I keep hearing that one of the top gifts for the holidays this year will be an e-reader. Below, is an essay I wrote about receiving the Kindle two years ago for Christmas. It originally appeared in the literary magazine SLAB (Sound and Literary Art Book) last spring. Since I wrote the essay, my husband, my teenage son and my tweener daughter all tried reading from the Kindle and they all returned it to my drawer. It just isn’t for us.
That being said, I have had enough experiences in the last year (i.e. accompanying my daughter to an American Idol concert) where I thought ‘if I had an iPhone, I would be reading a book on it right now.’ The moment Verizon and Apple reach a deal (please, please soon), I’ll be buying an iPhone and guess what my first app will be?
My thoughts on the Kindle
Years ago, for Christmas, my husband gave me a stack of books he chose with a book store clerk after describing me to her. I haven’t read them all, but every time I see one on the bookshelf, I feel loved. For my birthday, a girlfriend gave me a book I wanted but hadn’t told her about, and I felt known. (FYI, this is Claire.) For my 40th birthday I asked all of my friends to give me a book that was meaningful to them, as a way to learn about them. Last Christmas, as my kids ran out to see what Santa delivered, my daughter called over her shoulder, “you have a stack of books Mommy!” But Santa had brought those books for my mother, and when I realized that, I was disappointed. Instead of books my husband bought me the Kindle, reasoning there was no reason to buy me any real books when I could download them.
At that moment, I didn’t feel known.
A month before Christmas, our copy of Newsweekarrived with Jeff Bezos on the cover announcing the Kindle, a small computer book reader. As I looked at that cover I felt uneasy, and that night my husband read the article and handed it to me as he rolled over to sleep. “You have to read this,” he said, “you’ll love it.” I looked at the magazine curled up in the valley of the comforter between our two bodies and felt a rush of anxiety. I Read the rest of this entry »