Reading Slope

A drive in the late morning yesterday, away from the coast, to warm inland Gilroy, to shop for an hour or two with the wife among the sprawl of strip-mall stores. With rain only a day or two behind, I thought the season of cooler weather might begin, but Gilroy temperatures at high noon touched 90–high enough to make me look for shade while the wife tried on dresses and shoes in several stores.

I brought along my new electronic gadget, the Samsung tablet PC, because I knew I might be spending an idle hour or two waiting. I was unable to hook up to a good wi-fi spot, so I read from a book that was on the tablet rather than try to dip into cyberspace. I realize now how far behind I have become by not jumping into the mobile computing world. The good news is that I learned I can quickly catch up, if I choose to do so.

So many electronic products are similar and lap each other in functionality. I brought my new tablet PC outdoors last night with the Kindle ebook reader on it and realized that, unlike my Kindle, the screen is illuminated. I can see it in the dark. I suppose the new Kindles can be read in the dark. When reading in bright sunlight, my Kindle outshines the readability on the tablet PC, because the tablet has too much glare. To be connected and mobile, or both, I guess I have to carry more than one device with me. Oh yes, and the other information beam that is stronger and more expensive than wi-fi, which I do not have.

I look at my book case at home and the collection of books I have kept rather than given away to the thrift store. Not so long ago I was only willing to read a book made from paper, and none made from spinning electrons. Now the paper looks antiquated to me. The books are heavier than my Kindle, take up much space, and once I read the paper book I must then decide if it is worth storing, or give it away to make room for a new one. A year or two ago I donated some 600 books and gained so much healthy living and breathing space, despite the pain of departure. I had just remodeled my house and wanted to make it feel fresh.

This past summer, however, I lapsed into a reading frenzy that has carried me backwards. I realized how life is short and I do not have enough hours given to me to read everything I want, so I picked out a half dozen big fat books–fiction and nonfiction, Kindle and paper–and spent many fine hours drifting in this chosen tour of words and ideas. I reverted back somewhat to reading paper because the used books one can buy online are still often much cheaper than the electronic version.

I have heard of people who have a fear that they will run short of material to read. I may have some of that in me. I bought too many books for summer reading. They now must become autumn reading. The paper ones are queued up on a shelf close by, causing me to feel some anxiety that I may not get to them in short order. The electronic ones don’t bother me as much, as they don’t occupy my limited real estate.

This new tablet PC is encroaching on my reading time. It has much more to it than a Kindle. The thing has silly games on it–like jet ski racing, bird and pig fights, podcast stations that require only listening, enough Youtube videos to last me until my dying day, and lord knows what else I might find in the electronic store. Is this what connected people do, rather than read? I had given myself a pat on the back for buying this new tablet PC and catching up, but I sense that there is a slippery slope just beyond this new summit.

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