Inspiration From The Distant Past

Inspiration From The Distant Past
Found note in an old book... warms the cockles of my bookish heart...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The banjo, the side of my husband’s head, and the Kindle.

By way of introduction, I'm Tracy Cartmell and have been invited to contribute by the lovely ladies of Mrs. BG, two of whom happen to be my cousins: DeLynne by birth and Lesa, because my sister and I adopted her a while back and she hasn't had the good sense to block us. Being a book blog, you'd think I was going to talk about a book. Not so much.. I'm going to talk about 658,514 books. You might want to get comfortable.

Since my husband met a distant cousin who played banjo in a couple of local Irish bands, he’s been a groupie and I’ve tried to be supportive. The challenge has been that my idea of a good Friday night is a book, a glass of wine, and Ella Fitzgerald not watching him enjoy himself in a pub, with a pint, and Paddy Fitzgerald. A few weekends ago, I’d had enough and told him the only way I was going to be doing “this” any more was if I could bring a book. I love the man, but there’s only so much of the side of his head I want to see. Three days later I had a Kindle. He’d tried to “gadget” me earlier and I’d refused for the same reasons you’re resisting. You can find prices, pictures and operating instructions on Amazon’s website but they didn’t sell me. Using one did.



· Feel. It feels like a book. If you read, you’ll understand how unappealing the idea of curling up with a slim laptop is. In my experience, there’s no comparison. It has the same heft, and hand feel as a paper back book.
· Access. They take care of the wireless connection to the Kindle store, but if I lived in a remote corner of the world, I’d check on coverage before I invested. What this amounts to is a bookstore at your fingertips.
· Tasting. I’ve never once bought or checked out a book without reading some of it first. Kindle allows you to download a free sample of the book before you purchase it. The samples are around thirty pages or a chapter. That’s plenty for me to know if I want to spend my money and more importantly at this point in my life, my time.
· Ease of use. I read, just not instructions. This wasn’t a problem with the Kindle because it’s ergonomic and intuitive. There’s a page forward button on both sides of the device that righties can’t appreciate until they’re reading in bed and want to turn over. Lefties will experience a more immediate happy.
· Abundance. At last check there were 658,814 books available and that doesn’t include newspapers, blogs and magazines that are now available in electronic form.
· Ecology. That’s a lot of trees that will keep holding birds and other wild life rather than print.
· It’s less conspicuous to bring into a bar than a stack of books.


· Cost. The model he bought is the smaller one, no bells no whistles and it sells for $199.00 US. The books are on average about 10.00. Reference books are more, but a lot of the classics are free and there is a large selection of other books at no charge. The only down side is you have to go to Amazon’s website to find them, then go back to your Kindle and search by title, or pay some guy $1.99 for “Free Kindle Books and How to Find them.” The library still wins the debate of economy
· Availability. Older books are often not available in Kindle form. I see that changing if these devices do what mp3 players did to CD’s.
· Ecology. Batteries and the devices they power don’t break down as quickly as paper, and one day, my Kindle will join my walkman.
· No back light, meaning, you’ll still need a light to read at night. Not a big deal unless, like me, you don’t like to keep your partner awake while you read.
· In the words of Frank Lloyd Wright, if technology “keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger.” There’s something to be said for the smell of aging paper and a walking meditation through a row of books.


  1. Ah - but the sweet joy of being stuck in the 100th zoo in the last 5 years with your child's preschool class and being able to instantly download Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers and start reading while following the class from animal to animal - - Priceless! I love me Kindle

  2. and another relationship lovingly maintained with the help of a Kindle..

  3. So glad you joined us! Ever since I was little I've thought you were the wittiest person around.

    So if video killed the radio star, will Kindle kill the relationship counselor?

  4. i suspect they're are enough relationship issues for both...

  5. Welcome to our cozy corner of the blogosphere, Tracy!

    My hubby has mentioned 'gadgetizing' me several times as well but I've resisted. I tend to be last to jump on the 'new tech' bandwagon but once I do I can't believe I waited so long-- probably will be the same way with an e-reader. Good to know that it feels similar to a paperback to hold. I'm a library girl so rarely buy regular price books so free classics sound very appealing.

  6. +JMJ+

    Hi, Tracy! I haven't joined the Kindle revolution yet and don't think I ever will (Heck, I don't even have an iPod yet!), but your post made me smile. As a regular reader of this blog, I look forward to the rest of your contributions. =)

  7. @Lesa and DeLynne Thank you for inviting me.
    @Enbreth and Lurah Thank you for making me feel welcome.

  8. E-- You aren't alone!! I don't have an ipod either (or a fancy cell)-- my mother and hubby each have some kind of ipod-esque thingamajig-- pitiful, isn't it but really, I don't have much interest...

  9. The Kindle has just been launched in the UK and is already on my Christmas list - thanks for posting this informative post

  10. Oooo I need to send you to a link I keep on my computer that I check periodically for free reads :)

  11. Juju, much belated, and thanks to insomnia, I'm just now catching up and would love the link.


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