Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Books vs. Kindle

Last week I was over at my friend Loui's Mountain Mermaid Blog and I got a big kick out of her "Joy of Books" post.  Check it out and watch the cute video she posted.  Her blog post that day made me sit and think about the current state of books.

Books vs. Kindle

I am so torn - I love to read and I'm always reading more than one book at a time.  I have a Kindle, which is wonderful because it's so easy to slip in my purse and I can take it almost anywhere.  I can also quickly buy books and have them immediately.   Right now I have about 50 books on my Kindle.  I like to pour over the free book listings on Amazon and download anything that sounds good.  Even if I were to load 100 books onto my Kindle, I could still carry it in one hand.  Imagine trying to balance 100 actual books - Impossible!

However....  I love the feel of a book.  I like to hold it in my hands and turn the pages.  I like the sound that the pages make when you turn them.  There is something exciting about cracking open a book for the first time and diving in.   Ever since I was a kid,  it was such a thrill to receive a book as a gift.  Most of the time my nose would be buried in the book before I had even finished opening my other gifts.

One of my earliest memories is getting a copy of "The Red Balloon"  from my grandparents.

I bet I read that book a hundred times over the years.

Back in the late 1950's, before there was such a thing as an audio book, my grandmother used to make reel to reel audio tapes of herself reading different children's books.  Then I would sit on the floor in front of her huge stereo hi fi unit, with the corresponding book in my lap. "Hansel & Gretel" was one of my favorites.  Nonny would be out in the kitchen making lunch, and I would sit and listen to her read the story on tape.  When it was time for me to turn the page, her tape recorded voice would say "Kimmie, turn the page."   And so I would quickly turn the page and stare at the pictures while her soft voice tumbled from the speakers and poured over me.  Later, I would start to actually run my finger over the words, trying so hard to read them.

I love and cherish books.  If I had room in my house I'd love to have rows of floor-to-ceiling, built in,  wooden book shelves.  You know, the kind with a rolling ladder so I could reach the ones way up high.  Even today I still have many of my old childhood favorites, because I just can't stand the thought of parting with them.  Books like  "The Red Balloon,"  "Anatole Over Paris,"  "Yertle the Turtle,"  "One Fish, Two Fish," "Caroline,"  "The Big Jump,"  "Peter the Parakeet,"  "Charlotte's Web."   When my kids were little, I read all of these books to them and they became their favorites as well.  Maybe one day I'll be reading them again to my grandchildren.  Every time I read them, they still delight me.  How does one throw out a book?

One of the biggest events of my childhood was the day my mom took me to the Chicago Public Library and I got my own library card!  The doors parted and I thought I had died and gone to book heaven.  Huge sunlit rooms, long wooden tables, book carts on rollers and row upon row upon row of books....  More books than I could count or fathom.  I think the very first book I ever took out was the Laura Ingalls Wilder book "The Little House on the Prairie."  Right then and there the flood gates opened and I was swept away on a literary sea.  For the rest of my life I would have books piled on my nightstand, strewn on my end tables, stacked next to my lazy boy chair, stuffed in my purse, and teetering on book shelves.  I still have my original library card.....

It's been a hard transition for me to Kindle.  It's easy, convenient, compact.  You turn the pages with a flick of the screen.  And like I said, it holds hundreds of books.  Kindle has its advantages, but it's not the same.

So, based on my post, which do you think I prefer.  Which do you prefer?

My favorite gift to give, is a book.  And my favorite gift to receive, is a book.  You can never go wrong with a book.

(all google images)


  1. I'd say you prefer a REAL book! I know I do. I have borrowed my daughter's Kindle, and you are right, it's just not the same!

  2. I like the idea of a Kindle, and I will probably get one when I can, for all the reasons you say. The idea of having everything I want to read -- cookbooks, fiction, to-do manuals -- all at my fingertips even when I travel, is enticing. But, like you, I like the way books look and feel. Of course, since I do NOT have the floor-to-ceiling book shelves I'd like to have, books in my house are stacked and strewn and generally messy. A Kindle might help me clean up my act. On the other hand, my grandson told his mom recently that he doesn't want to grow up in a world without real books and I agree with him. I think there is room for both. At least I hope there is.

  3. As convenient as a Kindle would be. (my daughter loves hers) I don't think I'll get one. I think I would just end up with a lot of unfinished books. Multi-tasking is not my strong suit.
    I'm just a book person. I have always loved them.

  4. As a frustrated librarian not is more joyful to me than sitting in a pile of books at a used book store. I don't read alot of new stuff - I mainly read dead guys so I'm happy at the junk stores & library sales. The Kindle looks appealing but I would probably just use it to get on the web. Maybe if it had that musty old book smell.... now there's an app.

  5. I'm still a die-hard book fan, and have not yet given in to the lure of a Kindle. I like holding a book in my hand, and rifling through the pages.

  6. Because I have soooo much free time,(lol)and I love to read, I find myself reading on the run. In an airport, cafe, my desk, waiting in the car and anytime I have more than ten minutes to myself, I find myself using my Droid A LOT in an RSS reader. This keeps me up to date on all the great reading (such as your blog). BUT, nothing is finer than to have the morning to myself and a good book. I like the feel of it in my hands and the smell of the paper. I also like to know where I am in the book by moving the book maker a little here and a little there. I don't get that same feeling from my pad. So for me, I'm split 50/50 and perfectly OK with that!

  7. I think BOOKS has pulled in to the lead!

  8. I love books, too! I have a stack right here that I checked out from the library! But the Nook is great, too! I don't really think it replaces books though...just another way to read! Very nice on a trip, too! Hugs! ♥

  9. I like my iPad for convenience of reading, but I still go for a book. I love getting a brand new book that someone else hasn't read yet

  10. I just started out with the Kindle this Christmas (gift from my parents), and happy as I am with the experience I still prefer the physical book! But since I don't have a room with floor to ceiling bookshelves in it, and I currently have books in double layers in the shelves I do have, well then I'm going to be very picky with the books I actually buy from now on. Is it one of a series I have? By a favourite author? A gorgeous edition? A book I will probably be re-reading again more than once in the future and wanting to loan out to people? If the answer to any of those is yes, then I'll buy the book. If not, then the e-book. I've read plenty of books just out of curiosity which turned out to not be worth the paper they were printed on (anything by Dan Brown), and others that were whodunits and once you've solved the mystery there's no interest in a re-read. So I figure I'll save a few trees and help out my groaning shelves. ;o)

    (but I'll always be happy to receive -and give- a book as a gift!)


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