How the Kindle won me over

Kindle and David Mitchell's The Bone Clocks
Living in harmony.

Kind of like Harry Potter, I avoided the Kindle for a long, long time.

I like ACTUAL books. I like the design of them, the smell of them, the weight of them. I like real print and typefaces. I like giving my books to other people when I think they’ll love the story or a character. I like how my copy of Franny and Zooey has embarrassingly high-school-me comments in the margins. I like finding OTHER people’s ridiculous comments in the margins in used books. I like dog-eared pages and coffee stains.

You get none of these things on a Kindle.

I also like the idea of not going digital on every last thing. But as I continuously learn Every Single Day, I do NOT need to be all-or-nothing on anything in life. And that includes my position on e-ink.

And so, also like Harry Potter, I was won over suddenly and wholeheartedly by the Kindle. Without betraying my beloved books.

Before I get to exactly how, here’s a related truth about my life:

I am early. For EVERYTHING. EVER.


This not only drives me crazy, it drives OTHER people crazy (just ask my sister). Seriously, even when I attempt to be on time or fashionably late, I fail. There’s something in my makeup that won’t allow any kind of casual disregard for time. So I often find myself sitting around waiting for the start of something. Usually on my own. And that’s fine, but I found that ever since I got a (blasted/wonderful) iPhone, I was defaulting to dicking around on Facebook or some other useless, pointless endeavour to waste time and not have to feel awkward about my place in the world. And I HATE that.

And here’s another related truth:

Since I graduated college (I KNOW THAT WAS AGES AGO, SHUT UP), I haven’t read nearly as much as I’d like to. I used to read SO MUCH. But then, as you may know, the reading load for an English/Drama double major is pretty full-on, and I spent 4 years reading reading reading. Usually stuff that was great and worth it and engaging. But with a life full of extracurriculars and college-level drinking, much as I wanted to be reading all that stuff, there’s something about the pressure of HAVING to that adds a bit of extra exhaustion. So when I graduated, my reading dipped off for a few years. I was recovering. And while it’s gone back up in the past few years, it’s nowhere near the level I’d prefer. There’s just so much shit going on in life that it’s easy to resort to the computer or the TV  at the end of the day and forget how great a really good story is. Greater, definitely, than most things on the interweb or Netflix.

So, back to what got me to give the Kindle a go. I’d been hearing how great it was from so many people for well over a year. But then one day, I was sitting at the pub with my friend Kristina and she was talking about how her mother insisted she’d be a Kindle convert so much that she straight up bought her one to prove it. And, formerly being a holder of similar opinions to myself on the subject, she was shocked when her mother’s plan worked. And then she said the magic words: since she got the thing she’d read so much more than she normally does.

I went home and ordered one. Pretty much right away.

And I’m so glad I did. It’s so small and light that it’s now one of my default items in my bag, so I can ALWAYS read. Instead of defaulting to my phone. And as a result of even that alone, I too have read more in the past few months than I have in the past two YEARS. I bought it in July, and I’ve read 7 full books on the Kindle alone since then. (Including The Goldfinch, which is LONG.) I also read a good chunk of the SNP’s white paper on Scottish independence, which I probably wouldn’t have managed if it hadn’t been on me all the time. And I have chosen many, many adventures in To Be or Not To Be, Ryan North’s choose your own adventure Hamlet book.

All this without abandoning my love of actual books. I now just save the book-buying for special stuff. I got David Mitchell’s new book in hardcover. And Randall Munroe’s What If?

Randall Munroe's What If?
I could never deny myself a cover like this.

But now I can also take multiple books on holiday without worrying if I’m going to get bored of one or how much space or weight they’ll take up. And the battery lasts foreeeeevvverrrrr. It’s fantastic.

So, I can now wholeheartedly recommend getting a Kindle if you’re the reading kind. The basic ones are dirt cheap, and you’ll never have an excuse to waste your life on Facebook again. That’s probably the true win.

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