Sunday, July 12, 2009
The Teeth of a Hydra
My wife bought me a Kindle for Father's Day/birthday/maybe a piece of our anniversary and I would like to think it was out of undiluted love but it was more likely because I just own too many books. My recent obsession with replacing all of the Gold Medal paperbacks of my youth (and then some I hadn't heard of because ebay- and in fact the interwebs--had yet to be invented) has only magnified this issue. A dire threat was issued that we would need a new bookshelf to hold all of the books but I thought that was a helpful suggestion and went out and bought and built yet another bookshelf.
Thus a Kindle, which holds quite a few books itself and is smaller than the new bookshelf.
There are many of my reading brethren who are philosophically opposed to the Kindle because they like the look and feel of paper. These are, basically, the same people who pretend they don't read tabloids or watch reality television, and I once numbered myself among them.
But it is hard to pass up the convenience and ease and relative inexpense of downloads with the Kindle, and I found that I could actually read off of it pretty easily (as a person who does not like to read anything longer than a blog post on a computer screen). I soon had a new dark mistress.
The first book I downloaded was "Pygmy" by Chuck Palahniuk followed in quick succession by two Hard Case Crime novels, "House Dick" by E. Howard Hunt and "The Murderer Vine" by Shepard Rifkin. $20 of Father's Day money gone. I was happy to find Hard Case Crime on Kindle but was disappointed two books I was looking for--"The Savage Detectives" by Roberto Bolano and Denis Johnson's "Nobody Move"--were not yet available.
The Kindle people are diabolically clever by offering up all kinds of free downloads, mostly of classics but plenty of other stuff to get you hooked, like "Assassin's Apprentice" by Robin Hobb and "His Majesty's Dragon" by Naomi Novik, both of which I had already read and admired and both the beginning of addictive series. Joseph Finder's "Paranoia" is up there free, as is "Elric: The Stealer of Souls" by Michael Moorcock. I downloaded a couple of freebies that I probably wouldn't buy but might try for nothing, which I am sure was the plan, like "Manifold Time" by Stephen Baxter and "Blood Engines" by T.A. Pratt and "Weapons of Choice" by John Birmingham. Then, while nosing around, I broke down and spent a few thin dollars on "To Kiss or Kill" by Day Keene and "Leaves of Grass" by some dude.
Suffice to say I am ready for my beach vacation in a few weeks. Give me a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.