The Cool House: I Kindle

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I Kindle


I'm a restless sort of person so the only drawback to traveling is the amount of time I have to spend sitting in one place. If I'm forced to be on a plane for 6-8 hours I better have plenty to do to make them fly by. For long-haul trips I take at least one book, usually a novel or memoir I can read in one sitting, a couple of magazines, iPhone (for music) and The Guy lends me his iPod nano because he's been with me when the battery dies and no one wants to sit next to me when that happens. (Fidgeting and sighing are the more endearing effects; I also require someone TALK TO ME).
I packed for the Europe trip with three books, the New Yorker, Travel and Leisure and picked up Elle Decoration in the UK, but planes and trains and waiting time meant I was down to one book and one magazine for the return jouney. When we were forced to fly back early from Europe we grabbed the last couple of seats on a packed Delta flight to JFK. No elbow room and no sockets to charge the iphone or ipod, which became a problem about half-way through the trip when both ran out of juice. I read Travel and Leisure from cover to cover and started a novel that was so repititious and boring I turned to the on-demand entertainment system to provide some distraction. Unfortunately, when you're all out of options you shouldn't expect the universe to throw you a bone and my individual moniter was delivering a menu and nothing else. No matter how much I (or The Guy) pushed the screen it refused to move on. The flight attendant did try to reboot it but no luck. I was left with the prospect of a really dreadful novel and four hours of flight time.


Which is, I think, when The Guy decided that the perfect gift for our anniversary would be a Kindle. Never again would I run out of reading material and we would no longer have to lug 15 lbs of paper across the country - or the world - just so I didn't get bored. Not only is it possible to store hundreds of books on the e-reader but I can have a bunch of free samples sent to me at one time so I can try before I buy and I can store books (and magazines) to buy later.
So far it's been a little challenging; better in theory than in practice. Kindle works wirelessly by whispernet, which means you need cell service - five full bars in fact - to connect with Amazon and download the books and for that I have to drive out of the Incorporated Village to the Town harbor with the Kindle and join a line of other cellphone users desperate to make calls, text message or download data before entering the dead zone that is Huntington Bay.
Once I have the material on the Kindle, however, I can read it without being connected; when I get back home I turn off the wireless. If I don't, I discovered, I can run down a newly charged battery overnight by leaving it in the den where it will attempt to connect to a weak wireless signal every few seconds. Turn off the wireless and it runs a few days without a charge. Charging the device isn't quick either, it takes about four hours, although you can still read while it's plugged in. The only other issue I had with it was that it looks so much like an Apple product I expected to work in the same way, and it doesn't quite do that. The Kindle 2 has a five-way control button that took a little while to get used to and I expected that it would plug into the iMac and sync with Amazon the way the iPhone/iPod does with iTunes. It doesn't. If it did, of course, it would save me from that trip into town...

8 comments:

heidi said...

wow. The Guy must REALLY love you. NO one gets my nano.

Mrs. Limestone said...

Ive had a totally different experience with my Kindle. It downloads huge novels in less than 30 seconds and the battery lasts for a full 2 weeks at least (I always turn my wireless off unless Im downloading) with reading approximately 2 hours a day.

But maybe b/c I have the first generation and yours is the second?

The only frustrating thing about the Kindle is that the cover it came with doesn't quite stay the way I want it to.

Nadine @ BDG said...

I am all for advancements, but I do miss sneaking a glance at what someone is reading. On the other hnad, it would be nice to carry my library with me wherever I go.

modernemama said...

Heidi: Either The Guy loves me or he loves silence - you choose!

Mrs Limestone: It's not poor Kindle's fault - outside the Village it downloads in nano seconds, inside it (just like the iphone and cellphones) it searches for a better signal and that really drains battery life. Shoulda moved to Brooklyn...

Nadine: You can read over my shoulder with Kindle - I wish it came with color capability, though

Green Fairy said...

I've been toying with the idea of getting one--I was intrigued last week when I heard Kindle versions of Dan Brown's latest outsold hardcover copies. How is it on the eyes compared to reading off paper?

modernemama said...

I actually prefer it. Most of the books I read are hardcover, heavy and bulky to manage especially when reading in bed - Kindle makes it simple

Aimee "Roo" said...

Awww... The Guy is a sweetheart! Thoughtful!! :)

I too have wondered about the difference from the paper to the screen as far as eye strain. Glad to know that it's nice to read from.

modernemama said...

And you can change font size or switch to text-to-speech!