The weekend is almost over in this part of the world but I feel tired as ever. I’ve been coughing and hacking all weekend, unable to get even a stretch of decent sleep. This nasty bug just seems to get worse each day. Hot liquids down my itchy throat only help for a while and I really do not want to take anything stronger than lagundi syrup (an herbal medicine extracted from the plant of the same name, Vitex Negundo L.) for now. I hate colds but I hate coughs even more. I feel my neck straining each time I cough. So aside from the discomfort in my throat, I also worry about the pain in my neck, which feels much like I’ve slept on one side much too long when I’ve hardly slept at all.
Last night, I stayed up half the night tending to this cough and, to keep my sanity, reading in bed. I am halfway through The Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb and I am absolutely hooked. Of course there were times when sleep seemed ready to take over my tired mind, but this blasted coughing kept me awake. Good thing I didn’t drop the Kindle in my face again, like I did the other night. You know how you’re reading in bed and you can doze off and drop the book in your face? Well, that happened to me twice already and I do have a small bruise in my forehead to show for it.
The Dragon Keeper is the first in the Rain Wild Chronicles (Dragon Haven is the second, released in March 2010 this year). There’s a summary on Wikipedia in case you’re interested, but nowhere does the summary make up for the breathtaking way the book takes you in its journey among the lives of its characters. I really love how Ms. Hobb fleshes out her characters; her words make my imagination soar. Even as I am not yet finished, I have already set my eye on Dragon Haven (USD14.99) at Amazon’s Kindle store.
I’ve only just begun to like e-Books, thanks to my husband’s understanding and appreciation of my personal tastes in books. (What can I say? He really does know me.) If you’ve ever been inside my house, you’ll find this to be true- as much as Hello Kitty rules my domain and Sylvanian Families threaten to take over, my house is literally split in the seams with REAL books. There are books under the bed, on top of tables and dressers, on the floor, inside the china cabinets (oh, no, I don’t collect fine china, just books), inside luggage and old bags, and just about anywhere we can put them. The basement library, after almost 19 years of marriage, is still in shambles, as I put more books than the shelves can carry. I also have books in storage, in Alphonse’s schoolhouse, waiting for space. And even as I seem to simply shift them around the house in an effort to control their dominion over our living space, I buy more books on a weekly basis. My books are loved and appreciated and read and reread. Thus, the Kindle was an unexpected gift I didn’t expect to take a liking to but I did.
Oh, I’ve heard and read all the arguments in favor of e-Book devices but have never been actually convinced they were the future of reading. Portable, handy, space-saving and all the virtues of modern technology aside, they seemed so artificial to me at first. The truth is I’m really more of a paper kind of a girl. I love the smell of paper- the mustiness of old, yellowed pages and the clean, crisp smell of new ones. I love the texture of paper- the smoothness of new sheets and the fine aged crinkles of old ones. I’d be the last person in the world to give up my books. But I do have to admit that I have taken a complete turnabout on this one, convinced as I am of the Kindle’s ease of use, the amazing interface quality that allows for hour and hours of reading without eye strain, and the accessibility of thousands of books via Amazon’s online store at any one time without ever leaving the comforts of my home.
But you know what really clinched the deal for me? The Kindle makes for good company when Alphonse is around. Alphonse (you already know him by his supervillain alter-ego, Havoc) destroys books and paper on sight, like a nuclear warhead locked straight on its target. Camouflaging my stacks of books has always stressed me tremendously. Just a few weeks ago, having caught a glimpse of Max Brooks’ World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War peeking under my pillows, he destroyed the cover page with ferocious speed and strength. Then he had John Grogan’s Marley and Me in his grip even before I could take another breath, splitting the book into two equal parts. I no longer strut out my books in his presence, taking them out only when he is fast asleep and making sure I have them under tight cover before he wakes up. With the Kindle, I can breathe easy for a while, enjoying a book even as Alphonse keeps me company.
For old fogies like me, it’s not always easy to like new things. Some things may seem superfluous in this already material-addicted world. But the Kindle is one thing I am glad I do have. It won’t ever replace my books, but I think it’ll become my second best friend for a long time. 🙂