(If you are one of the nine people who read this yesterday before I realized that it wasn't supposed to be posted until today, I'm sorry. If you click here, you can ready my rant on Senator Jeff Flake, which ran after this post yesterday.Sorry....)
I won my Kindle Fire. I'd never considered buying one. I'd railed about it here and in private. I like books, real, hold in my hand, turn the pages myself, paper books. I used the infernal machine for game playing and minor-web-searches on the couch, but never for reading. Reading demanded covers, a binding, print on a page. Reading was not pixels.
After I conquered my addiction to the gaming feature, I deleted them from the device's memory and began using it to read Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak series while my boys watched football over Big Cuter's winter vacation. There was no need to run to the library or the bookstore; with a little bit of pressure and heat from my finger, the next installment in the series was available in my hands. I was hooked.
Hearing of my delight at having new material available in an instant, one friend told me about BookBub and another about BookGorilla. Two surveys later, I was on their mailing lists. Now, every morning brings me offers of literary treasures for $3.99 and $2.99 and $0.99. I manage to resist every one of them. But, hidden within those same emails are my treasures; some of the titles are available for free. Actually, they are available for FREE! and that's an offer I can't seem to refuse.
Regular readers may have noticed that the sidebar hasn't been updated in quite a while. That's because the books I've devoured recently are electronic 0's and 1's. They live in my Kindle, not on my desktop. There are no bindings with titles reminding me of their presence and urging me to enter them and then put them on a shelf or return them to the library or resell them at Bookmans. No, there is only the carousel of my Kindle, filled with titles I've long forgotten, with stories that have blended together into a delightful soup of unlikely detectives and villains and scientists and secret agents and Army Rangers roiling around in my head.
I have been able to put some limits on myself. I resist the romances and the pseudo-scientific exposes. I won't opt for the second or fourth in a series; as my experience with Kate Shugak proves, if I like the first volume I'll happily purchase the other nineteen in the series. I'm not sure about the logic of offering a middle-of-the-series title for free. I've been thinking about it a lot, and it makes no sense to me. There are so many other books to click.
Amazon sends me a lovely Thank You! email after I've moved the code to my own little piece of the cloud; I've learned to download only the one I am currently reading. That's the best way to remember which one it is, I'm sorry to say. This afternoon I was certain that the main character was a Marine, not a Ranger. It took me a while to figure out that the Marine was in yesterday's opus; the current hero was a Ranger.
This is what happens when you read a lot of not-that-great books.
I'm not talking about the ones I've stopped after fifteen pages. I rarely put down an actual book, but with screen time involved, it's more like changing the channel than abandoning a literary tome. This actually may be true. A quick google search of tome finds that this word for a large volume is derived from Latin tomus, from Greek tomos section, roll of papyrus. Nothing about the content in that context; it's all about the physical form. I'm not sure what Plato would make of this, but I imagine an afternoon of infuriating questions leaving me, at the end, more confused than ever. I'll spare you the discourse; just agree with me, okay?
Unreadable prose, bad grammar, nasty characters - one click and they are gone. But, with all the titles available at my fingertips, I'm finding that I'm spending time with stories I'm barely following. I'm editing as I go along, instead of sitting back and enjoying the ride. I smile at how easily I can be amused. There was something more serious about holding a real book than there is about taking in words from a screen. I'm more willing to put up with dreck, it seems, when it's electronic.
Why? I have no idea. I just know that it is true.