Rant #2: Kindles

If you know me personally, you’ll know that I’m one of these annoyingly ardent readers who insists  that every other human being picks up a book and follows  my divine scholarly example. My parents thought they’d assisit me on my quest to book wormery by buying me a Kindle for Christmas this year. I was grateful, of course.  It is in fact an incredibly useful tool; built in Dictionary, wi-fi connection to download books straight onto the device and a function which allows one to change the font size. And yes, it’s light and compact, and when I reach its full capacity I will have thousands of texts just there, to my disposal, to do with whatever I choose. Who in the world could find a counter arguament for the humble, helpful Kindle?

*raises hand*

Well, it’s just not a book, is it? Sure, you can write notes and highlight passages on a Kindle, but I prefer pencilling in notes, underlining certain words, dog earing important pages, even the texture of the paper beneath my fingers. And besides, the keyboard on my Kindle is atrocious; I didn’t get the most recent model, so it’s not a nice convenient touchscreen qwerty, so typing things out takes about week.

I bought the Complete Works of Shakespeare for £1.64 and the Complete Sherlock Holmes stories for eight-six pence. At first I was overjoyed by my purchases. So much text, and for so little! I would certainly be entertained for hours, days, weeks even! These long dead authors would never dream of such a format. Their fervent scribbles, laboured over scrupulously for months and years, condensed down into digital file worth a few pence. Although convinient for us, and perhaps gaining a wider readership, this seems little recognition for the genius of life-shaping literature. And what’s to say it’s even read once stored on a Kindle? Perhaps it caught peoples’ eyes; an entire collection for under a pound. They couldn’t not buy it. And so it sits there, unread and forgotten.

I think if it’s a story you want to engage with, are desperate to read and read again, buy an actual book. Walk past it on your shelf every day, catch sight of the spine and be reminded of it. If it’s reference, part of your A level syllabus, or a holiday read pop it on your Kindle. It’ll save you room in your pocket/bag/suitcase. And I do rather like my Kindle. It’s pretty cool.


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