Thursday, July 29, 2010

Kindle win(dle)

Now that I'm taking the subway to work instead of driving I have a lot more time for reading; basically an hour-and-a-half to two hours a day in transit and down in the food court at lunch time. I've probably read more fiction in the past three months than in the past three years, sorry to say.

A friend of mine where I used to work had a Sony ebook reader. I always thought it was pretty snazzy, and I wanted one, but not in any practical sense. When was I going to use it? But just lately I've been catching the bug again. A couple of times I've finished a book in the middle of the day and been caught short. It would be nice to have the next vine to grab hold of when I'm swinging along. So I thought I'd look into it.

For a variety of reasons, which are largely just personal preferences, I settled on Amazon's Kindle 2. They have a DX version that's jazzier but it's more than I need and it's on the large side. So, techno bargain hunter that I've always been, I started looking around on Craigslist and Kijiji. On the latter, I came across an offer so fresh its eyes hadn't opened yet. A fellow in Unionville had won a Kindle 2 on a business trip and decided he didn't need it, so he'd take the windfall as cash and pass along some savings to someone at the same time. Amazon sells the Kindle 2 for $189 (technically at a slight loss, I think, to get folks buying ebooks), but he was offering his, unused, for $150. I replied PDQ, figuring I was probably already way down the line, but as it turned out, I was first, and I snagged it. No tax, no waiting for shipping.

So, I've registered it with my Amazon account and now the search for free, or cheap, books begins. :) There's also the wonderful resource of the Toronto Public Library, whose ebook catalog grows all the time. I was delighted, almost beyond words, to discover the Kindle is permanently online, for free, on the Whispernet system, so I can look things up on Wikipedia easily, and even check my email (though responding by thumb-typing will be done on an only-when-absolutely-necessary basis). It also plays music, audio books, and can even read books with a computer voice.  All in all, it's pretty impressive.

See, now I know I'm getting old, because they're not just coming up with stuff I've been waiting for, but stuff I didn't even really imagine. What's next, horseless carriages?

1 comment:

N.S. Palmer said...

If you want a great read, I have two sci-fi recommendations.

The first is one of the greatest sci-fi novels ever written, which amazingly has never been made into a movie: Fredric Brown's 1949 classic, "What Mad Universe," about an editor of a pulp sci-fi magazine who falls into an alternate universe. It's awesome.

The second is Fritz Leiber's "The Sinful Ones," about a guy who starts to think he's the only person who's actually conscious, and that everyone else is an automaton. Naturally, he meets a beautiful girl who's also conscious and who is being chased by some very nasty people. It spotlights how most of us spend most of our lives on "automatic pilot."