by Jaden Terrell
I came late to the electronic revolution. I love books, love turning the pages, love the look of print on the page (which is not the same as e-ink, no matter what people say), love being able to carry them around with me and not having to worry about plugging anything in. Love everything about them.
Last year, my husband bought me a Kindle for my birthday. I liked the way I could download books so easily (though it took great strength of will not to burn through my paycheck ordering $2.99 novels from Amazon. I liked the way I could make the print larger if I needed to. Above all, I liked that I could carry hundreds of books with me when I traveled. The Kindle didn't take the place of my beloved books, but it was a pretty cool supplement.
Of course, there were downsides too. Although it held a charge pretty well, having to recharge it regularly was a bit of a pain--especially if I let the battery get low and had to plug it in at a crucial point in the plot. And I noticed that, for some reason, I found it easier to put down a book that I would, if I'd bought it in print, have read straight through, and I wasn't as likely to carry it around with me to read in restaurants or in free moments in waiting rooms. I didn't love it, but I liked it a lot.
I liked it even better when I found several books I needed to research my next Jared McKean mystery. They weren't $2.99, but they were cheaper than they would have been in print. Then Timothy Hallinan e-published all his Simeon Grist books and the first of a new series. A long-time Hallinan fan, I bought them all. I was starting to feel pretty happy with this new technology.
I started carrying the Kindle around the house with me, as if it were a regular print book, reading as I took my vitamins, brushed my teeth, brushed my hair, fed the cat. Well, you can imagine the rest. As I stood at the bathroom sink, toothbrush in one hand, Kindle in the other . . . I dropped the Kindle.
It struck the floor, face down, with a sickening crack. Oh no. I picked it up, a feeling of dread settling in my stomach. The screen was intact, but the image looked like an angry orangutan had thrown a tantrum on an Etch-a-Sketch. I tried to turn off the device. No luck. The fractured image was frozen on the screen. I told myself maybe it was in shock and just needed a little time to settle down. No such luck. By morning, it was clear.
The Kindle was dead.
Mike says he plans to replace the Kindle when my next birthday comes around. I have my reservations. It seems like maybe I should wait until they come up with a klutz-proof version. Still, I've managed to keep my laptop intact, so maybe there's hope. Maybe I could get one of those little slings like people carry babies in. Do they make padded Kindle-carriers? Maybe I could make a sort of safety belt for it--hook it to my belt with a carabiner?
Hmm. Maybe I could invent one and market it for a gazillion dollars. Surely I'm not the only Kindle-Killer around.