Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas is for reading (or, Kindle vs. paper)

Boxing Day is a huge day for me, much more splendid than my birthday or any other nice day in the year, because it is
my day off.

On Boxing Day, I don't do anything I don't feel like doing, no matter how hard it is to resist taking care of a few little chores so as to make the next day a little less full of them.  Nope: this one day of the year is for me, to spend curled up with a blanket, some sweets, and a book or, if necessary, some crafty thing that is 123% fun and not a bit for getting done by any particular deadline.

Okay, I did break down to wash some dishes and pay some bills and do some urgent spinning - more on the spinning part tomorrow - but this year was mostly about the books:

and as you can see, I had to face down a tough comparison between electronic reading versus the traditional and cosy paper-based version I've known and loved all these years.

Here is my feeling about e-readers: they are not books.

But they do take up rather a lot less space than books, and I live in a very small house with bookshelves already overfull.  Plus: I am not likely to stop reading or wanting books anytime soon, if I haven't done so by this time.  So e-readers are a logical thing to get excited about, even though as I say: they are not books.

It wasn't easy for me to choose to buy an e-reader at all, let alone to choose which, but in the end I decided the significant cost savings associated with a locally-available Kobo reader were, for me, nothing compared to the very long battery life associated with a more expensive, less Canadian public library-friendly Kindle.  So that's what I went with.

I was getting over the fact that it is weird to read a book without page numbers or a title up in the corner of the 'page'... and then Christmas came and I could let myself open a present from my genius cousin who always finds the very best books for me:

which reminded me why a paper book is just so much better in every way but real estate (and tree) consumption.  The cover of this book - well, you can see the painting.  But you can't feel the softness of the finish, the weight of the paper, the tactile delight it brings to the gorgeousness of the writing itself.

(Good Evening, Mrs. Craven, by Mollie Panter-Downes, is an anthology of short stories written in England during World War II on the quiet but powerful stresses in civilian life.)

Of course there are some things you would never want to peruse on a Kindle (though a tablet is another story) if you could have them on paper, regardless of the shelf-space they might command.  Things like a spiral-bound instruction manual for interesting weaving techniques:

I haven't tried any of the ideas yet, of course, but it's very satisfying just to look through the pictures and read the directions, all so approachable and inspiring.  (The Weaver's Idea Book: Creative Cloth on a Rigid Heddle Loom, by Jane Patrick.)

Or a heavily-illustrated book like Wildwood, by Colin Meloy with lovely drawings by Carson Ellis:

(I've wanted to read this book for a long time and am feeling a child-like delight in being on page 410 of 538, in spite of all the other things I did yesterday too.)

And really the whole point of a book like Russian Textiles is to drool over the sleek, thick pages printed with breathtaking colour and designs in between long passages on the history of it all.

Still: I do see the point of a Kindle too, now that I have one.  It means I can read a novel anywhere I remember to bring it along with me, without much extra bulk or weight in my bag.  And if the one I'm reading proves too much for the moment, I can switch to something else.

On my Kindle, ready for whenever I might need them:
John McPhee's Annals of the Former World
Neil Gaiman's Coraline
Neil Gaiman's The Anansi Boys
Mark Helprin's Winter's Tale
Mark Helprin's A Soldier of the Great War

(and soon to be added: Kathleen Taylor's The Nut Hut.  So excited for Kathi to have this available after so long!)

Yep: Christmas is definitely for reading, and in that respect, the magazine Lannie gave me got it absolutely right:

It's a perfect Christmas.

Hope you're having a good week too and I'll see you again tomorrow!

No comments: