Wednesday, 29 May 2013

A Break from E-Books

I've put my kindle in the cupboard!

It's strange - after more than two years of trying out E-books and reading them alongside real and actual books, I find I've got no desire to use my kindle - or, indeed, my ipad mini - which i once thought was the greatest thing ever.

For a while I've loved all these things as much as actual paper books. Or rather, I've just been thinking they're all the same thing. Just different ways of accessing text. Sometimes, ebooks have allowed me to access books i'd never be able to get on paper - exclusives, reprints, gutenburg rareties, and so on. And I've loved the fact that the pages light up and shine on you in the dark. I love increasing the size of the font to the point where I'm no longer squinting...

So there's been much to love about my e-books. I've been a bit miffed with having to recharge things and how quickly the silly ipad runs down its battery. And I'm so fed up with all the rubbishy books i've bought or whizzed onto my machine for nothing and all the samples and excerpts too. It seems impossible to get rid of that stuff, once it's on your cloud, or whatever they call it...

One thing that book lovers love doing is going through their shelves and sorting things out. I love to cull the bookstacks and make up bags that need to go to charity. I like to pile up books i want to lend to particular friends. i like making up a heap of things that need rereading - this summer, next year, or some indefinite time in the future. I love to keep a bookcase beside my bed that contains all of my favourite-ever books.

This kind of stuff - this disorganised, ramshackle, almost pointless sorting - seems impossible or redundant in the e-book world. Everything in the e-book world seems somehow hideously indiscriminate and spookily tidy - at the *very same time*...

I just like heaps of books about the place. And that was always true, even when i was using my kindle a lot.

I'm sure i'll go back to those amazing machines at some point. I'm bound to. It's just, at the moment, I'm enjoying paperbacks and hardbacks again.

At the weekend I was in the garden with 'Dear Lupin' by Roger and Charlie Mortimer. It's a thirty-odd year collection of letters from an exasperated father to a feckless, carefree son. That was a very happy Saturday afternoon - eavesdropping on that correspondence. Highly recommended. As is the new David Sedaris collection of essays, 'Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls.' I think he's lost a lot of the ferocious energy and urgency of those early essays about his childhood and young adulthood - but the writing is genial and funny, as ever. There's not the sense that these pieces absolutely *needed* to be written - as there is in 'The Santaland Diaries', for example - but the current volume is a good Sunday afternoon companion, I'd say.


  1. That's funny - I've been reading on my Kindle less and less in the last few months. And thinking about an ipad mini... Shall I not bother?

  2. I don't know, Lesley - I found the battery life rubbish and the whole thing a bit heavy and clumsy to read with... I'm in two minds about it all. I wish I'd bought something cheaper, really.