Prop 3 – My relationship with my Kindle
We got on famously from the very beginning and then in the summer I almost exploded with love for the thing and eventually I couldn’t contain it anymore and I proposed. Unfortunately it’s still not legal to marry in this jurisdiction and so we are simply living in wonderful sin.
As I may have mentioned I have read an inordinate amount this year and a lot of that is thanks to my trusty Kindle. It allowed me to keep up my habit in Ghana without weighing down my bags and I even managed to stay in touch with the outside world thanks to its (free) 3G internet.
Sadly when I got back to Ireland I discovered the first negative thing about my new obsession; you can’t tell what people are reading.
On my trip back to Kerry on the train from Dublin a lady sat down next to me and began reading a book I had been curious about for a few months. So before even leaving the station I asked her what she thought of it. This began a four hour long conversation about books, friends, life, careers, the economy, children and the world in general. When we parted in Tralee, each armed with book recommendations from the other, she gave me a kiss and a huge hug and I felt like I had made a wonderful new friend. This would never have happened had she, like me, been reading on a kindle.
I always love having a sneak at what people around me are reading. I can tell from their face where in the book they are. I offer knowing nods when they are clearly at the emotional passages and beam big smiles when they get to the funny parts. I remember finishing The Elegance of the Hedgehog in floods of tears on an impossibly packed bus in Bolivia. The Andean lady next to me, all decked out in folds of colourful alpaca wool and trademark hat, stared in shock at me, possibly wondering what the white guy had to cry about on this simple bus. I lifted up my book in explanation which instantly appeased her and elicited an understanding smile. If I had brandished my kindle instead I most likely would have been escorted off the bus.
I have fallen in love with strangers because of the reactions they are having reading book I know and cherish. I have also unjustly judged people reading books that I looked down on. Terrible I know but it’s hard to take anyone seriously reading Katie Price’s 42nd autobiography.
Wouldn’t it be great if the back of the kindle could proudly show the cover of the book you’re reading? Failing that I would request that I am the only one allowed use the kindle and the rest of the world needs to display the printed version in order to keep me up to date on the tastes of my fellow readers and allow the path to friendship and conversation to remain open.