Learning Log, Week 3: My First Kindle Book

B says I buy too many books. I don’t believe there’s such a thing, but I’ll admit that I should probably finish reading all (or at least most of) my purchases before I get more. I prefer buying hard copies of books because I can underline and write all over the margins; I retain information better that way, and I need it for more difficult texts. I compromised and agreed to get my “easy” reads–YA novels–from the library.

Last week, I needed something easy. Unfortunately, most of the books on my YA to-read list were already checked out (those damn kids!). I scoured through the TAYSHAS lists for something that wasn’t just another dystopian world or another sappy romance, and I found a potential match with a delightful name: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton.

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It was available on Kindle immediately. I had never tried Kindle. Call it pretentious or old-fashioned, but I legitimately love handling a book, seeing a word or phrase or idea in its home on a page, turning the page to see what happens next, and covering up the opposite page with my hand so I’m not tempted to look at a spoiler before I read what leads up to it.

I shrugged it off–2016 is supposed to be the year I commit to learning new things, and it’s just a YA book anyway. I assumed that Ava Lavender would go under the same category as the Divergent series and John Green books, the books I’m glad I read because I can start reading conversations with my students, but which are too drenched in teenage emotions for me to truly enjoy.

Three pages in, I knew I should have bought this book. But I needed to keep reading and I didn’t want to wait to find it in Half Price or even for two-day Amazon shipping. I stuck with my phone’s Kindle app.

I hate to admit it, but I did like a few things about Kindle-reading:

  • It predicts how many more minutes I have until I finished the chapter (usually a minute per page remaining). It was like a reading FitBit…I kept wanting to read more because I wanted to beat my time!
  • It still lets you highlight. I don’t know if it’s because I was using a library book or if Kindle does this for all the books on its network, but it also underlined quotes that were frequently highlighted by other users. I liked thinking about why other people found certain lines interesting.
  • The search tool lets me find passages really easily. It was so much easier than flipping through pages trying to find that one thing.
  • Of course, the obvious: I could take it with me anywhere and read anytime I got bored. This proved quite helpful when lunchtime conversation got really boring and I retreated to my desk.

I adored Ava Lavender. I still wish I had bought it and held it instead. I still crave the touch of books, feeling the pages under my fingertips, and seeing where words nestle themselves. But if I buy it now, the words will seem like strangers to me, all arranged in unfamiliar places. Maybe it was for the best that the first book I read with the Kindle app was something I enjoyed so much. My love for the story allowed me to overlook my qualms with the format. I’m still a book purist, but for now, I’m OK with using Kindle for my fun reads.

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