Monday, 1 October 2012

Kindle - one of the greatest inventions of the modern time

Mine is up there with hot and cold running water, heating, the cooker and the telephone.

In fact, I would say that on occasions I have found myself in the position of having to make do without all of the above.

However, I can truly say I would be lost without my Kindle.

When they first came out I didn’t really see the point, electronic books? Not my cup of tea, but that was before I converted.

I am an avid reader, and devour literature with passion. It is my outlet, my inlet, my way of taking myself out of the real world, as far away as my  boundless imagination will let me go.

When I am sad I read, stressed, happy, bored, tired, not tired, ill, well, tense, calm, there is no situation that can’t be enriched by opening the pages of a book.

I love letting the author fill my mind with stories, ideas, characters, and different worlds – Stephen King said it is a type of telepathy, one person transferring their thoughts and ideas to the minds of others, miles and even centuries apart.

I can actually smell snow when reading a well-written book set in the Arctic, I cry alongside wronged victims, my heart throbs with satisfaction when villains  get their comeuppance, and thwarted lovers finally find peace.

I have read from a young age. As far back as I can remember I have been obsessed with books, the feel and smell of them, their contents, like a magical key to places I can only imagine.

As a very young child, when my friends were asking Father Christmas for Action Men and train sets, all I wanted was books.

My grandmother gave me one of my first, and I still treasure it - The Concise British Flora, by W.Keble Martin.

And if you have never tucked up for five minutes with Bears in the Night (Stan and Jan Berenstain), then do - even if you are pushing 40. Even the picture on the front cover stirs a pang of excitement within.

There was a spell, when I was around eight or nine, when my teachers, in their relentless pursuit to quash imagination and free-will, tried to put me off my beloved hobby.

“Read this,” “Don’t read that,” “That is not suitable,” “Read 20 pages by tomorrow for a test.”

Then there were the English Literature classes, where I would be stood over, forced to read and then told how to interpret the writer’s prose.

“Write a book review,” “No, it doesn’t mean that,” “read it again, aloud,” “Read ten chapters.”- idiots, and what's worse, my parents actually paid these cretins.

These morons managed to discourage me from reading, turning it into a chore, something to get stressed and worried about rather than something to enjoy and love.

But eventually I was able to bid farewell to those interfering  trouble-makers, and I headed straight back to the bookstore to re-kindle my not-so-guilty pleasure.

Which brings me nicely onto the subject of this blog – the Kindle.

I will never lose my love of books, but two years ago I gave in to technology and asked for one for Christmas.

If you don’t know, a Kindle is an electronic book, a small hand-held device that weighs less than a paperback but can store up to 3,500 novels, reference books, tomes and compendiums.

I was hooked within seconds. As soon as I had charged it up I  was trawling through the vast library of titles I could download in seconds and carry with me all the time.

My Kindle comes with me everywhere, on the train, on holiday, to bed, to the doctors, I am never without it.

My morning ritual as I close the door behind me is: keys – check, wallet – check, Kindle – check.

I love going on holiday, knowing that in my pocket are hundreds of my favourite books, and stacks of new ones I can just browse through at my leisure.

I love to sit in cafes, sometimes for the entire day, reading my Kindle – I have to say, that I still take a couple of traditional books if only for the feel and the smell.

When I sit on the train to work, not only have I seen more people than ever reading, but they are more often than not holding one of these magical devices – myself included.

I have found myself reading more than ever, and I have a store of my favourite novels, and other books that I can turn to at any time at the flick of a switch.

I know the Kindle, and other e-readers, have come in for some criticism.

People say they are not real books, they are killing the books stores, and it is just to much technology.

And although I see their point, there is no stopping progress, and as far as I am concerned if the evolutionary pathway takes us in this direction, I am not complaining.

I will always love books, and I still go to Waterstones and browse for a morning, before walking out with a bag full.

But I would not be without my kindle, and I can only welcome them as a fantastic and revolutionary development in the world of literature.

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