Wednesday, 14 December 2011

And a convertible too... light blue....

Kindles also stop dogs from reading over your shoulder

I have a small substance abuse problem, and the substance is books. I can’t go past a book shop of any kind without popping in for a look around. It is rare that I'll emerge without yet another slightly musty paperback to add to the growing pile next to the bookcase (I’ve run out of actual shelf space).

I’m always excited to talk about books – I’ve never been part of a book club per se, but have an informal one with family and friends where we force-feed each other with books we’ve enjoyed. I’ll never forget the disappointment I felt when an acquaintance told me she was "really into books" and then ruined it all by saying "especially Jane Green"  (For the uninitiated, this is a bit like someone saying they’re really into film, and as you settle in for a chat about Truffaut and Bergman, or at the very least Spielberg and Cameron, they say "Yeah, I thought Transformers was brilliant. Megan Fox is my favourite actress of all time."

Of course, the obvious solution to the storage problem is to get a kindle – but, I reasoned, how dull to just buy my e-books from Amazon. Anyone can BUY a book. But hunting them down, out in the wild? That’s so much more fun. Checking out charity shops puts the thrill in the chase. 

What’s more, I slightly fetishise the books themselves. When I’ve finished a much-loved book, I find myself caressing the cover, or flicking through the pages to glimpse again the words which have brought me so much pleasure. I marvel at the fact that what is essentially a block of wood contains the treasures of time travel, poetry and characters as real as you and me. 

But then I made the mistake of borrowing someone else’s Kindle. I now NEED to have one. The sense of marvel increases at the thought that a small electronic device can contain 1,400 books. It’s so small and light that you can pretty much carry it around with you, ready to whip out at a moment’s notice (commercial breaks, lulls in conversation). You could quite possibly read it discreetly under your desk at work. It is ideal for cosy bedtime stories, as you can hold the kindle and “turn the page” with one hand.  (Am I the only person whose arms get cold if I don’t snuggle them under the covers? Turning pages has always been the only downside of reading in bed. Although it is also sometimes the only thing that will make me stop...) 

Kindles seems to be shaping up at this year’s must have, and I have already been drooling at the free books available... ooh, classics! (Although many other kindle editions will be more expensive than buying second-hand, so my shelves will not be made redundant anytime soon.)  Once you have your kindle, I’m not sure how anyone could “give” you books – I suppose the only way to do it and keep it a surprise would be to kidnap it and secretly get downloading? 

Santa, if you're listening: my Amazon wish list will tell you everything you need to know. And I’ve been a very good girl this year (mostly).

P.S. And if you could get the elves working on a waterproof version for those all-important bathtime reads, that would be great too. Thanks xx


  1. Dear Santa,

    please do not disseminate a corrupt technology onto a bankrupt culture!

    The beauty of a "book" (to put it so crudely) lies not only in its content, but in its form. Cover pictures be damned! This has nothing to do with a glossy spine, but far more to do with longevity!

    A book requires nothing. No power. No engine. No force. All that is required is a reader. A Kindle requires charge. It is dependent upon our current (forgive the pun) form of electrical distribution. Two hundred years from now, all the pieces published in this "revolutionary" format will be lost - the authors deceased and the technology defunct (Does anyone still own a 3 1/2" floppy disk?). Meanwhile the outmoded, outdated, and thoroughly defunct "paper" will still exist.

    I do not object to the egalitarian nature of a new publishing form (far from it). What I object to is that we, as human beings, are being drawn further and further towards a state where the author is but a transient whim, rather than a representative of their era.

    If the Kindle's battery dies, so do the words of the author who published through its technology.

    Dear Santa,
    I wouldn't pretend to have been an entirely good boy this year. Shucks! I might only be worthy of coal!

    But if deposits of carbon it must be for this lowly, mixed-up, confused young whipper-snapper of a thirty-year-old, then please, please, please, might you be so charitable as to deliver my punishment laid out over 300 sheets of A5 paper?

    Yours Sincerely,

    Barnold the Troglodyte

  2. Hi there! I wonder if you can help me out? Can you tell me the source of that painting? I first saw it today, but Google has let me down. Very lovely though, isn't it?


  3. Barnold - I'm sure you've been quite good really. And who knows, one day maybe they will invent a book that doesn't need batteries. And a pen that will write underwater, upsiode down.. made of graphite. And milk will be delivered in glass bottles, by an environmentally friendly electic vehicle... Ah, dreams of the future....

    Iranaeus - I first came across it at which is also a good read about reading....