Friday, 19 April 2013

Kindle V Books... for me it isn't even up for debate.

I have been considering getting a Kindle. Last night I made up my mind.

Yesterday, I gave blood. Obviously part of the reason I am telling you this is so that you think I am a fabulous, generous, giving person.

However, there is another reason for me mentioning this point. Any of you who have ever sat in a sterile room in a local church/school hall/library having just given an eighth of your blood will understand that it leaves you feeling a bit lightheaded and weak, and so you are asked to rest for 20 minutes whilst drinking sugary squash and biscuits that are normally reserved for school lunchboxes. In 1986. I had an Orange Club.

Whilst waiting out the otherwise inevitable fainting episode at the top of the four flights of stairs you have to climb up after donating (who thought up THAT venue!?), I noticed that the girl next to me was reading "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett.

The next 20 minutes were passed blissfully by two "readers" comparing current books, past books enjoyed, recommendations and "steer clear of's".

You simply don't get that with Kindle readers- because you don't have that initial reason to talk.

Stevie has a Kindle- but Stevie is practically blind, so it is really the only way that he CAN read books as font size is adjustable and the pages are "lit". So that's OK.

When my Great Auntie Joyce passed away, my Grandma gave me back a book that I had loaned to her (The Well and the Mine by Gin Phillips- read it!)- with her bookmark still marking where she had got to- three quarters the way through. I now have that book back in my collection, and every time I look at it, I feel happy that she was getting enjoyment out of something I had given her before she passed away. You don't get that with a Kindle.

A Kindle strikes me as a very selfish way to read books. You can't pass them on afterwards to friends who you believe will like/benefit from them. You aren't sharing with the outside world what you are reading and so miss out on conversations with strangers who are equally book-ish.

And a Kindle doesn't add to the decor in your house. Stevie has had to build two sets of shelves for our living room to house all my books- and we are nearly out of room. So I will ask him to build more. I love looking at those shelves and remembering when I read a certain book- some books can evoke great memories and strong feelings. Like The Green Mile, which I read whilst on a veranda of a beach hut in Thailand when I was 19 and trying to decide what to do with my life (I didn't manage to come to a conclusion, but the book was amazing. It made me cry.). Like "Half a Yellow Sun" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which I read whilst sitting for hours at a time in the canteen at East Surrey Hospital waiting for visiting hours to see Stevie when he was ill with tick bite fever (contracted in South Africa). Like the first time I read Lionel Shriver and realised that it was possible to describe human emotions so fittingly that it was like she had lived a hundred lives.

So, for me, it's a no-brainer, I will keep my books, thank you, and you techies can go on an on about how much you LOVE your Kindle. 

And for those of you who scoff, call me old fashioned and promise that sooner or later books will become obsolete, I point you to some words from the lovely Stephen Fry-

“Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators.” 


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