I Just Read My First Library Book on a Kindle

With the promise of being able to download a library book, I asked Santa for the new Kindle (cheap version, not the Fire) and he delivered early – before an overnight flight to Germany.   Like many libraries, the Hawaii State System recently connected to Amazon to offer free downloads of their electronic books.  Unfortunately, the system had a long wait list for most books, and clicking on the “books ready to read” offered slim pickings – My Father’s Tears by John Updike or Christina Dodd’s Move Heaven and Earth.

The plane ride was bumpy and a movie I had missed – Martin Sheen in The Way – offered a pleasant distraction (beautiful scenery and worth renting if you haven’t yet seen it), but I managed to read through Dodd’s medieval romance – an easy formula read with the swashbuckling hero and the intelligent yet beautiful maiden.  Since Dodd’s Move Heaven and Earth was like following a Middle Ages soap opera, the book was a good primer for learning the assorted buttons on the Kindle.  If I pressed the forward button too long and skipped a chapter or two, I really didn’t miss anything.

Amazon’s marketing was successful; I’ve now purchased a few books for my Kindle.  The convenience of a thin pocket-sized contraption that can hold thick books and pages of story is hard to pass up – especially if you are trying to carry on luggage.  But, I did bring a few actual books along (just in case), and bought another in the Heathrow terminal en route.  The Kindle is nice, but turning pages is still better than pressing an arrow.

What’s On Your Bookshelf?

When I came across the ocean without my books and the shelves sat bare until the slow boat carrying them could catch up, anyone who came into my office would think I did not read.  After a few weeks, a few new books spread scattered on a lonely shelf; it would be impossible not to keep getting books, but those that I had kept for many years were not there – and I missed them.  When they finally arrived, I closed the door and got reacquainted – smoothing their covers, rereading the inscriptions, opening to worn bookmarked pages with passages I wanted to remember.

With the shelves stacked high with a wall of books, the room was warmer and friendlier. Now when anyone came in, they went to the shelves first to see what I read – sometimes, a familiar book started a conversation or a connection.

A room without books is like a body without a soul………..Cicero

Bruce Feiler tries to snoop on his friend’s bookshelf in his article for the New York Times, Snooping in the Age of eBook, surreptitiously trying to discover what his friend is like through what she likes to read. With electronic books replacing print on paper, snooping is not so easy – books are not on display but hidden inside a Kindle, Nook, or iPad.    Reading Feiler’s article reminded me of the room that had no books for a while.

That room is gone now, and many of the books have been given away or donated to the library, but some remain in a smaller room on shorter shelves.  If you could see them, you’d know that I keep them to remind me of who I am, what I dream, where I’ve been, and why I read.  And, if you could snoop there, you’d know a little more about me.