Having finally beaten my unread bookshelf last year and read the assorted tomes that had been gathering dust for many a year, I’ve now taken to my Kindle with a gusto.
The problem is my roving eye finds it far too easy to browse e-books, and my thumbs find it far too easy to do a 1-click purchase, leaving my unread e-bookshelf twice as full as my unread bookshelf ever was.
Is this perhaps the achilles heel of e-books? It’s far too easy to buy them, while finding the time to read them is as hard as it ever was with paper books, and harder if–like me–you have a penchant for reading in the bath.
With the world’s attention span being decimated by information overload and the instant gratification culture, there’s no doubt that short fiction is on the rise.
For readers that still find short stories wordy, or that think flash fiction lacks enough zip, then twitter fiction is so short it won’t give you time to breathe.
When the British textile artisans of the nineteenth century found their livelihoods threatened by the march of industrialization and technical innovation, they took to smashing mechanized looms in protest, and the first recognisable Luddite movement was born.
Although e-books are, by their very nature, a much trickier prospect to smash than looms, Ned Ludd would be proud to learn the Luddites have kept religiously in step with technology to this day, as amply attested by the wonderful Campaign for Real Books.
So was it religious restraint that kept the fifteenth century’s scriptorium monks from giving Gutenberg’s printing press the Luddite treatment, or did they perhaps realise that innovation is an inevitable companion of progress, and as much God’s work as the carefully penned workmanship of their own hand?
I find myself increasingly drawn to the Amazon Kindle. Perhaps it’s the lure of e-ink, which has me enthralled even though it gives off the feeling of being an anachronistic leftover from the 70s; perhaps it’s the impending deluge of e-literature, which promises so many marked changes from printed literature that it’s difficult to tell if any of the changes will ever actually transpire; and perhaps it’s just my consumerist desire for Yet Another Desirable Electronic Gadget (YADEG).
Whatever the source of my fascination, this morning it dawned on that, apart from being a proper noun as well a registered trade mark, the word kindle would also make for a nifty verb, especialy as there’s already a homonym you can use in relation to a real book but not an e-book.
– verb (used with flammable object)
1. to start (a fire); cause (a flame, blaze, etc.) to begin burning.
– verb (used with e-literature)
2. to read on YADEG.