A Year of Kindle. Well? So?

Marie-Lan Nguyen (User:Jastrow), 2008-04-11

(Check her out: Girl is so confused she can't decide what to read with.)

I hopped on the plane to Dublin last April, excited out of my mind. It was the trip I had been waiting pretty much all of my life for. And slung on my back was a little pack full of everything I'd need to survive my eleven days: makeup, a camera, my passport, cash in dollars and euros, an iPod, a tiny computer loaded up with Skype and the internet so I could both call the kids to make sure they were alive and eating actual food, and check in with the friends by sending an electronic "Doodz! I'm in Ireland!" Also See's chocolates.

Plus twenty-five books.

Some dear friends of ours had given us a Kindle for Christmas. And while before that, I had spit in the general direction of eReaders–Give me real books, or give me . . . er . . . other real books!–I was reluctantly becoming addicted to the thing. Twenty-five books in my carry-on to Ireland! Come ON.

I mean, with a Kindle I can jump back and forth between three books while waiting at the orthodontist's office. I can throw half a library into my purse in two seconds flat on my way out the door. And whilst on my dream-trip to Eire, I was going to be able to lie on beds of shamrocks, nosh on Irish bacon, and electronically leaf through twenty-begorrah-five books. On something the size of a steno-pad. (Remember those?)

I was in lurve.

O the thrill at Whisper-Net-ing the latest exciting plot to my device in the merest of seconds! The rapture of lower prices and thousands of titles to choose from. The thrill of being just about anywhere, flipping my purse open, and being dropped onto the train tracks in Cold Sassy, Georgia faster than two blinks of a word devouring eye. For more than a year, I've been in heaven.

But . . . 

Erm . . . 

I kind of miss . . . artwork. Embossed in shiny bold hues, or deep jeweled strokes, or violently bright splashes across a dust-jacket. I like running my fingers across plumped-up braille-like lettering in the title. Referring back to the picture when I come upon that scene. Or just remembering a character's eye color.

My hands miss the emotional involvement of turning pages. How does this sentence end? Wait! Let me go back and read it again. Slowly. Seductively. Replay and discovery. Turning pages makes me part of the scene.

The weight of the book feels like life. And when I hold a thick tome in one hand (or two), I've got a world clasped there, waiting for me to open it and embrace it again. Waiting for me to fall in head-first.

My eyes miss actual paper and ink, my nose wants to smell the pages. And walking into a bookstore filled to the rafters with hard and soft-bound volumes? Delicious sensory overload from the smells of parchment, coffee, and adventure.

So. The verdict. After a year with my eReader . . . Thank you! You're so handy! I love traveling with you! But . . . 


About Janiel 433 Articles
I have managed to keep the same husband for nearly three decades, and the same four children for almost that long - although one or two of them say it has been much longer. I have been writing since I learned to hold a pencil, and trying to make people laugh even longer. I hope to do some good in the world before I go the way of it. And if not, I'd better at least get to visit Ireland.


  1. I’m totally with you on this. I tried the ereader thing last fall on a trip with an ipad. It was cooler than I expected. Then I realized that a kindle would help my dyslexic kiddo a lot because we could enlarge the type – much easiier reading. So she got one for her birthday in November. And for Christmas, my wonderful mother got us an ipad of our very own [I bow in her direction!] THEN, someone showed me all the free ebooks on amazon. LOVE. Also, my older eyes like the bigger type as I read before bed. Love again. And something remembers where I am if I happen to be reading the kindle and switch to the ipad. Triple scoop love.

    But you have to plug it in. And it doesn’t smell as good as a book. The applestore experience is never going to replace the bookstore experience.

  2. Stop reading my mind and expressing my very thoughts. Yes! By the way, that Fragonard is one of my favorite paintings. I got a little print of it at the National Gallery in DC 40 years ago and it’s still hanging on my wall.
    Nothing can replace the smell, feel, touch and comfort of a real book. Nothing is as enticing or powerful as holding someone else’s thoughts in your hand. You can flip to one page – and back! And back again! And, if you can’t stand it, you can flip to the end to reassure yourself that the book is worth reading.
    Curling up on a couch with a tall glass of water or a mug of hot chocolate, a quilt, and a book. Two cuddly, warm little doggies who snuggle up on each side…Perfection.

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