Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I read a fair amount. One of the results of that is an ever increasing pile of books in the house, which have to be located somewhere. At least that’s my view. The view of the other member of the household does not quite coincide with that conclusion.

1 – “Have you finished your book?”

2 – “Yes”

3 – Did you enjoy it?”

4 – “Yes, it was very good”

5 – “Do you think you’ll ever read it again?”

6 – “No, probably not”

7 – “Are you going to throw it away then?”

8 – “I don’t think so, No.”

This discussion usually then follows the somewhat “Fortran like programming process -

For i = 1 to x (x being a very large but undefined number), Repeat Steps 1 to 8.

This “discussion” has been ongoing for most of our 43 years of marriage, and the result is (as I currently speak) a collection of very densely populated bookcases (Ikea “Billy” in semi-industrial quantities if you must know) distributed around the house.

They are completely full. And I do mean “completely”. I don’t think I could get another one in if I tried. I say that with more than my normal level of authority because I have, and I can’t.

I am led to understand that the chance of negotiating the purchase, let alone the installation, of another one is “Remote”. That’s the “Remote” that sits right alongside the chances of the Monkeys diligently typing away and so far failing to duplicate Shakespeare.

That’s defined the Problem. Now Enter Stage Left the possible solution – The Kindle.

Steve, in our Photographic Society, an Early Adopter if ever there was one, owned up to possessing one last year way before the date by which Santa needed his present lists to be e-mailed to him. Of course, I immediately rubbished it.

I like the heft of a book, I said.

I like its weight, and the fact that I can flick backwards and forwards to see things in a book. I can scribble in a book’s margin. I can, but I don’t, so I can never actually find anything when I look back for it. And so on, and so forth.

Then he brought one in to look at, and 20 minutes later, I was hooked.

Yes, you can’t see to read it in the dark, but then neither can I do that with a book. You'd never replace the Coffee Table tomes with their beautifully printed colour pictures with one. But it’s as light as a feather, and can slip in just about any pocket. The Black and White screen is very soft on your eyes, with nothing like the wearysome glare of a Laptop, and the battery lasts for ever. The blurb says it can hold about 3,500 books on it. It even keeps track of where you’ve got up to, and via a nifty little App on my phone, when I start to use the Kindle on my phone instead, the little blighter knows exactly where I’d got to.

With many books, it can even read them out to you. Now I know that the voice of someone like Steven Hawking reading Brideshead Revisited might jar a tad, but it’s still better than nothing.

You’ll guess by now that Father Christmas brought me one, and I find it a real plus in my life. It can go anywhere with me, and, rather than twiddling my thumbs whenever I’m just waiting for something else in my life, I can pick up a “book” . So I read more.

But now think back to the beginning of this piece. You could feel a potential hot-spot forming in the Marital arrangements here. The Immovable Force of “I want to keep every book I’ve ever owned” coming up against the Irresistible Object of “If we get another book in this house, I will NOT be pleased”. And we all know just how unpleasant “NOT being pleased” can be. This machine has probably saved my marriage.

Yes, it has its faults (the Kindle, not my marriage), but anything which can simply, by its very existence, take the heat out of such a major problem, is a rare piece of technology. Praise be to Amazon.

And just think how easy it will be when I’m filling my suitcase to go away prior to doing battle with Ryanair’s weighing-in scales. The book I’m currently reading is 1,530g, and my Kindle weighs in at 237g, a saving of 1.3kg – that’s nearly 3 lbs! I can now take a second set of underwear!

Yabba, Dabba, Doo.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I didn't realise you wore lead lined pants! Enjoyed this and forwarded to my sister-in-law who is also bibliophilically challenged and contemplating buying a Kindle.