A New Way To Enjoy Reading
Wednesday - April 29, 2009
I’m not a techie, but I have to admit I love the gadgets available to us nowadays. I am never without my Blackberry, love my iPod, am addicted to my laptop and consider DVR a basic accoutrement of life - who knew watching TV could be so darn efficient?
But I never, ever, thought I’d fall for an electronic book reader. Yuck, I used to think, who wants to read a book on a sterile piece of plastic?
Books are comforting. They have actual pages. They are pliable and portable and they smell good. Even the word book is solid and satisfying and ... real.
But I recently gave one particular e-reader a try for a practical reason: my son. He has a vision impairment but likes to read, and the device we got him allows the user to control type size.
Well guess what?
He loves it - and surprisingly, so do I! We have succumbed to the cold, paperless charms of the Amazon Kindle.
It was easy for him to get used to it. In fact, it took no time at all. I sort of expected that. After all , most kids nowadays have never known life without keyboard and screen.
But I was surprised at how much he uses the thing. He immediately filled it with dozens of books and now reads every single day. He can browse the Kindle store online from his device and make his own choices (of course, he pays out of his allowance!). Once he clicks on his selection, it’s sent wirelessly to his Kindle in a matter of seconds. He loves that.
It even helps me guide his choices and expand his reading horizons. I browse, too, and if I see something I think he’ll like, I simply add it to his device. More often than not he enjoys whatever I’ve picked out.
It’s changed him. He’s always liked to read, but now he loves it. He devours new material, and when he gets tired of that he re-reads old favorites that are right at his fingertips.
Curious, I decided to try it. What was the attraction? Why did he so easily accept something that to me looked alien, off-putting and rather cold? How could staring at a screen be as satisfying as burying my head in the pages of a book? I just knew I’d hate it. I was wrong.
First, you don’t have the harsh feeling you get when you stare into a computer - what you see on the screen appears softer, almost like a page that’s been ripped out of a book.
And turning the page is as easy as clicking a button. As I dug into the story (I chose Marley and Me from my son’s list) something interesting happened. I became totally immersed in the words and forgot all about the vehicle.
It was the same familiar, comfortable feeling I’ve had all my life whenever I get lost in a book.
The point here isn’t that I’d like everybody to go buy an e-reader. The point is that change is inevitable and it helps to have an open mind.
I won’t say books, as we know them, will disappear, only that they will be just one out of several acceptable options. I still have books stacked on the side of my bed, and that’ll never change.
But now I’m equally as eager to reach for the Kindle. It’s simply the newest, high-tech way to feed an old, enduring passion.
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