People are often shocked to learn that I own a Kindle. My personal library back home was legendary – floor to ceiling bookshelves – so I am obviously a fan of the ink and paper book. But I have also embraced technology in many forms – I read newspapers on my iPad, blogs on a laptop, and have been known to knock off a novel or 20 on my Kindle.
Technology is wonderful – when it works. My recent trip home to the States drove this point home. Pre-trip I loaded my Kindle with some books I had been meaning to read. Vacation time equals reading time for me! I also tossed a few paperbacks in my suitcase. Which proved to be a good idea because …
My family’s home is New Jersey. And less than 48 hours after I landed in the Garden State, Hurricane Sandy met up with a nor’easter and flirted with a tropical storm all under the light of a full moon. Power went out, lines went down, transformers blew and substations flooded.
As of this writing much of the area is still without power. That first night I read on my Kindle-with the handy-dandy attached light. But as the hours stretched into days the battery level dwindled until … a blank screen. Thank goodness for those back up books in my suitcase!
E-readers are wonderful in certain situations and for certain types of books. Travelling? Grab your Kindle. Can’t wait to get your hands on the new JK Rowling and must have it the second it’s released? Then by all means download at the stroke of midnight and enjoy. Are you the type of reader who reads from page one straight through to the end? Then Kindle away!
But there are times when e-readers aren’t the best answer. One problem with e-readers is deciding what to buy. Like any online purchase you have to know exactly what you want. It’s like buying shoes – if you know you want a Bass loafer in black you can order online. But where’s the fun in that? When you go into a shoe store you can still get your black loafers, but maybe a red ballet flat catches your eye. So you may know that you want the new Clive Cussler mystery but while you’re in the bookshop you spot something else too – maybe a local author, or a yummy looking cookbook. Things you never would have known about if you just went online and clicked “add to cart.”
I am frequently asked what I think of e-books, and there is no easy answer. I am the kind of reader who often needs to go back a chapter or two, who has been known to peek at the end, or even skip forward a bit if a book is dragging. That’s difficult to do on an e-reader. For me reading is about the whole experience – I like the heft of a book, the fonts, the feel of the paper. And I am a sucker for a beautiful book cover! However I am also a practical person. And my old shoulders can no longer handle half a dozen books in my carry-on bag. So my answer is – as long as I’m reading, I’m happy!
Megan McCluskey moved to Cayman in January 2012 from New Jersey. A life-long reader and admitted book geek she is also a proud mom, pop culture junkie and die-hard fan of the New Jersey Devils. Megan can be found in-person at Books & Books in Camana Bay, online at [email protected] and every Sunday in a hammock with a good book or three.