A Changed Mind

Bryant Park, New York City ... a lovely place to sit and read.

A while back I wrote a post about my love and addiction to books.  I absolutely love everything about them:  the feel of them in my hands, how when I fall asleep while I’m reading, they settle down oh so gently over my heart, staying open to the page I last read. And their sweet smell often reminds me of the first library I ever went to.

About a year ago my husband bought a Kindle. Wearing my high and mighty jeans, I asked him why in the world he would do such a thing. He advised me that when traveling it would be easier and weigh much less to carry his Kindle in his pocket downloaded with several books rather than to lug along a suitcase stuffed with reads he might not even get to. Being who I am and stuffed into those very tight, judgemental pants, I said, “Well yeah, I get that but I know I will never enjoy reading a book on an electronic gadget.  It looks and feels awkward and it isn’t soft and floppy like a well-worn book.

A few months later after trying to find a comfortable way to hold the Kindle in bed, he gave up.  It fell out of his hands several times onto the hardwood floor as he was falling to sleep. He also didn’t like not knowing how far along in the book he was.  He missed that comforting bookmark that let him know immediately where he was in the story without having to open the pages.  So, off the Kindle went to a friend at Christmas time who still hasn’t used it.  I didn’t say a word.

At work on my memoir, I’ve been reading loads of books in the same genre.  One of the things successful writers tell the rest of us is to read, read and read some more.  It helps immensely with developing our own style and finding our own voice. It can also be very inspiring and we may find ourselves writing immediately after reading a piece that is very moving.  I’ve found that works particularly well when I’m writing poetry. Often when I feel stuck, all I have to do is go to one of my favorite poets and read several of their pieces. I’ll be off and writing in no time at all.

However, my read list on Amazon is most often way out of hand and pricey. Especially if I have 20 books lined up on it. I could go to the library but lately the books I’ve been looking for aren’t available. So when I saw a review written by another writer about a new memoir and it sounded like something I’d enjoy, I took Amazon up on their offer for me to download it for free on my iPad.

A few weeks ago when I went to New York, I not only took along a few books that I was in the middle of reading, I also took my iPad. On the train ride back home, I found that I’d packed those books I’d had little time to read away in my luggage and couldn’t get at them.  But tucked away in my purse was my iPad with a downloaded book on it.

I’m sweating and getting a bit uncomfortable because I do have to tell you that I’ve changed my mind about reading books on electronic gadgets. People like me who are considered by some to be outspoken (: and use words like never and always, don’t like to be found out.  And here I am telling on myself.

I turned the iPad on and started reading.  I read the entire five and a half hours I was on the train. I didn’t quite finish the book, so back at home I put it on top of the stack next to my bed and finished it off several nights later.

I’m still breathing and the world did not end.  I still love real books the most and prefer to read those.  But, I really do get the point about how much easier it is to read a book on a Kindle, Nook or iPad while traveling.  Especially when they’re free.  And if they’re not the price is usually much lower than the newly published hardcover edition.

So the next time I go off on another travel adventure I’ll download another book or books to take along. You also need to know that I’ve traded in those tight high and mighty jeans for a pair of light summer sweats that tend not to embarrass me as much.

This entry was posted in Addiction, Books, Life, Memoir, Poetry, Writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to A Changed Mind

  1. Emily C says:

    I felt the same way. Then my husband gave me a Nook for Christmas. I still love my books but I do use my Nook as well. So I can no longer go around complaining about e-readers being the death of literature.

  2. jzrart says:

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. Yeah, I too complain about e-readers being the death of books in general. So now, feeling very embarrassed, I have to keep my mouth shut and just smile.

  3. Gail Livingston says:

    Me too! I still have a stack of books in my “nest” beside my chair, and I add books to my wish list with abandon, never hinting that some loving friend could give me one of those books for half the price with a simple, quick download. But the Kindle I gave my daughter for Christmas was bounced back to me, and I have discovered the lazy way out. Can’t find the book you need for a group discussion? Just download it and away you go. New book out by a favorite author? Hit the “Buy now” button, usually for $9.99. The library is closed, there’s a wait list for your book, you live 10 miles from town and are out of gas? Kindle fills a need. It’s palm held, tucks into the suitcase with a variety of readings on it — my only risk is getting carpal thumb. It’s like that old children’s song, “Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver, the other gold.” Just keep reading!

  4. Brenda Neil says:

    Refreshing read. It’s nice to know we can always be open to change and admitting that our high and mightiness can go by the wayside. We are ever evolving creatures.

    Much love,

    • jzrart says:

      I think we must always be open to change since nothing ever seems to stay the same. It sure can be difficult at times though!

      Love right back at you, Joan

  5. Becca says:

    Never say “never!” I have not whole-heartedly adopted the e-reader, but have to agree about their convenience, especially when traveling. I really don’t like reading on the iPad, though. I still like my original Sony reader, which has a nice leather cover so it feels (almost!) like a real book.

  6. jzrart says:

    Yeah, I’m trying to eliminate that word “never” and also the word “always!” They get me in trouble all the time.

    I like my iPad because the pages are bigger and it’s back lit, so reading in poorly lit places is not a problem. I also seem less likely to drop it.

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