Big Books

Big books rule! Well they did pre-Christmas. Or maybe it’s a northern thing. Out of all the big book readers I spotted on my trip south, this guy was hardcore, not only was he holding the largest book – it was hardback.

I didn’t spot anyone reading on the way back. The trains were so packed I doubt anyone managed to read anything bigger than the label on the guy in front’s jacket. Or maybe, like me, they’d had a Kindle for Christmas (wedged into a corner of the bag I had to sit on most of the way home).

The Kindle … ah. Where to start? Well a big thank you to my offspring (and girlfriends). I have to say that before I had one I’d never thought about getting one. I DO like shiny things, especially my Macbook and I wouldn’t say no to an iPhone, but a Kindle? Reading is a physical as well as a mental pleasure … I love the physicality of books, their weight, the feel of paper between my fingers, the aesthetics of the cover, the font… so what am I going to do with a Kindle?

For starters I downloaded loads of free ebook classics! Treasure Island, Zola’s The Flood, Fielding’s Tom Jones (a haunting from A level English Lit), Conrad’s Nostromo (O level), Villette (A level), Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven, Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Jane Eyre, Oliver Twist, Grimm’s Fairy Stories and The Iliad. Not sure if I will ever read or re-read any of them but they’re there if I want to.

Then to play with the voucher (yes I had one of these for Christmas too!). Couldn’t decide whether to go with physical or virtual books so split the voucher (with a bit left over) between the two. I ended up downloading two virtual books: Lorrie Moore’s novel A Gate at the Stairs and the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology 3 (which I’d been wanting to read for 18 months). Finally I bought a hard copy of Tom Vowler’s The Method and other stories to add to my (physical) collection of short fiction.

I’ve discovered it’s much easier to read a Kindle than a real book in bed, which is where I do most of my reading. As my eyes are pretty rubbish, being able to alter the size of the type is such a simple yet brilliant thing to be able to do. Haven’t tried the text to speech thing yet … So, am I impressed? Yup. Pretty much.

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