Dear Kindle: We need to talk.

February 14, 2015






Dear Kindle,


I’m a book person.  I’ve always loved reading and books were a constant growing up. I clearly remember the excitement of learning to read -- sneaking away during recess to read Dick and Jane in the roots of the giant tree in the schoolyard. I remember the way Highlights helped me cope the day I sat on a bee, and even the cereal boxes that kept me entertained during breakfast.



I remember the way new books smelled just as clearly as the unique scent inside my lunch box and the cafeteria on pizza day. Books smelled sharp and clean, just like the unturned pages. I remember opening up a brand new Nancy Drew and inhaling the new-book smell. It was an adventure each time.


I was obsessed with books throughout my young life -- as a tween I devoured Walter Farley, James Herriot, Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume. In my early teens there were some troubling phases, like the "any book worth reading has at least one grisly death" phase, closely followed by the "Jackie Collins is the best author ever" phase.


Developing more cultured tastes I moved on to Kafka, Steinbeck and J.D. Salinger in my late teens. This is when the "fantasy book collection" took off (minus the leather bindings and house with a stone-fireplaced library).


Fast-forward a few years and I had a book collection that outweighed my furniture. I knew I'd never re-read most them but I just couldn’t let them go. I displayed them proudly, loving the idea of meeting someone who I would bond with over my fascinating and eclectic collection. (That never did happen, which is sad, really. But I digress.)


I was a bit nomadic when I was younger and I moved, a lot. As a single person it started to suck asking friends to help me move boxes and boxes of books. No amount of beer and pizza was going to help offset that guilt. So with another move looming, I loaded up the car and hit some local used-book stores. What I couldn't sell I gave away.


And... I found you. My second-generation Kindle.


At first you were AMAZING -- literally life-changing. I could store hundreds of books on you, and you fit in my purse. Plus I could shop for new books anytime, anywhere and the books were cheaper. What more could I ask?


But… now that I've had you for a few years I find I’m just not as interested in reading. I'm not as engaged with the reading experience and quite often I’ll abandon a book halfway (or less) through. There’s a restlessness and impatience that I never felt before and I'm not sure what to blame for it. The reality is I just don't feel like curling up with you anymore.


Not to be cruel, but I wonder if I’m disenchanted by your rather clunky interface (and to be fair, you haven't tried upgrading you yet). Or it might not be you at all -- maybe it’s because I read words on screens all day, every day now. I'm not sure though, that there’s not just something more emotionally satisfying about holding a paper book and turning the pages.


I don't know the answer, but I think a trip to the bookstore may be in my future.





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