The Bookworm’s Dilemma

Thumbing their spines on a shelf. Measuring their weight in my hand. Clutching their covers while walking down a street. I love real books for all these reasons. And so many more.

This love affair began early in my life, sometime around second grade.  Even before I could read, I accumulated paperback books. I wanted to own as many as possible. I remember counting the days until the Scholastic book fair rolled into our cafeteria and set up shop on the main stage, filling our lunchroom with the smell associated with our library.

So when I received an Amazon Kindle this past Christmas, I was excited to become a member of the e-books community. Though somewhat hesitant, I was intrigued how this gadget promised to change how I could read (any book, any where, any time!). Call me old fashioned, but using this sleek and sexy device for reading felt like I was cheating on every hardback book ever printed. I didn’t know if I could do it.

“If I make the transition to all e-books,” I asked myself, “will I ever go back to ‘real’ books?”

Paralyzed by this e-dilemma, I let months pass, as my Kindle sat on the desk next to the bookshelf, collecting only dust. With perfect bedside manner, it starred politely at me every night. Even when I reached for my hardcover companion. Night after night, I’d look at it and think, “One day I’ll pick you up and love you! One day soon … I promise!”

And then it happened. Unexpectedly a weekend getaway popped onto my social calendar, and with only moments to pack my carryon luggage, I glanced around for something to read. Off in the distance, I spotted my Kindle. “Hmmm,” I thought. “Maybe this is the perfect bonding weekend for the two of us. Alone on an airplane. Nothing to distract us. Why not!”

Quickly I bundled my lonely Kindle in a sweater and shoved it into my bag. At the airport, my flight was delayed an hour. I unzipped my bag and searched for something to do. Immediately the Kindle slid into my hands. I held it for a moment and gave it a thorough inspection.

Clinched between my right and left thumbs and my two index fingers, I perched the device in my lap. Feeling its weightless buoyancy, I marveled how easy it was to hold. Much lighter than any book, it felt warm between my palms. Running my fingers over the keyboard and across its side buttons, my heart raced when I considered the endless possibilities of our future (?) relationship.

I turned it on. Up popped my virtual library. Thousands of titles to choose from and in 60 seconds, any of them could be mine. Instant pre-gratification. I was smitten: easy to hold, easy on the eyes, ours was love at first click.

Not wanting to have my seductively fun device go to waste, I sucked up my romantic notions about what reading is “supposed” to be and gave my e-reader a whirl by downloading my first book. Within minutes, I had read 10 percent of the book, but even then, I couldn’t put it down. And with stamina to last all day, my Kindle had no plans on slowing down. So as I waited for my flight to arrive, I clicked and clicked and clicked away, engrossed in a love I never saw coming.

It’s been several months since that first date, and I’m still just as in love as I was on that faithful morning. I can’t help it. I’m a sucker for an easy read.

There are books I stack on a shelf and books I pack and bring on vacation. There are books I give to a friend when they’re in need of a recommendation and books I love because of the stories they tell.

Now there’s the Kindle, so we can have all of these whenever we want. Because, as they say, selection matters.

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11 thoughts on “The Bookworm’s Dilemma

  1. I am so glad that you are in the Kindle Kult. hee hee… I have had mine for over a year and use it all the time. It has made reading & enjoying books more accessible to me. What are some of your book recommendations?

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    1. Hey Marisol!

      I would recommend any of the Oprah Book Club selections. They are always fantastic reads and usually challenging. Several times I have finished a Book Club selection and found that my opinion of something or some issue has been altered. Ones I’ve read are “We Were the Mulvaneys”, “I Know This Much is True”, “She’s Come UnDone” and “The Poisonwood Bible”.

      Let me know if you read any of them. I’d love to discuss!

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  2. Ryan, I feel the same way about books. I have a gift certificate waiting to be used on a kindle. I feel like a trader. I love the feel of the spine sitting in my hand and ko feel of the parchment like paper… Oy! Maybe I’ll by a lense for my Nikon. 😉

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    1. Yes, I know! Getting used to the Kindle takes some time, but I think it’s worth it. I love the dictionary feature, especially when you’re reading a book about a subject matter with which you’re not familiar. I go back and forth, though: one hard back, one kindle, one hard back, one kindle.

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  3. Hi Ryan!
    Oh, how these words could have been written by me (well, that would be IF I could write brilliantly like YOU!). I LOVELOVELOVE to read. As you said, I always have. I can remember reading Gone With The Wind in a weekend when I was a young teen. I just couldn’t put it down. Books are my friends. My thoughts on the Kindle were and are, for me, the same. I just haven’t been able to do it. I feel like I would be cheating on my ‘book friends’. It is nice to know I am not the only one to think that!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Hugs, Beth

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  4. I have to say, when I read this post, I thought, “Can he read my thoughts? Did he really just write this?” I find that I have had a very similar experience with the Kindle. I too have always been sort of a book nerd, and I’m okay with that. I was so leary about this whole ereader business I keep hearing about. I thought about how there is something so fulfilling about being able to read the last page to a novel and closing the book. There is something very tangible about holding that book in your hand and turning the pages. It’s some sort of instant gratification for me. Anyway, I am also all about technology and couldn’t help myself. It didn’t take me quite as long as you to actually open it and use it, but I couldn’t bring myself to do so at first. My husband kept asking me if I had tried it out yet, and all I could muster was a simple ‘no.’
    At any rate, I finally did check it out one day when I needed something quickly to bring with me when I knew I was going to be waiting somewhere for some time, so I grabbed the Kindle. After finally checking it out, I was in love. It is just as you describe it and SO easy to be able to get a new book. My husband loves it because he is tired of all of the books sitting around our house. 🙂
    With all of that said, I hope you are still fully enjoying your Kindle, as I am. It has won me over and now I don’t even think much anymore about not having books hanging around. There are just so many positives to having one that it sort of outweighs the emotional sentiments I have for books. Thanks for sharing your stories with us!!

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