A year without ebooks


With utmost certainty I can say that I was one of the first few who bought the Kindle Voyage when it came out last November. I ordered it online but it was going to take a few days before Amazon shipped it home. On the day when Amazon started to ship Kindle Voyage, I went to Best Buy before they even opened their doors. And when they did, I went in to buy the first Kindle Voyage from that shop. I’m pretty sure that I am among the first 1000 who laid their hands on Kindle Voyage. That just goes on to explain how I love the Kindle as a reading device. And that’s an understatement.

Kindle is way better than tablets just because of the fact its less distracting than its tech peers. One could do one thing very well with Kindle, that is to read. Even in such a device I’m sometimes distracted reading book reviews on the Kindle store. Kindle Voyage was built on the same awesomeness of Kindle design. With tactile buttons for page turns it was simply awesome. It’s truly the Rolls Royce of e-book readers. I enjoyed reading with it for a month. And then something happened.

Last year was a very productive year for my reading. I read over 25+ books. Each of them must have been solid 300+ pages. The list includes a terrific 600 pager I simply devoured. I was able to read through the night without disturbing others only because of the frontlit Kindle. But one day, I had this weird feeling I wasn’t remembering what I was reading. It wasn’t just staying with me. When I used to read physical deadwood books, I could recollect some memorable parts from the book very easily. I could even recollect if it was on the left or right, top or bottom of page. It was so vivid. With e-books I suddenly felt I was losing that ability. So I decided to experiment this year by reading only deadwood books. I still use Kindle Voyage on a daily basis to read the articles I store on Instapaper. Just can’t let go of Kindle.

Since January I have read handful of deadwood books and they are great. The book that I’m reading, The Visual Miscellaneum can just not be read on a Kindle device. I still cannot say if my memory has improved by depriving myself of ebooks. But I’m certainly enjoying reading from tangible objects. Will keep you posted on this year-long experiment.

Fan mail, a primer!

It must have started with Shakespeare and then moved over to Dickens, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy but it reached its peak with Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain. While it continues to prosper even in this age, a book on fan mail only happens to very few writers. Read a sample below, and more.

Dear Mark Twain:

Writing this letter is one of the pleasantest duties I have to perform before leaving for “Hell or Hadleyburg” — which the doctor tells me must be soon now.

In fact I’m living beyond my time, — because he said Oct 15 was my last day “on live” — The only reason I didn’t die on that date was that I wanted to read your latest story in Harpers. Some people see Naples and die, — I prefer to read Mark Twain & die. I’ve never seen Naples, — and dont expect to. I’ve read almost everything youve written, — and when I finish your whole output I’ll give up seeing Naples and die happily without that privilege.

But —

I want to thank you for all the pleasure your books have given me during many years of confinement to my room. Life would frequently have been dull indeed had it not been for the companionship of Huck Finn, Col. Sellers, et al.

When I get to Hell the greatest torture that I will have will be the possible knowledge that you shall have written something else I shall not be permitted to read.

Yours gratefully
Benj Ochiltree.

sujatha: one more year later

18. இதை வாசகருக்கும் எழுத்தாளருக்கும் உள்ள ஏற்பாடு என்று சொல்லலாமா?

ஒரு நட்பு என்று சொல்லலாம். ஒரு வாசகர் தனக்கு பிடித்தமான எழுத்தாளரை ஒரு நண்பரைப்போல் தேர்ந்தெடுக்கிறார். காரணம், அவர் எழுதுவது இவருக்கு புரிகிறது. கதையின் எதோ ஒரு பகுதியை வாசகரால் தன் மனத்தில் மீண்டும் வாழ முடிகிறது. அந்த எழுத்தாளர் அந்த வாசகரின் வாழ்வின் குறையை ஏதோ ஒரு விதத்தில் நிரப்புகிறார்.

19. அதற்குக் கதை புரியவேண்டும் அல்லவா?

ஆம். கதை வாசகருக்கு புரியவேண்டியதை மிக முக்கியமாக கருதுபவன் நான்.

20. சிலர் புரியாமலேயே கதை எழுதுகிறார்களே?

அவர்களைப் —- — ——.

– சுஜாதா [சிறுகதை: அடிக்கடி கேட்கப்படும் கேள்விகள், 1998.] [தொகுப்பு: கடவுள்களின் பள்ளத்தாக்கு]

It doesn't matter

This isn’t a quote rather its the entire(!) first chapter of Roger Rosenblatt’s – Rules for Aging: A Wry and Witty Guide to Life. Was talking to a friend about something today and recollected this during the discussion. I read this book earlier in the year and this particular chapter stayed with me. Succinctly put.

Whatever you think matters—doesn’t. Follow this rule. and it will add decades to your life. It does not matter if you are late, or early; if you are here, or if you are there; if you said it, or did not say it; if you were clever, or if you were stupid; if you are having a bad hair day, or a no hair day; if your boss looks at you cockeyed; if your girlfriend or boyfriend looks at you cockeyed; if you are cockeyed; if you don’t get that promotion, or prize, or house, or if you do. It doesn’t matter.