Kindle FTW

People who have been within a 20′ radius of me know that I have been reading David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, an extremely strange post-modern 1200 page book. I will write a review and some thoughts on the book when I have more time (and boy do I have thoughts on said book which rivals Neal Stephenson for non-ending endings) but this is about the accomplishment: I have not been able to read a book of that significant length in years, and not since Katie arrived.

While I am not 100% sold on e-books, and it will take another decade to ween me off the idea that books should have a distinctive smell*, the Kindle, being light, thin, and can fit into my purse without any hassle, has meant a return to reading again — at least for me. I have always preferred GRAND EPICS of EPICNESS to short books and the weight simply became prohibitive.

This makes me think a bit more about the arguments on how e-books are killing reading or killing readership. I am left unconvinced and cold. A book != a tv show. A book is fundamentally better.  I’ve found that the portability tradeoffs are allowing me to read more than I have in years. I only have a datapoint of one, but I am beginning to suspect Someone is Wrong on the Internet.

Anyway, I find I can heartily endorse the Kindle for reading ridiculously long books. A good translation of Brothers Karamazov** (Bantam Books) has now appeared there so I can enjoy the long metaphysical, religious, and fundamentally strange discussions between the atheist brother Ivan and the pious brother Alyosha. I was struggling with a bad translation from the Russian. Dostoevsky is a major guilty pleasure and the Kindle is giving me more opportunity to cram it into the little cracks of free time in my life.

* I always associate Stephen King’s The Stand with a very pagey sort of smell.
** I will never be on a first name basis with Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoevsky. I won’t even get to Fyodor M. Sadness.

  • Your comments intrigues me about the Kindle and ebooks. I know I have cut back on my reading significantly because of the need for reading glasses. Even with the readers, the text is just small in some books. It’s just annoying and has definitely impacted my desire to do the reading though I still want to Enjoy a book.
    Might an ebook format allow for larger text and more comfort in reading? Will I spend more/too much money on books if all I have to do is select and click? My current pile is proof that just because I haven’t been reading doesn’t mean I haven’t been buying. 🙂
    Signed – Curiosity growing

  • My lasik lasered eyes do not allow me to read tiny text or black text on white background for long stretches of time. The Kindle allows me to adjust the text size from very small to very large until it is comfortable to read.

    I find that I spend much less money on books when I put them on my Kindle. I don’t just buy books that catch my interest. I buy books I intend to read. I had the same problem with an immense pile of books but the Kindle stopped it in its tracks.

    I am becoming a slow Kindle convert.

  • Amadan

    My experience is the same as yours (except my reader is a Sony — I’m not a big fan of Amazon or their proprietary ebook format). I have read more books since getting an ereader for Christmas than I did the previous three or four years. I’ve got Lasiked eyes too, and large text works fine for me.

    I think ebooks will increase readership but fragment the market, which is giving publishers the same heartburn that online radio stations and 99-cent mp3s gave the music industry.

    We’re still in the early-adopter stage of ebooks. Any predictions about what the devices and the distribution channels will look like in a few years are probably premature.