There are countless debates about the Kindle, the Nook, and eBooks in general, and what they mean for the future of reading, especially if you’re in the publishing world. I’m as tired as the next person about the theories and the total strangers telling me that “no one will be reading books in ten years.” I personally don’t think that printed books are going anywhere, and that’s not just because I am a “book person.” I think that people will always enjoy the tactile experience of reading a book, even as eBooks and readers become more and more prevalent. I appreciate that the format is changing though, and I think that there’s ample room in the field for both printed and digital books. As such, I decided I needed to give the Kindle a try.
Joe bought a Kindle last year and has read a couple of books on it. He recently read Great House by Nicole Krauss for a book club, and bought it for the Kindle rather than the hardcover book. When he finished, he gave it to me to read, since I wanted to read it more than he did, and have been saying for at least a year that I wanted to read a book on his Kindle. Before I get to what I thought about the book itself, here’s what I thought of my Kindle experience:
- Great for the subway–it’s so much easier to hold on while turning the page when all it takes is pressing a button
- Lightweight and compact–again, ideal for commuting and traveling
- Ability to purchase more books immediately and nearly anywhere–I finished the book while traveling to Florida, and had I not had a back up, I could have easily bought another book to load on the Kindle to keep me entertained on the plane ride back
- Adjustable font size–because I’m blind
- It’s tough to gauge your progress–despite the percentage read indicator at the bottom of the screen, I found I missed being able to tell how many pages I had left, especially in a chapter or section.
- I missed the physical experience of turning pages, though the button was very handy on the subway
- I liked the highlighting feature, but find it more satisfying to physically underline
- It’s tough to flip back, unless you make a “bookmark” which I didn’t really see the need for. I would have liked to glance at the TOC and I couldn’t do that easily on the Kindle
- You can’t display a Kindle on your bookshelf or on the train in the same way you can with a physical book
So, my verdict, not surprisingly, is that reading on the Kindle is very practical and actually enjoyable, in certain situations. However, it’s not ideal, and it’s not a book, and I’m certainly not giving up my printed books anytime soon. However, I will be buying Freedom to read on it, since I can’t afford the hardcover price, and I’m dying to know what all the fuss is about.
As for Great House itself–I liked it. But, much like her first novel, The History of Love, I found it ultimately lacking something I can’t really put my finger on. In the case of Great House, the linked story structure really just didn’t work for me. Inevitably, I liked some of the stories more than others, and thought it was interesting that all of the stories shared a somewhat common link (an enormous antique writing desk). I thought the character development was strong, and the writing itself was very good, although sometimes a little too heavy-handed. In the end, though, I didn’t feel like these stories all came together in the way I found myself hoping for. I didn’t get any of the resolution I thought I would, leaving me wondering what really happened to those characters I grew to like–and even the ones I hated.
Have any of you read this book? What did you think? Do you have a Kindle or have you used an eReader? Thoughts please!