Sunday, March 14, 2010

Wheeling And Dealing Sans Ascot

Perhaps it is because I live alone that I have such colorful inner dialogues. In the absence of other humans, I find myself quite able to chatter colorfully along for hours and hours. Or maybe it is because my professional life has been pretty much based on walking people through what motivates their behaviors and helping them to learn from the journey. It might be that I'm merely loony and just not ready to accept it yet.

I don't think so, though. I think most people converse within their own skulls from time to time. I'm maybe just more willing to admit it. It could also be that I'm so starved for conversation that I don't care what strange things I'll profess, but I don't want to go there today.

The pondering of purchasing an ereader, however, came out of a "real life" conversation. The Cheerful Teaching Assistant and I first began drooling over them well over a year ago. Even after we stopped working together for a while, the memory of those digital marvels lingered. But the process of buying one wasn't something I could ever do without at least a million Arguments With Self.

The first of those debates was philosophical. I call it the If I Was A Classier Person Syndrome. In this case, it boiled down to my thinking that a "good" reader was one who liked the smell of paper and the feel of hard covers in the hand. These readers never dog ear pages or accidentally drop books in the tub. They buy their favorite titles in hardcover and they never, ever lose the dust jackets. They have a shelving system.

I am not that kind of reader. I am hard on books. I read a lot. I drag books everywhere. I fold pages almost half way down to make sure I can get back to the right page. I don't buy hardcover books if I can help it because they are heavy and the ink from the bindings leaks everywhere when the aforementioned tub-drop happens.

That's not to say I don't like the feel of a book. I do. I like it a lot. But it's the words that get me and what keeps me in the story. As much as I'd like to be the type who reads great literature in a chair by the fire, I'll just never be able to live up to the image. I don't even own an ascot, for crying out loud! And you just know I'll tip the brandy snifter all over everything.

The next inner chat came down firmly in favor of the digitized reading experience. Shortly before that, something else came down. Namely a stack of books in my bedroom that was at least waist high. It scared the cats and irritated the people who live downstairs.

I have a lot of books. Hundreds. Sure, I go to the library. And, yes, I can always sell off a few at the used bookstore. But I like owning books. I read them over and over. And over. I am loathe to part with any of them. Even the most boring books in my collection are mine, mine, mine and woe be to those who eye them covetously! I can never own a bookstore because I'd always be flinging myself between the shelves and my customers with tears of horror in my eyes. I'd only ever make any money on the pastry cart and that's not even a sure thing. I also happen to like pastry a great deal.

An ereader would hold lots of books and they wouldn't be falling on my toes all the time. This is a good thing. Plus, the books are a bit cheaper and the world is a little greener without me demanding all the trees be cut down so I can build a book fort.

I still didn't buy one, though. The next debate was with my purse strings. Digital readers can be pricey and I wanted to make sure that I wasn't spending the catnip and frozen pizza money with wild abandon. I also have a tendency to get all starry eyed in the face of "features." Features make it hard for me to breathe and forget that I really just want to read a book. I don't need something that will pick my nose and do the laundry. I just need words on a screen. I fought mightily against my desire for all things shiny and did some research. There are some very good readers out there at a reasonable price. Maybe they don't offer the ability to purchase a book from atop a windswept mountain in the middle of nowhere, but that's not any more my lifestyle than the hardcover book by the fire.

Finally, with fingers fairly itching and the purse strings loosening, I made a deal with myself. It went thusly:

OK, self. Here's how we are going to do this. If you (meaning "I") can agree to wait until we (meaning "I") get paid for teaching those Safety Procedures Classes and to purchase the simple reader that will do just what it says and nothing more, then I (the other "I") will give in to the need to satisfy instant gratification and not order the cheaper one online. We ("I") will go to the store on Friday and pay the extra twenty bucks to get the thing for this very weekend. Do we/I/you/whomever else is living in this head have a deal?

We/I did. The school district came through with the monies owed (finally) and Friday afternoon the contract was executed. Sure, it seems kind of weird for a day of knitting and reading to look like this:



No fireplace, no ascot, no smell of fresh paper...


Yet, it is no less satisfying. Of course, I still can't read in the tub. That could be disastrous. But I may have one or two other bits of reading material around here that will suffice. I'll just go visit the book fort.

SA

17 comments:

trek said...

Very appropriate that last paragraph. Way up top I was thinking, "But, Sheepie, you cannot read the e-reader in the tub - it will short!"

PS - Come to my blog tomorrow for a (positive) review of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls - you'll satisfy your need for fine culture and the shambling undead. Then you can go visit the Sony store and order your own e-copy!

Lynne said...

I, too, have been toying. Discussed the possibilities (for an upcoming birthday present) with husband. We have a four bedroom house, three starting to overflow with books! But they (books and, more pertinently, eReaders) are quite expensive here in Oz. Perhaps when they are more popular and the price comes down...

Jeanne said...

I'll likely remain in my state of being a Book Luddite for a long time. I'm far too attracted to the physical reality of books, much as I am to the physical experience of painting and drawing with traditional media (aka actual paint) versus the layering and undo buttons afforded by digital drawing media.

But I'm interested to hear of your experience with the new technology. After all, I caved and bought a digital Pentax when my analog Pentax was removed without my permission from my car a few years ago. I'm not a complete Luddite.

Congratulations on the new device.

Julia G said...

"Blaiston Street butts on to the back end of nowhere." I wonder who's BEHIND that quote?

Actually, I just have gadget envy -- love the new gizmo! The main concern holding me back is eyestrain, so I'll be curious to see how it works out for you.

kmkat said...

What trek said. No ereading in the tub, nor with beverage in hand. I'm keen to hear about your experience. As much as I like gadget, paying $10-15/book rather than get them free from the library keeps me in the analog literary world.

kmkat said...

What trek said. No ereading in the tub, nor with beverage in hand. I'm keen to hear about your experience. As much as I like gadget, paying $10-15/book rather than get them free from the library keeps me in the analog literary world.

Teri S. said...

Very cool. I too have a difficult time parting with books, even if I don't like them and will never, ever read them again. I'm torn about the eReaders...I do like the physical book. But you know, books are heavy and taking several of them on a plane for vacation puts quite a dent in the luggage allowance. Or else creates a migraine of monstrous proportions lugging them around in the carry-on luggage. Imagine...thousands of books that don't weigh thousands of pounds!

Kath said...

Yup, like kmkat, I get my books from the library. That said, if the e-reader could do my laundry, well...then we might have some possibilities!

Anonymous said...

I have a kindle and just love it.I read twice as much for half the price of a book from the book store. Unfortunately for me, the library hasn't worked out so well. I hope you love your ereader. They are just like a book....? Lu

Mia said...

You made me laugh out loud at your we/I/us conversation. I have that same scenario daily with a thousand things ::laughing:: how strange that we have to justify with our own selves ::laughing:: but it looks COOL. I've been wondering about the prices of the ebooks - you'll have to tell us your favorite places to download from.

I'm drooling :)

Enjoy your treat!!!!!

Karen said...

I am so far behind in technology. It looks really cool though! Good plan on no reading with it in the tub.

Donna Lee said...

Some libraries have downloadable ebooks (as opposed to audio books) so the library could still be your friend.

I haven't felt the pull for an ereader. yet.

Elaine said...

I do read our Kindle in the bath. I put it in a large zip-loc bag first. However, I probably wouldn't risk it if I didn't have a very good track record for not dropping books in the water: as in, I've never done so.

Welcome to the world of e-readers!

DocWalk said...

Apparently that guy who owns Amazon (Bezos?) puts his Kindle into a ziplok bag and reads in the tub. I love my Kindle, but haven't done that yet!

Yarnhog said...

Good for you! I dearly love my Kindle. I also devour books, and I am constitutionally incapable of either a) waiting for the ones I want to become available at the library or b) getting rid of books once I buy them. The result is thousands of books strewn through every room in the house. I don't mind this, since I think being surrounded by awesome reading material is a fantastic way for my kids to grow up, but there is sort of a space limit. My 12 year old just asked for a Kindle for his birthday; I'm so proud! ;)

Knitting Linguist said...

OK. How did you hear the inner dialogue in *my* head? Which led me to buy a nook for my birthday this year. Which I adore. Love love love. (Even though I wasn't sure I wouldn't miss paper.) Although it hasn't stopped me from re-reading books in the Vorkosigan series this week (from my very own Excessive Pile O' Books), because I was in need of soothing. (Glad to know I'm not the only re-reader in the world.) Now I've got to check out trek's review of P&P and Zombies, as that's on my wish list!

Kailin said...

Try a ziplock baggie. Keeps your ereader all safe and dry, even in the tub!