I was just on vacation (during my vacation, very post-modern) when I read City and the City by China Mieville. It was my first time reading anything by this author and I will say I was very happy with this book. It is a combination of noir, political allegory, and science fiction.
The basic premise is that there are two cities that touch but if you live in one, you can’t acknowledge the other (by law) and a person is from one city and murdered and their body is dumped in the other. It is an interesting allegory of the Muslim and the western world. I won’t spoil the book itself but I will say that it is worth picking up.
My lovely wife (for full disclosure she is an editor on this site) gave me a Kindle for my birthday last August. I thought long and hard about getting one and finally I decided to get one for a few reasons.
1. It is difficult to read a large hardcover book while rocking an infant to sleep in a chair. The kindle is usable with only one hand and very light.
2. It is difficult to read a large hardcover book (or even a moderate soft cover book) at the gym as the little shelves on the cardio machines are designed for magazines not books.
3. As someone who is in more than one book at a time it would be nice to be able to access multiple books with ease.
After the soft-sell my wife got me the 3G version of the Kindle. I must say that all three reasons have been fulfilled and I am enjoying the experience.
1. Access to books immediately while in my underwear at 11:00pm. If I hear of something cool, I can look it up and buy it right then.
2. It is kind of sexy in a nerdy kind of way.
3. People’s reaction. I am not sure if this is a benefit or not but I am surprised how many people (most of whom I know) will walk up to me and tell me that they disapprove of “those things” because they love books too much. That they will never get one and that I am a bad person for owning one.
I too love books, but I love reading more. E-Readers aren’t going to replace books any time soon. They will however change the way I read some things. They are great for cheesy fiction (my first purchase was James O’Neal’s The Double Human which was by far the best possible first book I could have purchased because unbeknownst to me I was a minor character in it). It is also great for giant tomes. I am currently reading What Hath God Wrought by Daniel Walker Howe, an 800 page history of America from 1815-1848.
My wife also discovered that it is great if you are doing research because you can search a book (or your entire library) for a word or phrase. It makes it easy to find something when you are writing your grad paper (as she was doing at the time).
Is it the end all be all of reading? No. Is it going to replace books. No. Does it have the wonderful smell of an old book found in a used book store? No. Will I keep it and continue to use it? You bet.
I love reading, not just books.