To know me is to know my disdain for Apples and Kindles and all that nonsense.
Apples are just hipster connectivity crap. And Kindles I’ve spent many a Dog Ear piece on, talking about how they are rotting the core out of reading, destroying the concepts of libraries and used book stores. Yes, they have giving greater access to the everyday writer, and now we have millions of crappy books floating around in cyberspace.
So we got home from dealing with my father’s passing, helping mom with the obit, with cleaning things up, with getting everything rerigged. And that’s when Dad’s final gotcha was played. That’s when mom came over and handed me his iPad. “Your father would want you to have this.”
Oh, I know he did. Mom and dad have been cheerleading eBooks, yakking up how easy it is, how many titles they can carry with them, how neat the Apple is. To me, this is like telling a dope addict how groovy cocaine is. I don’t want it. I don’t want to try it. I don’t dare.
But now I owned an iPad.
I poked at it a bit, not sure what I’d even do with it. All his stuff was still on it, all his book accounts and such, so the first thing was to have my brother show me how to factory reset it. That done, my sister sat down and started babbling about ALL the things it could do. She showed me the browser, how cool, right?
I sat there nonplussed.
Then she pulled down the Kindle app.
I went from nonplussed to nonminused.
There was Project Gutenberg, the site where you can pull down out-of-print, out-of-copyright books, a nifty place for a reader such as myself. Out on a Comet I’d pulled from there. I’d also pulled down The Point of Honor and The Wreck of the Titan. And every time I pulled down a book, I needed to sneak into work early and print out 200 pages of loose paper, anchored together with frighteningly big clips, a tricky thing to read on a lunch patio in a crosswind.
I was telling my sister about that site and went to it to show her. Randomly picked a book and checked to see if I could pull it down. Hey, there it was. It was some sort of 1911 book about a Cornish boy who fights smugglers. Interesting. Found myself starting to read it. A pang of sorrow – Dad would have liked this.
So now I am reading the entire book and really enjoying it. Yes, the Kindle on the iPad does make things a bit easier. I’m getting ready to read another Throne book shortly and that will be like carrying around a cinder block. But that’s okay. Don’t look for me to put my entire library into the matrix anytime soon. Yes, I’ll keep going with the occasional Gutenberg title on the screen. But I’m a true reader. You’ll get my paper book when you pry it out of my cold dead fingers.
But it is kinda cool to read like that.
Until the power runs out.
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Postscript – another fault – you can’t tell how many “pages” (since that concept doesn’t exist) you have left. When I read a book, I know how many pages I’ve got to go – they are right there in my right hand. But tonight at readers’ dinner with the missus, I suddenly ran out of book. Thank goodness we were about done. But still, it is kinda cool…