Monday, December 28, 2009

My Favorite Electronic Book Gadget: The Kindle

For Christmas my dear husband gave me a Kindle (second generation) book reader. This thing is every bit as cool as Amazon claims: light, intuitive (so much I can't help wonder if Apple designed it!), and addictive. I'll never give up printed books completely, but I *love* reading on my Kindle. The screen really is crisp and easy to read (unlike a backlit eye-strain-inducing computer screen). Best of all, it can hold TONS of books, magazines, blogs, and newspapers.

New "hardback" books are usually $9.99. New "paperbacks" are usually around $6 -- but public domain books (Shakespeare, Poe, etc.) are free or very cheap. Where was the Kindle when I was hauling around a thirty pound Shakespeare textbook? :) If you keep an eye out you can find new promotional paperbacks (temporarily free).

In addition to classics and murder mysteries I "splurged" on a couple of very helpful, inexpensive books:

1. The Complete User's Guide To the Amazing Amazon Kindle 2: Tips, Tricks, & Links To Unlock Cool Features & Save You Hundreds on Kindle Content by Stephen Windwalker $0.99

2. Kindle Shortcuts, Hidden Features, Kindle-Friendly Websites, Free eBooks & Email From Kindle: Concise User Guide for Kindle 2 (US & International), DX, 1, iPhone & iPod by Aaron Steinhardt PhD $0.25

From these I learned about how to access Project Gutenberg, free books and audio, keyboard shortcuts, and hidden features (like the calculator, Minesweeper game, and Go game). About the same time I also discovered Sudoku Volume 1: Interactive Sudoku Puzzles for Kindle 2 and Kindle DX and Word Morph Volume 1: transform the starting word one letter at a time until you spell the ending word (Word Puzzles Optimized for Kindle) -- both for just $0.01 each. Who knew you could play these games on a Kindle?

Interested in Kindle fiction? I recommend Stephen King's UR ($2.99) and The Gift of Murder (a $7 mystery anthology which features "The Kindle Did It!" by Gail Farrelly -- and profits go to Toys for Tots).

As you can see from the photos (courtesy of Amazon), the Kindle is light and comfortable to hold. I love curling up with my Kindle. It's so easy to use, I really do forget about the hardware and just enjoy the story -- just as advertised.

I love my new Kindle so much that I named it: Miss Marple (because it appears so cozy and simple, yet it knows so much more than you expect). I supposed the same logic could apply to Lord Peter (sophisticated, elegant, and knows so much more than you expect) but apparently I like to assume my gadgets are female. (Ask me about my car, Christine.)

For those who know I only like Miss Marple on TV (not in print), I can't explain this choice. The name just seems to fit!

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