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Dizzying Intellect » Kindling

Kindling

So, I bought a Kindle 2. Not so much because I thought I’d use it, but because I just like gadgets. I’m pretty hit-and-miss on whether they actually get used (Palm, iPod) or not (video games), but I hadn’t bought myself anything fun since my Wii in 2007, and I decided it was time.

It arrived last Wednesday (hooray for Super Saver shipping when it’s also super fast) and I have to admit, I really like it. I’m not really “used to it” yet — I’m not quite sure where to put my hands — but I’ve used it every day.

I was concerned because I have really bad insomnia, and it’s almost impossible for me to fall asleep unless I read myself to sleep. And I almost never buy hardcover books, because they’re so hard to read while lying down, see? So it was either going to be a double-win or a double-loss, because either the Kindle would be workable while lying down, and I’d also get to start reading hardcovers again, or it wouldn’t and I wouldn’t.

So I downloaded A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs and gave it a shot. At first I was thrown out of the story every time I had to “turn” the page, but that goes away surprisingly fast. Which is a good thing, because even with the smaller fonts, a page doesn’t hold many words. It’s also a little more awkward than just having a book fall out of your hands when you nod off, because it’s more vertical and so it falls a lot more aggressively, but that didn’t really bother me beyond the first startling time, either.

With that dealbreaker out of the way, I started getting attached to it. It’s really light and shockingly thin. When I see it on the dresser, I’m always surprised by how flat it is. And the graphics are really unusual. I hadn’t seen one, obviously, but I’d heard that the e-Ink is just like a book. How much can that be true, though, since it’s electronic? But it really is. The font doesn’t get pixelly, even at the largest setting, and because there’s no backlighting, it’s very easy on the eyes. The images are what really surprised me, though. When it goes to sleep, it pops up random black and white paintings of classical authors (Poe, Austen, etc) and they’re remarkably clear and attractive. I really just like it.

You can get books from Amazon, of course, which is the idea — but there are also several websites that offer public domain novels, and you can easily download those too. And I’ve heard that there are torrents of books that haven’t been released, but I haven’t checked that out yet. (Not sure if it’s worth potentially damaging my new toy for an illegal book, but maybe I’d consider it for Harry Potter…)

I want to read Fool, but I need to re-read King Lear first (not one of my favorites) so I’m not totally lost — I know I could just watch Ran again, but it’s not really an exact match. So I’ll get King Lear from manybooks.net and Fool from amazon. Also, I ordered one of these covers because I’m a klutz, and I’ll update when it arrives.

So anyway, I recommend Kindle 2. There you go.

5 Comments

  • By Robb Allen, March 2, 2009 @ 11:46 am

    If it weren’t for the price tag, I’d get one myself. But $350 is too much for me right now. That could buy a nice pocket pistol.

    It does look nice, and I have seen other eInk devices so I totally agree with you on how nice the display looks (and I take your word that you get used to the page ‘flip’. It annoyed the hell out of me), and the thought of being able to tote around libraries is just cool.

    I’ll wait until they give them out at some conference or something, though.

  • By treppenwitz, March 2, 2009 @ 2:12 pm

    If they ever extend the coverage to Israel I am so getting myself one.

    [moved from another post by owner. hee.]

  • By Albert, March 2, 2009 @ 2:12 pm

    My wife is an avid reader and can’t wait to get one. I’ve heard only good things so far. It sounds like a pretty personal gadget, like a cell phone, as opposed to something that a couple might share like a TV or a real book. So I guess that means that if she likes hers, I’ll have to get a second one…

  • By treppenwitz, March 2, 2009 @ 2:13 pm

    One of these days I’m gonna figure out that the comments are at the top of your posts…

  • By Tanya, March 2, 2009 @ 2:50 pm

    I’ve heard they work overseas (except the whispernet part), you just can’t buy them overseas. You’d just download books to your computer and move them manually.

    Which, I mean, eliminates the fun (and speed) of imagining your book flying thru the air, but it’s still pretty cool.

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