Saturday 01 Oct 2016

Kindle Me
Jennifer Flaten

I'm an avid reader. The kind of reader that arrives at all appointments armed with a book; in hopes that there is a long wait, so that I can spend more time reading. If I ever find myself confronted by a long wait without a book, I will resort to reading an industry trade magazine. For a lover of the written word, something dry and academic is better then nothing.

So that is why, I can say with conviction that I love books. Alright, all books, except bad books. I simply have no patience for a bad book. Life is too short to slog through a terrible book, no matter how many good Amazon reviews it got. I have a strict rule, if the book doesn't fascinate me in the first chapter, I will put it aside.

Now if it is a mediocre book, I might put it on my standby pile. Every reader has one. The stand by pile consists of books not good enough to be read straight through the first time, but it may have a chance of improvement. With that little hope glimmering, the book is set aside to be read after the good books have been devoured. Since, these mediocre books just don't capture our imagination; we are not itching to find out the denouement they end up in a pile awaiting a time when we are desperate for a book, any book.

Now, there are readers that will struggle through a book they hate, reading every word in the book, complaining the entire time, just so they can say that they finished it. Sorry, but that just isn't me. If it is bad I slam it shut and toss it in the return to the library pile. Occasionally, there are times when the puzzle of the book is intriguing enough that I must learn "who dunnit". Yet, I cannot stand to make my way through the murky prose. It that is the case then I will just read backwards until I am satisfied.

As it happens, not only do I love books, but I love technology too. All those terrific little gadgets, they make my heart go pitter-patter. Don't get me wrong, I am by no means a techno-wizard. I simply try to keep abreast of the latest developments in the gadget world. I admit that a lack of funds keeps most of these items on my ever growing wish list.

Now that you know of my penchant for electronic gizmos, you would think that it is safe to assume that I would place the Amazon Kindle reader in the top spot on my wish list. The Amazon Kindle for those of you who don't follow technology is a hand held device available from Amazon that lets you down load PDF file books so that you, per the sales literature, can read, any time, anywhere (silly me, here I thought a book was the ultimate anytime, anyplace reader). Well, for your information the Kindles is not even on my list, let alone at the top.

Alright, if I am such a geek then why am I not enamored of the Kindle? Well, to be frank, it is because it is just plain ridiculous. Why would a true reader want to replace their books with an electronic device with a screen the size of an index card? Especially, when you consider that the average paperback has a larger viewing area and fits tidily into a purse or jacket. What could be more convenient then that? If you have a book and are stuck somewhere, pull it out and voila! You are reading, no special tools necessary. Why you don't even need batteries! Why would I replace that with a little piece of plastic, that requires a power source?

Another reason, I just don't see the kindle taking off is the sheer volume of books a hard core reader goes through. Sure, there are some readers who buy the best sellers and their favorite author as soon as the book is released. These people are few and far between thought. Most readers are like me and avail themselves of the public library.

There are too many bad books out there to be buying them at random. Every time I put down a particularly hideous book, I think to myself 'Thank God I didn't buy that'. So, why on earth would I buy a device that requires me to pay for every single book I want to read?

While paying for every book is a huge factor, the main reason I do not want anything to do with the Kindle is I feel we spend enough time harnessed to some sort of screen. Let' face it, from the computer at work to the TV at home people as a whole spend to much with a screen in front of their face.

For me, part of the allure of a book is that tactile sensation involved in holding a book. The sound of the pages rustling, the feel of the paper under my fingers, and the sensation of creasing the page to mark your spot, of course, you don't do that in the library book, for those you use a bookmark.

Without a doubt, the greatest thing a book offers is the ability to unplug from the overwhelming amount of interactive media we have available to us. TV, Cell Phones and Surfing the web, not only on the computer, but on your phone too, Not to mention all the time we spend social networking. People need a way to unwind and a real book in their hands gives them that, a sensation that the Kindle will never be able to stir in their souls.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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