My Second Kindle Purchase

After purchasing Fractured Anecdotes, and laughing my way through it, I promised myself I’d catch up on various dead trees and ink books lying around the house before otherwise launching into Kindle. I’ve now reduced the pile to eight, or ten, or twelve. But I decided that there was something I needed to have on board. Something that I will read now and probably return to later, which is pretty much my standard for buying. Anything else I can get from the Russell Library or from one of Wesleyan’s several venues.

So over the weekend I downloaded (is that the right word when it takes maybe a second or two — should it be I kindled?)  Harlem Is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America by Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, who goes in search of the black capital of the USA. She looks far and wide – and also near and dear. The first review I read mentioned the “Messenger,” who marks up the sidewalks with chalk. Here was Cesar the Writing Man from Ann Petry’s The Narrows come to life in twenty-first century Harlem. He had moved from a small Connecticut port town. And when a voice behind her asked her if she planned to go home, I thought about the Super from The Street. Harlem Is Nowhere is obviously neither of those works of fiction, but I’m sure other parallels will surface.

I find reading the Kindle at night after staring at a computer screen all day a bit difficult so it may take some time to finish. Stay tuned …

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2 Responses to “My Second Kindle Purchase”

  1. Nick Sambides Jr. Says:

    I, too, have bought a Kindle for $130 or so (ie., the cheapest one) and I am rather ambivalent about it. (Liz will tell you how infrequently I am struck down by ambivalence.) Ever a fan of instant gratification, I love how one can instantly get a book and start reading. This is a huge attribute when you live in northern Maine, the nearest Borders is an hour away and book orders must be placed on Amazon by Monday to guarantee delivery by the weekend. I like the Kindle’s ease of use, relative ease of reading (though a better light would be welcome) and am just barely OK with the library of choices.

    The negs include, well, they’re harder to classify. Less tangible. To start: Anyone who loves the heft of a book and an awareness of pages read and pages yet to go will find the Kindle lacking. Kindle’s also lack the personality of individual books: The art of the dust jacket or paperback; the choice of fonts; the feel of a book. To any reader these things are the garnish around the lobster — less important than the words, perhaps, but a source of gratification nevertheless. I recently read, for example, Carlo D’este’s wonderful “Warlord,” an examination of Churchill’s life as seen through the prism of experiences in combat from the Boer War and early service in India to his post WWII years. It was a wonderful book, insightful and well-paced with revealing anecdotes, but reading it without numbered pages was a little like starting a road race with no clear idea of the location of the finish line. You’re not about to stop, but you can’t really attack the course aggressively, either. Plus it would have been an appropriate mood setter to see a picture of Churchill scowling at me every time I reclined on the couch and reached for the coffee table shelf where the books are. You really can tell a book by its cover: Its exterior design hints at its seriousness or whimsy; its thickness a portend of the length of the journey to be embarked; its typefaces a glimmer of its sophistication or inanity. One also notices far more typographical errors in Kindle texts, I think.

    I have actually put down the Kindle and resumed reading my previously-purchased texts. This doesn’t mean I am abandoning the future. It just shows how difficult it can be to let go of the past.

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