I see it’s been a year since my last post — but not because I’ve quit reading, or thinking about what I read. I simply got busy and lost the habit of writing, and have been reading too many things to keep up with, thanks largely to my Kindle eReader, which makes it perhaps too easy to be reading several different books at once. For instance, right now the “Current Reading” category on my Kindle (which I have come to prefer for reading, over physical books) contains 34 titles — not all of which I’m actually reading at the moment — spanning a range of categories from spiritual reading (St Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises and St Therese of Lisieux’s The Story of a Soul), through some agrarian essays of Wendell Berry and historical novels of Louis de Wohl, to Stephen King’s Dark Tower novel series. It’s interesting that these 34 title represent almost exactly 5% of the 678 titles currently residing on my Kindle. If I’m stranded on a desert island with my Kindle in tow, I’ll be at no loss for reading material — at least until the battery runs down!
Since I first started getting interested in ereaders (just a few blog posts past, but now more than 18 months ago), devices for reading electronic books have gone quickly from being esoteric hi-tech to ubiquitous mainstream (or so it seems). Certainly, they are now available for half the price that a bottom-rung Kindle was fetching just one year since ($139 for what is now known as the “keyboard Kindle, which has been replaced as Amazon’s entry-level ebook device by the bargain basement Kindle Wi-Fi with “special offers” for just $79), and now that public libraries lend many popular titles in both Epub and Kindle formats, it is possible to read a lot of books without paying another dime after buying a reader device.
Of course, the ease of acquiring, and toting around, many books has its concomitant dangers. In my early months of Kindle ownership, I fell for awhile under the thrall of “Kindle freebies,” ebooks in Kindle-reader format available at no cost, through Amazon, in public-domain repositories such as the Gutenberg Project, or “e-publishing” sites, such as SmashWords.com. Who can resist free books? Well, I can, after months of snapping up every freebie that came my way and finding that many of these books (not all, by any means) were not worth the price. The wonderful world of e-publishing has made it possible for everyone & anyone to become a “published” author, without the pesky intervention of a discriminating literary agent or editor (or even a proofreader). So, for awhile I was like the proverbial kid turned loose in a candy store, and wound up with a bad case of literary bellyache. (Remind me, sometime, to address the ethics of reading bad books.)
Still, even after learning to restrain my impulse reading somewhat, I still found that, even after avoiding the more awful free offerings, I would be left with a disproportionate number of books that I would never have chosen if they were not being given away free. So, probably a high portion of the nearly 700 titles residing on my ereader device are books that I won’t be reading soon or, perhaps, ever; still, it’s very nice indeed to have my pick of free versions of books that I would otherwise could ill afford or might not even to find in print (the novels of Robert Hugh Benson, for instance.)
|I’ve already got several of these classics in free Kindle format.|
Anyway, the “new” has worn off my fascination with digital books and their devices, so in future posts I’ll go back to concentrating on the works being read, rather than the physical or digital forms in which I find them.