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Me and My Kindle: Part II

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My abusive love affair with my Amazon Kindle is nearly four months old. How do I feel about it now?

Several months ago for Blogcritics, I reviewed my new Amazon Kindle and was a bit gushy about it. Since then, my relationship with the Kindle is a good three months old. Some of the kinks have been ironed out of the joy and abject giddiness of any new love affair. I’ve abused it, I must confess.

Okay, it’s an abusive relationship.

I dropped the darn thing, not once, but twice. My bad? So file a lawsuit and have me arrested for Kindle abuse.

Okay, I damaged the little twit.

When I dropped it the second time something went kafluey inside. Now, when I need to switch functions, I must sometimes use my “Palin Power” pin for a reset. 

Look, it’s no big deal.  Everyone does it, right?  It’s not suffering. In fact, I swear, the Kindle is quite happy. It’s getting a little fat and a little bit slow.

What is this, an interrogation?

So I do have nearly 345 titles on the scan disk card, but it’s not hurting anything. The Kindle still has its youthful figure. It hasn’t gained an ounce.

I admit, the Kindle is getting a little bit slow under the weight of all those words, but you really can’t tell. It’s still cute and sleek. Granted, there are a few dents on the side where I accidentally (I swear it was an accident) dropped it on the pavement in the driveway. But it is happy. So what if I’ve not fed it new material in a week or so? I’m running out of ideas and have a new hobby, downloading movies into my new 120GB iPod. But I’ve not been unfaithful, not yet. I am considering a brief fling with a book that isn’t available for the Kindle, but is that so wrong?

I confess I purchased about 25 paperback westerns for my father, but is that being unfaithful? I’m not going to be reading them.

My one big complaint about my little Kindle is the fact that Amazon is not adding titles fast enough. Oh, they claim to have nearly 200,000 titles available, plus a bunch of blogs and newspapers, but I want more, more I tell you!

Another one of my biggest complaints about the Kindle and one of its most charming qualities is the fact that there are thousands of old, out of copyright, out of print books available. Some are quite good. I’ve downloaded a number of the “classics”, but still, in many ways, that 191,000 number is a bit misleading. Also misleading is the fact that there are a heck of a lot of new books that don’t make it to the Kindle. Amazon does a good job with “best-sellers”, but I’m one of those obnoxious snobs who doesn’t like to read best-sellers.

Frankly, I don’t think Amazon is feeding my Kindle’s habit fast enough. You must realize this is being said by someone who already has more titles than they can possibly read in an entire year. Take my complaint for what it is worth and you won’t even be able to buy a pine float.

I want Richard Jury and Melrose Plant. I want Dirk Pitt. I want Travis McGee. So what if my little Kindle is loaded with so much James Bond I think it’s going to demand a vodka martini, shaken not stirred. I’m not really in a mood for Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, but they’re all there, in the little Kindle.

We could be heading into some uncharted territory, though. My 78-year-old mother and 84-year-old father saw it the other day and fell in love with it. I absolutely refuse to play swap the Kindle, though. My mother wants one for her very own, which isn’t a bad idea.

The Kindle is like a chameleon, and can change its type size. My mother has recently been diagnosed with dry macular degeneration. While reading is becoming more difficult, she is not having much of a problem yet. That cute little Kindle, though, snuggled up to her and changed its font size. She could read without her glasses! It was love at first sight, literally. It’s too bad I’ve already bought her a Christmas present (an original oil by an artist she likes to collect) or I’d get her one.

No problem, I’ll just talk the Pater into getting her one, even if she swore he would not need to buy her a gift for her birthday, anniversary, or Christmas if he bought her this piece of jewelry. That was last March, but who’s counting?

The Mater is already planning on giving one to the Pater for Christmas. I imagine my sister and I will end up doing this even if we have been given the warning that if we give him one more technical gift we’re both being disinherited. (There was the XM boombox that never worked. Then there was the digital thermometer that would be updated through Weatherbug. That was a bust. Same thing with the new CD player. I have no idea where the iPod Nano ever went. My mother’s lost the digital camera and docking station printer I gave her year before last.)

You get the picture, and it might not be all that pretty.

On the other hand, there are currently nearly 900 Westerns available for the Kindle. My father has this “thing” about Westerns. When he was a little kid, growing up in Minneapolis, his local librarian banned him from checking out another “cowboy” book because that’s all he read. He’s all grown up, retired, and can afford to buy his own library. All he wants to read now are Westerns. When I mentioned the fact that there were hundreds of out of print “cowboy” books available, that clinched it for him.

Mention of the Douglas Preston-Lincoln Childs books just sweetened the deal.

Besides, the Mater thinks learning how to work the Kindle will be a good exercise for what she thinks is his failing memory. For what it's worth, it isn’t failing, he just likes to let her think so. He thinks it gives her something to worry about.

(Now you know why I cover all that gray hair with a red that does not occur in nature).

I think the relationship I now have with the Kindle is “love-hate”. I want more odd titles – they’re cheaper on the Kindle. There are also a number of books available from writers who would never see the light of day. As one of those writers, I think it is a wonderful idea!

P.S. There is another aspect of the Kindle that I am just starting to enjoy. Every once in awhile I want to order a very expensive book from Amazon. I just ordered Human Rights in Ancient Rome. It lists for about $120. I paid a steep $49 for it on the Kindle, but that sure beats $120!

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About SJ Reidhead

  • Clavos

    An enjoyable read, SJ. I’m hinting left and right to anyone who will listen that I want a Kindle for Christmas.

    I’ve heard that Amazon is about to come out with an updated model. Do you have anything on that?

    I’m also a big Preston/Childs fan.

  • mschannon

    I read your later article on getting the Kindle2. Congratulations.

    I have my own plan for getting one. Also, it’s top o’ the list on the BC sci/tech site right now.

    More importantly, I have to take issue with one comment: vodka martinis, shaken not stirred. I know that that’s the movie version, but (and I have to get an old Bond book to confirm this) it makes no sense!

    The reason why the literary Bond ordered his martinis (GIN) shaken, not stirred is that, in days of yore, gin was made in such a way that it could be “bruised,” whatever that means. Hence, people would carefully stir their martinis. By the time Bond arrived on the scene, gin was improved & was no longer bruiseable–which meant one could shake it and get it ice cold without hurting the poor little devil.

    Plus, drinking vodka is like mainlining alcohol for the effect without having to worry about taste. Gin is a sublime and majestic drink worthy of our careful consideration.

    And, while I’m pontification, I briefly checked out your blog. For a right-winger, you’re remarkably thoughtful even if you’re wrong about Obama’s march towards socialism.

    He may be marching us towards destruction… sad that no two economists agree… but a socialist, he is not. So there… neener, neener, neener.

    Most important, great articles on your Kindle journey.

    In Jameson Veritas
    Vita Brevis, Kindle2 Longa

  • To mschannon:

    I have had some interesting comments about my articles over the years, here and at The Pink Flamingo. The is by far the most informative and entertaining.


    FYI – I like my gin martini absolutely filthy and shaken.

    The Pink Flamingo

  • have you completely done away with physical books? i ask because i read an article somewhere about the new kindle and they said that amazon stats indicate that kindle owners also happen to purchase more ‘real’ books (‘more’ meaning i think, more than before the kindle).

    just curious. i’m not a kindle person myself.

    i prefer my gin out of a henricks bottle.

  • Never will I ever do away with physical books. My problem is I have too many. When I travel I also have a habit of taking along my private library. I end up buying the hard copy of most books and one for the Kindle. I know, it’s pathetic.

    Seriously, I have an elderly parent with a serious cardiac condition. I never know when we’re going to be hauling off 120 miles to the hospital connected with her physician. Grabbing the Kindle is a heck of a lot easier than reaching for a dozen books.

    The Pink Flamingo

    P. S. Tanquery