My mom gave me an Amazon Kindle for Christmas and I love it.
I know book purists don’t get it but…I beg to differ.
Now, I love books. I have been reading them since I was four years old. And if I was reading, that meant I was thinking and learning, and learning to think for myself.
Reading books is really at the root of who I am.
My mom doesn’t love books and doesn’t find the time to read them; I get this trait from my grandma, who, for as long as I can remember, has always had a thick hardcover murder mystery sitting by her chair in the living room. She always knows, even though she doesn’t use a computer, when her favorite authors are going to release their next book, so she calls the library to get put on the waiting list. She never minds waiting for appointments or anything — she just always brings her book.
I was always the same way — I was never bored because I always had a book. From Chicka Chicka Boom Boom to Bernstein Bears (my love for Jewish boys may have started with Brother Bear) to American Girls (my love for Samantha Parkington is another story for another day) to Goosebumps to Baby-Sitters Club to Francesca Lia Block to Shakespeare to every book before it was ever a movie to David Sedaris to Chelsea Handler to Harry Potter to stacks of cookbooks to Seth Godin and as many good non-fiction reads as I can get my hands on…I have loved them all. And yet most of these books still remain at my house in Michigan.
Yes, books carry the delicious scent of paper and glue and yes, I can have them signed and yes, I can put a bookmark in them or dog-ear their pages, but you know what I cannot do?
MOVE THEM FROM PLACE TO PLACE.
Real books are awesome, yes…but real books are also fucking heavy.
Seriously, I move a lot, and the book bin is always the biggest source of anxiety. I always worry I am going to ruin my back when I try to move them. And even if I could move them, books take up space…space I didn’t have in my room in the sorority house or or in my small apartment in New York or in my car when I drove to Texas. So whenever I’ve left, I’ve had to leave most of my books behind.
Choosing which books to take with me is like trying to choose a favorite child. (OK — admittedly, most of us don’t know what that feels like, so let’s say it’s like trying to choose a favorite drunken night out with your friends in college.)
Not buying books, both because they are heavy and because they are expensive, plus not always finding the new book I want at the library means that I really haven’t read that many books this year — and that is a shame to my former bookworm self.
But now that’s about to change.
My first Kindle download was The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the exact kind of book I love — non-fiction with a good story and a lot of cultural or social history. I haven’t sat down and read a book in one day like that in months, but I did yesterday, and it felt good. I read it so quickly in part because it was really good, but also because I just loved reading on the Kindle so much.
I love the size, the light weight, the non-glare screen, the font, and the fact that you don’t scroll through it like a Web site — clicking the arrows somehow feels more like turning pages. Yesterday, curled up under a blanket with my Kindle, I really felt like I was reading a good, old-fashioned book.
Except it’s lighter. And sexier.
My too-heavy-to-move personal library will now be with me wherever I go. When I have a few extra minutes in my day, I’ll be reading a chapter instead of playing on my phone.
Even though I love reading, I haven’t been this excited about it in a long time.
I feel that rush I used to get in grade school when book orders would come in on a Friday afternoon.
And perhaps one day, we’ll all reflect on how much we love the smell of old Kindles.
I think my next download is going to be Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary by David Sedaris, but I’m always up for recommendations. I’m not opposed to fiction, but in the past few years I’ve been tending to go more for memoir and non-fiction. I’d love to get some ideas, so please share!