Sunday, November 14, 2010

Kindle.Typist. Mountains.

Hello, readers.

This past Thursday, my Kindle arrived. I have been tweeting about it. 

I realize I am late to the e-reading party. My Kindle is the Kindle 3, after all.

Still, I was excited and unsure and worried that the lack of smell, and heft, would bother me, and now, having put the Kindle to the test, I find myself in the usual position of thinking myself a very silly person.  The future is not such a bad place to be.

On a pair of five-plus hour bus rides to the southwesterly parts of Korea and back, I read one entire novel (The Typist by Michael Knight), many bits of The New Yorker, news from The New York Times and BBC, checked my e-mail, tweeted, and loved every bit of it.

To be sure, the internetty bits of the Kindle experience are black and white and a bit slow and nothing like you would have on an Ipad (with its multicolored and absorbitant powers) or even, probably, a decent-sized smartphone, but it works rather well--especially for reading newspaper articles or columns or short-stories or anything wordy, really. The web-browser has a mode called, "Articles Mode" that dispenses with the ads and links around an article and presents you with a nicely formatted, high-contrast, easy-to-read version of whatever it is you want to read.

It's the easy-to-read thing that is the kicker. For a long time, I have read places like the Times and The New Yorker or Strange Horizons on my computer, and while it's colorful and wonderful and graphic, it was always annoying after an hour or so, if not less. Backlit screens shooting electrons into eyeballs, make my head swimmy, my eyes annoyed. But, on the Kindle, The New Yorker can be browsed and read for however long you have and there's no swimminess. It's just reading.

E-ink, with all it's reflective and unbacklit power, is wonderful. My eyes endorse it.

Also, here's the thing.

I love books. I do love the way they smell and the way they fold and the way they turn yellow. I have been reading them since, as far as I know, my motor functions allowed me to hold one--before that they were read to me. But, I will admit, there was something very freeing about reading a novel on the Kindle. I didn't have to pack the book, for one. But, more, I didn't have to turn the pages or notice page numbers or how far along I was or remember to place a bookmark. I just read and read and read and sometimes looked outside at passing mountains and then read some more. It was nice.

Tomorrow I'll edit this post with pictures of mountains. It is late now. My head is swimmy.

Sleep well, readers.