Tuesday 3 January 2012

Kindle In The Wind

Look at it, it's a beautiful thing!

I didn't "believe" in Kindles at first. I was enormously suspicious of them. I imagined a nation reading literature on something rather like a large Gameboy, all cross-eyed and twitching from staring at flickering screens for hours on end. I envisioned scenes from Russell T Davies' terrifying 1991 children's TV series Dark Season, with tall men in shades coming to take over our brains with their mysterious computers. SYMBIOSIS, I thought, I must remember that the password is SYMBIOSIS.

But ladies and gentlemen, it's OKAY! The screen is totally non-computery, it looks like somebody has just stuck some words on a piece of plastic. I know that you already know this, but I didn't. The first time I saw a Kindle was on the subway in New York, and I stared and stared over the man's shoulder until he became uncomfortable and moved away. IT DOESN'T HURT YOUR EYES! And you can turn the page with one hand, which means you can eat and read at the same time, and also read in the bath (DANGER) much more easily.

Sam's Mum very kindl(e)y bought me one of the new ones for a Christmas/Birthday combo, and I have bravely downloaded TWO books so far - Room by Emma Donoghue (which is just ACE) and Catwatching by Desmond Morris just because I could. Did you know that cats bring their owners birds and mice because they think we're useless hunters and they're trying to help us learn?  You do now.

Since becoming Kindoctrinated, I am now looking at my shelf full of unread books with dread, as I realise I ought to plough through them before I can really justify downloading any more. Hence I am back onto an unwieldy Jo Nesbo paperback, large and heavy enough to kill a small rodent, and lacking a bar across the bottom of the screen telling me how much % I have read of it (this is possibly the most triumphant Kindlism of all). First world problems indeed.

In the meantime I may dream. So. Tips for good cheap/free books please!


  1. oh my god how un-put-downable is room? For something totally different but with a similar pace, you could try 'The Riders' by Australian author Tim Winton... think is free on kindle x

  2. Oh, I completely agree! I was mega-Kindle-cynical, then got one for Chrostmas and am totally converted. How do you get the freebies, though? I don't get it! Like, it's classic, so it SHOULD be freem but then it comes up as £2.33 or a random price like that.

    I've just finished my first book on it - The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Euginides, which I really, really, really liked - and LOVE the highlighting option. Folding corners is sooo passe.

  3. Laura I am perplexed by how much books are on it, I could pick up a second hand paper copy for half the price on Abebooks. Only a few of the classics are actually free. RUBBISH.

    Gemma, Room was SO good, I've been told to check out Slammerkin too although (sadly as with The Riders) the price is over my fiver limit. Crazy, as the NEW paperback is only a few pence more.

    Maybe prices will come down at some point, as it has with DVDs etc? Maybe wishful thinking....


  4. I too was not convinced by the Kindle until recently. I got one for Christmas and it's fantastic. Despite being a so-called "reader"/English graduate, this thing has doubled the amount I'm actually taking the time to read. Love the web browser, notes and highlighting and how easy it is to use. Plus I just got this sexy item with a gift voucher:


    Highly recommended (and wickedly overpriced) if you want a nice cover.

    So far I've bought the Bill Hicks book and a collection of new Sherlock Holmes fiction for cheap. I also splurged on the 33rpm book about James Brown's Live At The Apollo and Julian Barnes' The Sense of an Ending which won the Booker. These last two were both pretty overpriced but I justified it because I had a voucher.

    I have a marvellous website for you:




    36,000 free ebooks, mostly public domain stuff so we're talking everything Tolstoy, Austen, Shakespeare, Dickens etc etc wrote for free. The versions are all great, proof-read by volunteers and come in Kindle format.

    If you use the internet on the Kindle you can even download them straight to it. I did this using the normal site but there is also a mobile version which might be a bit easier to navigate:


    Last thing, I would also recommend Calibre if you want something to manage your ebooks on your computer:


    It's similar to iTunes, only for your Kindle and it's free. Good, eh? I used it to corral various rogue pdf files so I could read them on Kindle, but it's also a good way of backing up your collection of non-Kindle store purchased stuff. If you get books from Project Gutenberg on your computer this is an easy way to get them onto your Kindle using the USB lead. Good eh?

  5. I just clicked through to say BEST TITLE EVER. And then I read the comment above, and had to add, MOST HELPFUL COMMENT EVER. I got one for my birthday and have just finished reading Game of Thrones on it, because I am Classy with a capital C.

  6. I bow to Lud's Church!! Thank-you so much... prepare for my brain to be expanded x1929303 in 2012, definitely the greatest and most useful comment EVER.

    Kirsty, is Game Of Thrones good? Will I need to be patient and enjoy a large and confusing cast of characters? I enjoyed the series but it tested my ADD tendencies...


  7. Penny, I have one too, exactly like yours, and love it as well. I'm also reading the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Game of Thrones is book 1, I've just starting book 5. One of the best things I've read from a pure, keeps you interested, escapist way. The Kindle sure is the easy way to read these types of book that are around 1000 pages long. There's also a few Facebook groups that you can join that highlight cheap and free books.

  8. This settles it, I'm going to read Game Of Thrones!! Thanks Andrew, hope you are well! I will go and search for the FB groups now...