A first for me: I’m reading a novel on a Kindle.
Meredith the librarian (and every book lover should be so blessed to have a librarian for a friend) came by the office yesterday and gave me her usual and welcome raves about books she had read.
One of them I couldn’t resist after hearing the title: The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared.
“I’m going to the library today,” I told her. “If it’s in, I’ll check it out.”
“Oh, don’t bother with that. I have it on my Kindle. You can borrow it. I’ll drop it by your house this weekend.”
Kindle. An electronic device. Reading a novel. Turning pages with a button. No, no, no!
“Hey, that’s great. Thanks, Meredith. Call me first to make sure I’m home.” I didn’t allow a hint of misgiving in my voice.
Weekend. Good. That would give me time to contemplate the great sin I was about to commit.
Meredith explained that she won’t be using her Kindle too much this summer. She’ll spend her time at the local bookstores, flipping through the printed pages and making purchases for our school library.
“Read this,” she commanded, as good librarians do. She placed Unspoken on my desk, finished up her work, and said goodbye.
At lunchtime, I sat outside under an umbrella with an Arnold Palmer over ice, the Santa Barbara sunshine streaming around me, a slight breeze, and a wordless, wonderfully illustrated book for children.
I was feeling pretty close to heaven.
About an hour later, Meredith returned. With the Kindle. She had forgotten something and decided to feed two birds with one scone.
“Have you seen my cell phone?” She handed me the Kindle.
I held it like I’d been using one for years. “On your desk. I heard it ring.”
(Ah, Meredith. She’d lose her head if it wasn’t attached to her neck. And that would be a most unfortunate thing for us. Because she is a genius, and one of the sweetest ones I know.)
After showing me which buttons to push, she rushed off to finish the rest of her day, and I was alone with a Kindle.
I turned it on. I found the book.
I took it outside and marveled at being able to see the screen clearly in the bright sunlight.
I liked it.
I had an image on the sidebar of my blog that announced to all: “I PLEDGE TO READ THE PRINTED WORD.”
And I do.
It’s just that the printed word might be read on a screen and have pages turned with a button.
I’ll never be without a printed book. There’s too much in my life tied to the experience of having a physical book in my hands or seeing one in the hands or shelves of another: childhood visits to the library, sharing with friends, college, reading to my infant, the first time he read to me, my desire to be a published author.
What memories will a Kindle evoke? I don’t know. And I don’t know if I’ll ever own a Kindle.
But, thanks to my favorite librarian and a fabulous electronic device, I’m OK with joining the digital gang of readers.
Do you own a Kindle? Was it love at first read or did you also feel like you were giving in to the “other side”?