It's been a few months since I got my Kindle as a birthday present, and it has slowly inched its way into both my heart and my backpack. I've been wanting some kind of e-reader to try and restart my love affair with reading that goes back as long as I can remember. I wanted to get back into the habit of reading, the discipline I used to have to read long-form prose, fiction and non-fiction, intellectual and artistic work.
I think it's working. I've re-subscribed to the New Yorker and read it fairly diligently every week. I download the New York Times and CNN headlines to stay abreast of the news. And I've read about a book a month since I got the Kindle. It's mostly sci-fi, fantasy and light fiction at this point, but it's a start.
The beauty of the device is it's single-minded purpose. Unlike most of my other gadgets, the Kindle is really only good for one thing: reading text. I don't get Tweets, Facebook updates, emails, texts or IM's on my Kindle. I just get books and articles, presented in clear, readable text.
I love the form factor. Small enough to hold one-handed and put in a jacket pocket, but with a big enough screen to not feel cramped. The thinness was surprising,without feeling flimsy. Still, I created a couple of these $1 ironic book covers for my Kindle.
The interface is dead simple to use, from navigating the home screen to turning pages, advancing to specific sections, searching for text, and adding notes and bookmarks. The lack of page numbers kind of threw me for awhile, but the bottom progress bar and “location numbers” are decent substitutes.
Purchasing books is also alarmingly simple, either from Amazon.com or from the Kindle itself. Buying something from the web and watching it wirelessly appear on my Kindle is still kind of thrilling for me.
I recently learned how to send myself files to read on the Kindle. I can plow through a thick PDF document on my Kindle much easier than reading it on a computer or laptop monitor, highlight text, make notes, and bookmark sections along the way. Before I would have to print out long reports for work in order to get through them. Now I just email them to my Kindle and step out for a coffee.
I thought I would miss the physical act of reading a real book. But I find that once I get into a digital novel, I stop thinking about the interface and just absorb myself in the story. Other than graphic novels, art books, and manga, I'm not sure I want to buy a dead trees book ever again.
Because I love reading again. On the train. On a long plane ride. In the park. Every night before bed. It's awesome.