Wednesday, March 11, 2015

reluctant Kindle convert

I've been reading more than is good for me ever since I figured out around age five what those funny marks on the page meant. Not long after, I was over at a friend's house for a playdate and I could halfway-hear her pleas to come play with me as I read my way through the shelf of picture books in her bedroom. Oy. My kids know exactly how she felt.

Needless to say, I resisted e-readers for a long time, because I love the smell of a book, the feel of it in my hands. I love re-arranging books on the shelf. Or I should say, shelves, plural, because we have endless shelves of books in our house, and extra books shoved in between shelves and stacked on bedside tables and hiding in corners. It's not pretty.

Lest you think I'm exaggerating

Oh, sure, there was one advantage that was immediately apparent when Dean gave me my first, somewhat unwelcome, e-reader in 2009: it is an entire vacation library in a 10-ounce package. Any book lover who has ever had to deal with half a suitcase full of books could see the value in that. But for reading at home, why would I want to give up that beloved book in my hand?

So it came as a great surprise to me last week to realize that I prefer to read on my e-reader. Since you asked, I'll tell you the reasons I finally crossed over. For starters, there are advantages for those of us with aging eyes. You can turn the backlighting up (or down), you can adjust the size and spacing of the text. If you have a color screen, you can change the background, or reverse from white-on-black to black-on-white. You can even change the font.

And if I can't think of a thing I want to read, I can go to our public library's Lib2Go website any time of day or night and download something for free in about a minute. What's not to love about that? No epic quest for a parking place, no searching frantically for overdue books, no having to remember exactly what hours the library is open (not to mention that our library is closed on Sunday).

But most importantly of all, I can read in bed at night without disturbing Dean. Or at least without disturbing him as much. We've been on opposite schedules--he's a morning person, I'm a night owl--for our entire marriage, and it's only getting worse as we get older. I spent the first 29 years of our marriage trying various fancy booklights, bedside lamps with targeted beams, or --my default-- a flashlight resting precariously on my shoulder. I own probably twenty flashlights, none of which I can find at any particular moment.

But no more. The e-reader with its backlighting eliminates all that. And there's no rustling pages to turn. It's night-owl book-lover nirvana.

I didn't realize I had turned the corner into preferring the e-reader, though, until last week when I was looking for something to read and the half-dozen books sitting on my bedside table just didn't look appealing. I've even found myself borrowing books from Lib2Go that I have sitting here on the shelf so that I don't have to deal with the physical book.

Oh, dear.

I guess there's no turning back. There will always be certain situations where a book is better--for example, when I'm reading a book for class, I need to be able to write in the margin and flip back and forth between locations. I also use those post-it flags with abandon--the books I carry to class often look as if they are sprouting colored post-it hair. But for the most part, I've made the switch. I feel a little guilty.

1 comment:

Debbie said...

This is why we always got along so well as children. The rest of the "clan" wanted to go outside and play. We wanted to stay inside and read. I might have agreed with you on preferring using my e-reader, and I do love reading on my ipad, but I have found that in order to fall asleep with any degree of certainty I must now read a "bricks and mortar" type of book (of which there is no lack at Chez Knit).