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October 21, 2010

So I got a Kindle. Me. The book girl. I’ve wanted to actually marry certain books. There have been times in life where I felt that if I never saw another person again  I’d be alright as long as I had my books. I was going to lose myself in the Scottish moorlands after college with only my books as comfort. Luckily that never happened because I got married and I’m scared of sheep. Just a little bit.

When I was about 13 I volunteered at my city’s huge, downtown main library. They gave me this code to punch in to get into their stacks, the ones with books so old they didn’t put them out anymore. Periodically I would go in there, absorbing the dimness, that old paper smell, and just lean against the shelves, touching the spines of these old words. It’s one of my most enduring sensory memories.

I have a deep love of words. I think in words, situations are spelled out to me in my head as if they were on the pages of a book.  Everything sounds better to me on paper. This might be because I don’t speak very well.  I’m socially awkward and my speech is peppered with snorts and ums, as well as my voice being a cross between a cartoon character and Holly Hunter in…well, everything Holly Hunter has ever done minus The Piano. Hard and nasally. Plus, I look like Ren Hoek. For you innocent  youngsters, here’s a visual:


So yeah, basically everything is better on paper. This is also the reason I’m fond of writing letters when I’m really angry as opposed to “having a talk.” Gah!

I have no shame in saying that it is through books that I am a complete escapist from anything happening in the real world. I will be buying books my entire life, and since I’m only in my early 30s, that might be a long time. My house is already full, and I know that many of the books that I will need/want throughout my life will not be available in any format beyond paper hard copy. There simply isn’t enough space for them, and as the children begin to grow their own libraries, what little space there is will be at a premium. Since we are currently on a much needed, and hopefully permanent “downsizing stuff” cycle, I think the Kindle really fills a space in my life. It can house the many, many books that I enjoy enough to own, but would not be completely devastated to lose lest the world of digitization crashes to a halt.

While I still feel quivery about possibly losing my books in the event of the zombie apocalypse, my sister (a Kindle lover) wryly informed me of what I already knew; there won’t be much lolling around reading the classics when fire is falling from the sky and zombies are trying to eat my brains. I will be keeping my most favourite books un-digitized; the ones I would not ever be willing  to part with.

And the Kindle? The thing that makes the Kindle completely worthwhile in every single way? Oxford English Dictionary. It’s in there, people. And while some of you do not know what a hard copy of the OED looks like, I actually have a complete copy of both volumes dating back to the year I was born, 1977. It was my Dad’s. Both volumes are approximately 4 inches thick, the pages thin, like a thread of ancient silk, the words so tiny they need a magnifying glass. Nerd-woman that I am, I’ve been in love with the OED since I was a little girl. And now I can carry around all those delicious words with me. Happy sigh.


What do you all think of e-readers? ‘Cause, when they first came out I cursed them as evil, and now look at me.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. October 22, 2010 12:34 pm

    I have one pressing question: which books did you want to marry?

    I’ve been coveting ebook readers for FOREVER, but the Kindle hasn’t quite sold itself to me, mainly because of the DRM issue.

    I want a BeBook Neo. I really really want one. It’s one of the few things I drool over. I’ve already decided that when I have a real job, insha-Allah, it’s the second thing I’m going to buy XD

    When I lived in Egypt, we weren’t allowed to take any books, but the determined bibliophies that my siblings and I are, we had to find other ways to read because otherwise we would have died, so – ebooks!

    I realise it isn’t so much that books are important to me as reading is. I love the books I own, but I don’t want to own everything I read. And I like having multiple formats of things (I am paranoid?), and I’d definitely like a digital backup of all my paper books.

    Mainly, the ebook reader appeals to me because it is very very carry-around-able. I read a lot on buses. Sometimes the book I want to read is just too big and clunky to easily read on a bus (any hardback book XD), and often, I’m already carrying other heavy books. An e-reader is perfect for then.

    • Allumer permalink
      October 22, 2010 1:30 pm

      I think the first book was Damien by Hermann Hesse. I outgrew it years ago, but it made a HUGE impression on me in my mid-teens. For some reason Villette, even though it’s so long and the ending isn’t at all the happy one you expect after reading Jane Eyre, it always has a deep sort of effect on me. But my most enduring, keeping multiple copies of, makes me happy book is Persuasion.

      So I looked at the BeBook Neo (which I’d never heard of) and HOLY MOLY! All I can say is the Kindle is only 14o, which would be about 60 for you. I’d have to save forever for that e-reader. I’m also conflicted about having to use a stylus. It’s just begging to get lost.

      And it’s funny, I realized the same thing, I don’t so much love the physical books as much as the ability to actual read them. Even though I am a paper fiend.

      My spelling is all over the place. I mostly read British books though, so after awhile it’s hard to remember what’s right or not. Ya’ll be messing up my quotation marks too, yo! I get a delight out of spelling things the Right Way. Ha!

  2. October 22, 2010 12:37 pm

    Also, I am intrigued that you spell ‘favourite’ the English way. Why is this?

  3. October 22, 2010 3:32 pm

    Hm, if you’re buying it new, a Kindle is 109 at the cheapest. Bebook Neo is about twice that XD But it is way way more versatile than the Kindle, and you don’t have the annoying DRM issue.

    I feel really bad to say I found Persuasion kind of boring. And Northanger Abbey. I love Jane Austen, and I’ve read P&P countless times (although it isn’t my favourite XD), but for some reason never got around to Persuasion until a few months ago. I found it hard going, and even Captain Wentworth didn’t save it for me! I’m much more of a Mr Knightley/Edward Ferrars fangirl (actually, I’m a Jane Bennet/Elinor Dashwood fangirl, but I realise it is more fashionable to pick a favourite gentleman XD).

    Ohhh books I wanted to marry – probably Ella Enchanted and the Seer and the Sword. I love those books to pieces.

    • Allumer permalink
      October 22, 2010 4:32 pm

      Emma and Northanger Abbey don’t do it for me. I’ll be honest and say Persuasion appealed to me more and more as I grew older. Anne is almost 30, everyone else in Austen is barely 20.

      Also, I am ashamed to say that I have no idea what DRM is. Does this make me stupid? (er, only answer that if it’s funny)

  4. October 22, 2010 6:03 pm

    DRM: Digital Rights Management – it’s proprietary formats so you can’t use those files on any other device, etc. This is a good rundown of why people hate it:

    I understand what you mean about the age thing. When I first read P&P, of course I was dazzled and taken by Elizabeth, as everybody is. I remember one of the compliments that most pleased me was when people used to say I was rather like Elizabeth Bennet (yes, that’s embarrassing to admit XD). As I grew older, I had more and more problems with Lizzie’s behaviour and attitudes, and it finally struck me that the real star of P&P is Jane Bennet (thus Jane fangirl) – she was always so circumspect and unhasty. Similarly Elinor Dashwood. I don’t remember how old Elinor is meant to be (probably still quite young) but I admired the steel and stoicism in her character, as I did the kindness and circumspection of Jane’s.

    I’m probably being unnecessarily cruel about Persuasion, but I found Anne a little too passive and the Captain a little too judgemental. I shouldn’t, perhaps, expect characters to be perfect. I did read the Blue Castle recently, and I totally totally get why Maryam loves it. The Blue Castle and Persuasion seem a tiny bit similar to me because of the age and situation of the main characters, and I prefer Valancy and Barney to Anne and the Captain.

    But there is something very splendid and swishy about saying ‘the Captain’. I totally want to have a husband I can call ‘Captain’. That would be the Best. Thing. Ever.

    • Allumer permalink
      October 22, 2010 6:33 pm

      Oh, I DID know what DRM was – yeah, my biggest problem with ebooks is that as an owner of that book you don’t have the same rights as you would with a paper book. But still, I am already in love with it.

      Blue Castle is Montgomery’s best work, I think. And about Anne and the Captain? With age comes comes the sad but inevitable realization that we are all so much more flawed than we think. I forgive Anne her wishy washiness because I believe she desired to do what was “right” for someone of her time. I totally forgive the Captain because, damnit, he loved that woman for 8 years. Just remember, we get more angry with those we love who have disappointed us than otherwise.

  5. October 22, 2010 7:42 pm

    I may have a whole post somewhere entitled ‘Forgiving Edward Ferrars’, which I may or may not one day post.

    Because yes, with age (i.e. experience) comes a little perspective. (Sorry Edward.)

    I am not allowed to write a longer comment because my lit review is demanding my attention. XD

  6. October 26, 2010 1:08 am

    did you actually say blue castle is montgomery’s best work?! this fascinates me. totally. my face was about 2 inches away from the screen while reading these comments.

    and thanks very much woman. your argument about decluttering and wanting books is so friggin logical that now i want a kindle. and they’re EVIL. (not really, but i can’t back down after deciding this to be true.) sigh.

    and you do not look like ren! good god almighty. AND if you are such a verbal spaz, why is it anytime i have ever had a conversation with you and i can’t pull myself away? hmm?

    • Allumer permalink
      October 28, 2010 12:50 am

      Oh, Maryam, you gotta Kindlelize, woman!

      I love Blue Castle. Barney is the man. You know what Montgomery’s worst work is? Kilmeny of the Orchard. Gag. Don’t know what went wrong there.

      I thought you couldn’t pull yourself away from me because my verbal spazness was too funny to watch? Oh and come on- you know I look like Barney Fife and Ren. I’m all limbs, man. My sister used to burst out laughing at just the sight of me in a tank top. Can’t stop the string bean.

      And yes. I am very logical.

  7. October 30, 2010 3:50 pm

    i never read kilmeny, but i hated the story girl. just couldn’t like it AT ALL. i know someone who adores it most and i just don’t get it. i guess i just couldn’t get past some of the things and it was just way too Magically Romantic and i’m much more into valancy asking a mysterious mechanic to marry her because she thinks she’s too ugly and going to drop dead any minute. that i can get behind lol.

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