Wednesday, January 5, 2011


So this was a good gift. My colornook is pretty much everything I could have hoped for. It enables my lazy by allowing me to surf the internet from the couch. It stores pdfs. I hear someday soon it might play video once the flash thing is sorted out. But the unexpected, though not to anyone else who bought it, bonus is that you can read books on it.

In my mind I am still the 16-year-old with dreams of high-minded academia; the girl who, frankly, didn't take nearly enough pictures of Kenya so that she'd still have enough for Italy not realizing that she'd probably get back to Italy far sooner than she'd get back to Kenya; the girl who thought she'd write on an old typewriter and one day make the move from paper to vellum. Which doesn't jibe at all with the reality of someone who has been on the forward side of computing pretty much from day 1.

Still there was that lingering prejudice that books must be paper; the reader must be tangibly invested in their smell; real reading is an experience that cannot be captured by the impersonal screen. Blah blah, blah blah blah blah.

Lies. All of it. Lies.

It's not like I haven't done the bulk of my non-book reading on the computer for some time now. I cannot remember the last time I bought a copy of The New York Times. Reading on a screen is the norm for everything but books. Which, as you know, take up a disruptive amount of space at our house.

But the prejudice persisted. I bought my first e-book because it was a book I knew I wasn't going to need to own in the flesh, Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. And then proceeded to read it in about a day and a half. Ooh how much fun is it to flick your finger and turn the page. While I was reading, I bought the old standby, a book I own in several different materials and languages, the always-present and frequently-read Foucault's Pendulum. But even then I could say I bought it because I already had the real version.

And then I needed a new book. I went to my reading list, selected an available title, downloaded, and read. Then I picked a book Devoted Partner wanted to read. And now I see the genius.

A lot of the books I read aren't keepers. I have a very long reading list and a lot of what I read disappoints me. And then I have the book. Lying around. Waiting to be donated, recycled, given away, etc. Yes, everyone who is about to pipe in with the novel idea of the library, I understand how one works and that I could borrow the book in question, but I don't know until I've read it whether or not I'll want to own it forever and borrowing it, reading it, liking it, buying it, seems rather a lot of coming and going - not to mention the library fees that will pile up during my indecision/laziness.

With color nook I get my instant gratification and, since there's internet on the thing as well, if I read a book I simply must fondle, I can immediately purchase it.

So now I'm changing my tune: bring on the chip in my skull, I'm ready.

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