Saturday, July 28, 2012

Portable: I Am Kindled

An e-reader!

I had resisted getting an e-reader a year or so ago because I already felt tethered by too many electronic "toddlers" I needed to tend:
  • Laptop
  • Voice recorder
  • Mini speaker
  • Mp3 player
  • Camera(s)

But I was primed for a change when I realized how much mass paper books take up in luggage, in my borrowed room, and in my backpack. And how limited my portable library had to be with paper books.

When I saw TLG colleague, Sandy, pull out her kobo - that slim, featherweight nothing of an item that belied the library it held, I was dazzled by how little space it took up. 

But what nailed it for me was this post by another TLG colleague, Lauren: An Unlikely Companion.

(And then, of course, there's the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy factor involved in having an e-reader.)


Once decided, I did my due research on which e-reader I'd get and I decided on a kindle touchless wifi/3G for $139. Could not wait til I got back to Missouri to get it! But I did.

But when I went to order it from Amazon, I made an unanticipated last-minute swerve and bought the basic instead for $79. 

  • Turns out that the owners of new 3G kindles only have access to Amazon, wikipedia, and one other website. Really? If that's the case, then wifi is sufficient, so why pay more for 3G? 
  • I saw that the basic kindle was slightly smaller and weighed less than the newer, fancier kindles.
  • I didn't want to have an mp3 player, color, games, or a mini-tablet - I just wanted an e-reader
  • If my basic kindle got lost or stolen, it would be less of a financial loss. 
  • This review from a guy who had all the kindles helped me look at the basic kindle

So I'm happy with my kindle. Except. I'm a little wistful that maybe there aren't basic maps for my kindle that I can pull up as I sit across a table with some folks in future countries, but maybe I just haven't found them yet. (Update August 3: I bought and downloaded the 2012 World Atlas, which is an e-reader version of the CIA World Factbook. Includes its maps.
Also, I somehow had the idea that a lot more contemporary books would be available for e-readers via the library than there evidently are. Example: I want to read all of Daniel Woodrell's books, but it seems only Winter's Bone is accessible on kindle from my library.

What's in my portable library so far
  • Jack London (all or most of his books!)
  • Louisa May Alcott (ditto) (Little Women recommended by Celia)
  • Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn
  • Rikki-Tikki-Tavvi
  • Every blessed one of the colored Fairy Books (Red, Blue, Green, etc.) that I loved when I was a child
  • Grimm Fairy Tales
  • Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales
  • Bullfinch's Mythology
  • Seven of Jane Austen's books (recommended by Rosie)
  • Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
  • Some works by Jules Verne
  • Some works by H.G. Wells
  • Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens (recommended by Rosie)
  • Of Human Bondage (recommended by Miles)
  • Crime and Punishment (recommended by Miles)
  • The Four Feathers by AEW Mason
  • Wherever You Go, There You Are
  • Two Dr. Doolittle books (recommended by Lindsay)
  • Siddhartha (recommended by Sandy)
  • ..and perhaps the original Shades of Gray - Fanny Hill, by John Cleland

All but one of the above were free.

Loving the concept of my portable library and the reality of reading books on my little kindle.

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