My Favorite Thing (Uh, Device) of 2011
Greetings one and all! This is my last post of 2011 and as promised, I will reveal (drum roll please) my favorite thing of 2011. But before I do (really, did you think that for once I would not bury the lead?), I must tell you a bit about the personal side of my life (and yes, I am breaking my very own rule of keeping my personal stuff off the Net).
Here it goes: I am an avid reader. I love books—all books, fiction, non-fiction, you name it and I’ve probably read it (or tried to anyway). My favorite fiction genres are: mystery, thrillers, police procedurals, action and adventure, historical, and of course, the classics. My favorite nonfiction categories are: marketing (duh), politics, privacy, business and technology (SCM, big data, BI, analytics), and history (World War I and II and anything to do with Hawaii—I am part-Hawaiian after all).
When I was seven, my godmother (bless her heart) gave me a four volume set of Walt Disney’s version of the classic fairy tales which I devoured. My aunt (a teacher and then principle), horrified at the idea that this would form the basis of my “fairy tale” education, made sure that I also read Aesop’s Fables, Grimms’ Fairy Tales, Hans Christian Andersen’s children stories, Chinese fairy tales (I’m part-Chinese too), and of course, books on Hawaiian and Greek mythology. Needless to say, my godmother and aunt had many spirited discussions about what young children should be exposed to. In other words, Disney’s happily ever after versions of all things versus a grimmer (hah!), more realistic version of the world.
By the time I was eleven, I had read through the entire children’s library collection and had already made massive inroads into the young adult section. I was also trying to decipher Shakespeare’s plays (loved Taming of the Shrew and Much Ado About Nothing) and picking my way through the classics (Jane Austen, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the Brontës). No matter the time of year (school, summer, or holidays), I read something every single day. In fact, my bedtime was 8:30 which my mother (smart woman) extended to 9:30 if I wanted to read something before going to sleep.
Throughout my life, books have been my friends. They comfort, sustain, enlighten, and educate me. I take them with me wherever I go. I always have a book in my purse, briefcase, car, or luggage. And I love the feel of books: cracking the spine when you first open it, turning the pages, getting to the last chapter, then the last page, and if it’s particularly good, being kind of sad when you reach the end. For those of you who love to read, you know what I mean. For those of you who don’t, I only hope that there is something in your life that is equivalent to my ongoing relationship with books.
So, imagine my dismay when I open a birthday gift from Terence (and his wife) and find a Kindle! This hardware device that, like others, may just replace physical books. Oh the horror! But once I got over my initial angst, I decided to give it a try: read one book with this thing and see how it goes. (Full disclosure before I go any further: Amazon is not paying me for what I am about to say but if they want to send me some kindle e-certificates I will take them!) And Amazon proceeded to make me fall in love with the Kindle:
- It “carries” all my books. Instead of lugging 10 to 12 books (I am not kidding people) on my vacation because you just never know what you might feel like reading next and then there’s always the fear that some of those books just won’t cut it (I used to read every book cover to cover but about 10 years ago came up with a new rule: if you don’t grab me in the first 75 pages, I’m done) I can carry my whole entire library with me on my Kindle (and it only weighs 10 ounces!).
- Its battery lasts over a month. This one is so smart because if I had to recharge my Kindle like I do my Smartphone (every two days or so), I would get pretty tired of doing it and pretty irritated when I ran out of juice. But the battery lasts about a month and recharging it takes only an hour or so.
- It is eye-friendly. It’s easy on the eyes AND you can increase the point size of the text. For those of us who now need reading glasses, this is a great thing. Bye-bye glasses!
- It has wireless. Translation: you can buy and download books any time you want! If its midnight and I want to read the latest novel from Elizabeth George, I just turn on Whispernet and away I go.
Now to be honest, there are a few things that I would like to see changed. I wish the Kindle would tell me how far I had to go to get to the end of a chapter (it does tell me how far I am in the book but I like to stop reading at chapter or section breaks). I wish the screen was a bit bigger (but not the actual size of the Kindle). And finally (heads up Amazon because you could easily do this), I wish there was a KindleFlix that worked like Netflix. I am willing to pay $20 to $30 per month to be able to check out, say up to five books at a time, and then return them when I am done. And yes, I know that I could go to the library but I want a more robust book selection than what the library offers.
And there you have it. The Amazon Kindle has rocked my book-loving world—in a good way. Right now, I have about 20 books on it just waiting for me to read. And although the Kindle has been around since 2007, it is my favorite thing of 2011!
Oh, and for those of you readers out there who are wondering what my favorite book of all time is… it’s To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I read it when I was twelve and it can still move me to tears. And my favorite non-fiction writer is Michael Lewis (he writes like I would like to but simply cannot). If you love football (I do), read his homage to the game, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game.
In closing, I wish you and yours a joyous new year!