I hated the devices themselves for attempting to ruin what I deemed already perfect! However, I too came to realise that it wasn’t as bad as I first thought, and the fact that you can carry an entire library in your pocket is rather wonderful – not to mention the number of free books out there to download is quite extraordinary. That being said though, although I enjoy reading ebooks, nothing, in my opinion, will ever beat holding a ‘proper’ book, but at least now I feel that I can reconcile them both, and do so happily.
    Great post – I really enjoyed it! Brightest Blessings

  7. I have the Kindle app on my tablet and I cannot get into the books I downloaded the way I get into a book with pages. But I’m as stubborn as they come, so I’m sure I’ll be one of the last people on Earth who will finally surrender and start liking ereaders.

    • When I tried reading books off the Kindle on my laptop, I just couldn’t get into them at all and was sure that I wouldn’t be able to with a Kindle. It’s really shocked me the way in which I’ve taken to it. It doesn’t mean I’ve gone off real books though, my home is full of them. One of the things which is helpful with the Kindle is for instance, I thought to myself that I would like to reread The Aspern Papers by Henry James whilst sitting on the sofa this afternoon. I then thought to myself that I didn’t know where my copy was so I downloaded a free copy onto the Kindle.

  8. I don’t blame you for being depressed. I would have been too. In fact I might have walked out prematurely out of the lecture hall. LOL.
    I don’t have an E-reader myself but I do see the benefits of owning one especially for research purposes but I have to state that nothing beats the feeling of having a physical book in your hand!

    Ps. Cue Twilight Zone music. I was just reading my friend Becky’s book review on Dracula and I mentioned in the comments about that very scene where Harker is waiting for D’s coachman to pick him up! No jokes!
    http://beckysblogs.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/dracula-by-bram-stoker-review-45/

    • What a weird coincidence – I love that scene – it totally transports me. I do like having the best of both worlds – I’m the same with candlelight and electricity so why not with Kindle and physical! Hope you’re feeling a bit better.

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