Thoughts on Kingdom, Church, and Grace from an American living in Hong Kong

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lovin' on my Kindle!

I have a confession to make!  I've been seeing a mistress.  The really embarrassing thing is that I was introduced to her by my wife Tammy.  And now my life will never be the same...

Yes, Tammy bought me an Amazon Kindle for my birthday!

I was one of those people who swore I would never give up books for an e-book reader.  Reading books off a computer screen?...Painful!  (Albeit though, far less painful than watching "reality" TV shows)

But then a good friend of mine (thank you Francis) showed my wife and I his Kindle and Tammy got it into her head that this is something I would like.  And wouldn't you know, my birthday surprise was a 3G Amazon Kindle that arrived just in time to take with me on vacation to Italy.

First of all let me say, the days of lugging 3-4 different books on vacation are over.  My slim little 8.5 ounce "mistress" weighs less than your average paperback and can hold up to 3500 books.  In addition, the 3G wireless is free for the lifetime of the product which means if I'm stuck in an area with no wi-fi, I can nearly always access the web through my Kindle.  Granted the browser is a little clumsy but it works in a pinch.

Also, you know when you are taking off and landing on an airplane and they ask you to "close all electronic and portable devices until the pilot says its ok to use them" (like listening to U2 on my 4 gig iPod Nano is somehow going to flummix the state of the art navigational system onboard a Boeing 747) .  Well most flight attendants don't quite know what I'm doing and continue to let me read my Kindle as they remind the guy next to me to close his laptop.

I just got my first magazine subscription on the Kindle as well and although critics mention the loss of perusing many articles at once, I find the lack of peripheral distraction causes me to read the articles more thoroughly.  Reading The New Yorker on my Amazon Kindle while drinking an espresso at Starbuck's; yes, I've truly become pathetic! :)

Couple other quick points: 
  • the ease of shopping: When we were in Tuscany we started discussing the book "Under a Tuscan Sun." around the kitchen table.   Rather than think that I have to pick that up when I'm next in a bookstore, I went online with my Kindle, found the book in the "Kindle Store" and without leaving the kitchen table, I had a copy in about 45 seconds.

  • I'm just reading more!  I've always been a big reader but now that I've got my lightweight Kindle with me whether I'm on the subway, waiting for a ferry, or riding a bus, you will usually catch me reading.

  • The "e-ink" that the Kindle screen uses is so crisp and "booklike" when I get to the end of a page I instictivly  reach up to turn the page before realizing I just need to press the button.

  • Many of the classics written before 1950 are available for free and I've already downloaded a number of them onto my virtual bookshelf.  Anything from Shakespeare, to the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, or the writing of Charles Finny; they're all there for the taking.
People have asked me why I didn't just get an iPad which has been especially the "must get" device here in Hong Kong.  Admittedly, the iPad looks pretty cool, but I'm not exactly sure what I would use it for and everyone I ask here that has one seems unsure as well.   When asked they say things like, "its cool, and you can play games."  Not a convincing argument!

For me though, I like to read and I'm lovin' on my Kindle.


Brook said...


I'm sure you've read this one already at my blog, and it's about music but I think can apply to books... but I thought I'd indulge in a "but these go to 11" moment of repeating myself in this argument and ask you to please rededicate your life to, I mean to physical books.

Brook said...

and here's the section in there that speaks directly to books (though I think the whole thing could apply):

> As I posted earlier, I have a library of over 1,300 books. If you are a regular ol' book lover and want to come over to look at my books, I can point to a few bookcases that have made more than a few book lovers drool. You can take a book off the shelf, hold it in your hands, stick your nose in its pages (if you are of the booksmelling persuasion), thumb through various volumes and lose yourself for hours in these stacks. I have books that were printed many decades ago, and some that were printed not more than a few months ago. each one holds a unique feel and charm to it, beyond anything written inside. Now imagine you come over to look at my library, hearing about all these great books I own, and instead of bookshelves, I point to my computer. I've decided to get rid of all that bulky paper and now have only ebooks. IF you are a booklover, I think even the most digitally hardened amongst you will have to admit that there would be a certain amount of disappointment at the absense of an actual, physical library to browse through. (at the very least, you will agree that sticking your nose to a computer screen is retarted)

Perhaps your thing is antiques. or works of art. maybe you like gardening and enjoy plants and flowers. picture anything like this, anything that holds a physical fascination for you, and imagine coming over to someones house to view theirs, and they show you pictures of their "original Van Gogh" - or their plants...or their antiques - on the computer. That's where they've decided to keep these things, getting rid of the actual physical objects themselves. "Threw the Van Gogh painting out because I have a picture of it on my computer which takes up less space, and I can store more original works of art that way". I hope the only reasonable response to this would be the exclamation "You are an idiot".<

Redlefty said...

Got my kindle a month ago and like it so far, although my travel has lessened so I haven't used it much yet.

Steve H. said...

Brook: No doubt the loss of physical books is a disappointment and one of the first things I do is peruse a person's book shelf to "see what kind of person they are". But I have also moved house 7 times in the last 13 family is tired of moving books.

Michael: Yeah, one of the best parts of traveling to work in Hong Kong. 50 minutes on ferry and subway going and coming mostly devoted to Kindle reading

Paul said...

Steve, I've got 3 words for you about your Kindle that will become increasingly important over time as you buy more e-books:

Don't lose it.

Steve H. said...

Paul..All the books are backed up on my account. If I lose the Kindle...that would be a pain but I don't lose the books

Bob said...

Brook is obviously a lady after my own heart.

You are obviously at a place in your life where something like a kindle makes perfect sense. The important thing is that YOU READ! It doesn't matter how.

Steve H. said...

Agreed Bob! ...oh and Brooke is a guy :)