Friday, January 14, 2011

Reading in a soft, electronic glow

Now that the century is in its second decade, the Word Crank finally has shuffled into it with the acquisition of one of those high-tech devices that so define our times. Yes, under the Christmas tree was a Nook, Barnes and Noble's answer to Amazon's Kindle. It is the color version, which is especially snazzy.

I am on record as being intrigued, but somewhat dubious about the necessity for these devices. So, now that I have one, what is the verdict? I love it. I still fear its ability to lure me into spending money needlessly (parsimony being one of my virtues/vices), but I'm giving myself self-discipline pep talks. Five and ten dollar book purchases can add up, but I have a $15 a month budget to keep me from going overboard.

Advantages: Portability. The Nook packs easily in luggage or purse. I've already taken mine on a short trip to Mobile. It slips into a pouch in the purse I also got for Christmas and has accompanied me to a couple of doctor appointments.

The Nook also stays open to the page I am reading without requiring a hand, so it's great for solo lunches. Just be cautious of flying food particles. Keep it well clear when eating chicken and dumplings at Cracker Barrel. Trust me.

An unforeseen advantage is the ability to read after lights out. If only I had had this at Camp Kiwanis so many years ago. Now when the spouse grumbles that my bedside lamp is keeping him awake (usually said in a brief hiatus from snoring), I have an option.

An extra benefit is the encouragement to read books outside the usual run of preference. While I have a reading list with more than 100 titles that I would like to check out, the first book I read on my Nook was Dracula. This is not a novel I ever had any interest in reading, but somehow in the process of downloading Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park, B & N decided to give me Bram Stoker's classic, as well as Little Women. They just showed up on my Nook.

Sitting with my Nook in a doctor's crowded waiting room, I decided to read the editor's intro to Dracula for the very reason that I was not interested in the book. I was in the midst of another book, a hardback, and didn't really want to start another. I just wanted to while away the time. Well, as I waited and waited, I read the intro, then started the novel and before I knew it, I was hooked.

The only disadvantage I can think of, besides not being compatible with a bubble bath, is that it is not quite so easy to page forward to find the next break, a habit of mine to see if I should keep reading or turn out the light.

Clearly the pros far outweigh the cons in my book (or should I say Nook?). Besides, I shouldn't take many bubble baths anymore. A long bath is so drying to the skin. The Nook even has dermatological benefits!

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