When Delia asked me the question ‘Kindle or paper book?’ here, I tried paying a deep thought, and ended up having one of the biggest revelations. So, I answered:
I must confess that I am beginning to like my Kindle. Although I got it five years ago, I was reluctant to use it, only because I thought that it diluted my reading experience and retention. But, for no reason, I bought some highly-acclaimed books on Kindle, and chose to give it a fair chance. To my surprise, I found myself enjoying the experience and comfort…
I have fallen in love with my Kindle. It’s official. 😉
I do not plan my reading-list every month; I go based on what captures my attention then. Hence, I didn’t choose to read a lot on my Kindle in November. It seemed to have taken place on its own. Goodreads tells me that I read 16 books on my Kindle in November. Here is the list:
We Have Always Lived in The Castle by Shirley Jackson
I See You by Aindrila Roy
Venus in Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch
Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed
War Horse by Michael Morpurgo
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman
The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide
Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life From Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed
Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond
Em and The Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Theriault
I remember almost every memorable moment I experienced when I read the aforementioned books. Also, I remember the stories, the names of the characters, and some extraordinary passages. So, my retention seems to be good.
What I loved about binge-reading on Kindle:
- Usually, my books bear numerous dog-eared pages because I wouldn’t have found a highlighter then, but I would have wanted to highlight a particular passage to include it in my blog, so I would have folded the pages’ corners. (I know! I can hear you saying, “How could you do that to your books!”) The books I read on Kindle didn’t suffer in my cruel hands. The in-built highlighter is one of the finest inventions. I generously ran the highlighter on myriads of passages, and I was even more pleased to retrieve it effortlessly while blogging about the books.
- I read some rave reviews about a few books, bought it on Kindle right after I read the reviews, and I began reading the books right after the purchase. The wait to receive the Amazon guy was thankfully eliminated. (I am sure he was happy in a way too. He dreads his rendezvous with Boo.)
- I sprawled on the bed, found many a comfortable reading-postures, and enjoyed the books, as I held the light device in my carefree hands. Bliss!
And here comes the emotional part. What I missed when I binge-read on Kindle:
- I missed basking in the colours of marvellous cover-designs. Because my Kindle is all black-and-white.
- When I hold a book, when I turn pages after pages, when I reach the last 10 pages, I prepare myself for the inevitable. I brace myself to weather the separation anxiety. 😉 But, when I read on Kindle, the last page moves to acknowledgements in an abrupt manner as though somebody launches a heavy, sharp slap on my face when I am reading. I detest that sort of a rude closure. I love running my hand on the last page, as I breathe the last paragraph, the last sentence, and the last word.
- The last page suffers a sudden death, and the book doesn’t receive the grand send-off I offer to every physical book. After I finish reading a physical copy, I hold it for a minute, recall beautiful moments from the book, close my eyes, and heave a big sigh. It’s almost as hard, yet beautiful as kissing a friend goodbye at the airport. Do you see me?
- I miss seeing the books in my shelf. Some of my favourite books go to my Hedwig-book-shelf, as a gesture to honour them. 😉 Some of my favourite books sit at a spot that I choose after a couple of minutes of careful meditation, only to see them quite often, wink at them, and be thankful to them for travelling with me. I sorely miss doing that!
I found an interesting conversation about ‘E-readers vs. Books’ in My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry that I read on Kindle. The dialogue went like this:
“I have never seen so many books, it’s almost insane. Haven’t you heard of an iPad?”
The woman’s gaze suddenly moves up again. Lingers for a longer time on Elsa.
“I like books.”
“You think I don’t like books? You can keep your books on the iPad. You don’t need a million books in your office.”
The woman’s pupil dither back and forth over the desk. She gets out a mint tab from a little box and puts in on her tongue, with awkward movements as if her hand and tongue belong to two different people.
“I like physical books.”
“You can have all sorts of books on an iPad.”
The woman’s fingers tremble slightly. She peers at Elsa, a little as one peers at a person one meets outside a toilet, where one has spent just a tad too long.
“That’s not what I mean by “a book”. I mean a “book” in the sense of the dust jacket, the cover, the pages…”
“A book is the text. And you can read the text on an iPad!”
The woman’s eyes open and close like large fans.
“I like holding the book when I’m reading.”
“You can hold an iPad.”
“I mean I like being able to turn the pages,” the woman tries to explain.
“You can turn the pages on an iPad.”
The woman nods, with the slowest nod Elsa has seen in all her life. Elsa throws her arms out.
“But, you know, do what you like! Have a million books! I was only, like, asking. It’s still a book if you’re reading it on an iPad. Soup is soup whatever bowl it’s in.”
Regardless of the arguments, I will continue to read on my Kindle. But I have discovered a structured approach. If I cannot wait to read a book, I will buy it on my Kindle. If a book is so-so, and if I presume that it doesn’t deserve a place in my book-shelf, I will buy it on my Kindle. If a book is too expensive, and if I have to pay Rs 300 only to import it, in addition to its original price, I will buy it on my Kindle.
If you are torn between e-readers and books, you may still consider buying an e-reader. It’s not that bad after all. 🙂
If you own an e-reader, tell me about your reading experience? And what sort of books do you read on it?
Also, I like Stephen Fry’s thought on Kindles.
Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators.