For the past year or so, part of my Sunday morning routine is to read the NY Times Book Review and then log onto my public library account and put anything I've found to be of interest on hold. As soon as it's available, I receive an email, and I can pick it up at the branch closest to my house. This is a convenient arrangement for me; the library is within walking distance, it is also next door to the grocery store and right on my way home from work. I can pick up and return my books and never go out of my way, thus significantly decreasing my book budget.
This morning, however, I found an even more convenient way to preview the books that I found interesting, and I owe it all to Ruth at Two Writing Teachers. I read one of her SOL stories this week that mentioned the free Kindle app for i-Phone. When the hold list at the library was longer than I hoped for the book Secret Son by Laila Lalami, I downloaded the app, and within seconds was reading the first chapter of the book, without having spent a cent. I liked it, but I decided to get the audio version for our road trip to Atlanta next weekend (after a free preview of that, too, of course).
I confess to being very skeptical about the Kindle. A few weeks ago, one of the teachers on my team told us how much she loved hers, but I still had my doubts. Don't get me wrong, like most English teachers, I struggle with book clutter, and I also abhor the waste which is an inevitable side-effect of our culture's current rampant consumerism, but I just didn't believe an electronic device could replicate the experience of reading a book.
Today I am a convert-- even on my i-Phone, reading the electronic version of a book feels a lot like reading the traditional version. It's weird, but it's true. This is my testimony.