Sunday, October 18, 2009

TSS: a kindle, a college visit, and a sick kid

Good morning, saloners! It's been quite a week. A Monday holiday has a way of throwing things off, and Columbus Day proved to be no exception. The long weekend was a treat, but then the rest of the week's work had to be fit into just four days.

It was fall break for Daughter #1, and she came home with a kindle! It belongs to one of her professors, who loaned it to her for a project. (She later told the professor her mother was more excited to see the kindle than her!) An evening out for Daughter #1 provided the perfect opportunity for me to try it. It's the first time I've seen a kindle 'up close and personal'.

Picking it up, I was surprise by how thin and lightweight it was. Reading directions has never been one of my strong suits, so I went straight to the home page, picked out A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah, and started to read. The font was too small (oh, my aging eyes!) and it wasn't immediately obvious how to increase the size, so I headed back to the homepage and spent a little time perusing the owner's manual.

Once the font size was adjusted, reading was much easier, but I was distracted again wondering whether the whispernet would work (an old map placed us just out of range). The connection was successful and within seconds, amazon's offerings were on the screen. One wrong click, however, and a book was ordered on the professor's account! I managed to delete and credit before it downloaded, but that proved how dangerously easy it is to get books.

Back to reading for a little while longer, and then decided to figure out the dictionary function (which was also incredibly easy). I didn't try to highlight or make notes on someone else's kindle. My understanding is that these are semi-permanent.

By this time, my eyes were tired and starting to feel the strain. This rarely happens while reading, and took me by surprise. Since the kindle isn't backlit like a computer, I'd read that eyestrain is unusual. The experiment ended and the kindle was put to 'sleep'.

Do I want a kindle?

I'm not sure. Reading a book is much more enjoyable, but the kindle would certainly have a place for travel. I'll consider purchasing one before the next major trip, but doubt it will appear on my Christmas list .

Also this week..

The twins are high school juniors. Monday I drove Twin A three hours to attend one college's Fall Open House program. Guidance counselors strongly urge students to consider applying early decision. But in order to do that, visits need to be completed before senior year. Let the process begin!

Twin B had a GI virus Thursday and Friday, and stayed home from school. Saturday both girls took the PSAT exam.

Needless to say, this has not been a very productive week. My only review was a ghost story, "The Villa Lucienne" by Ella D'Arcy. I finished Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks, and will post a review later this week. The Virago Book of Ghost Stories provided the rest of my reading material for the week. Less than 100 pages to go in The Woman in White, but I just wasn't able to get to it last week. Guess what I'm doing today...

Hope you all have a relaxing Sunday. What will you be reading today?


  1. I've got a Sony Reader on my wishlist for Christmas. I want it mainly for when I go out to appt's and things as it's so lightweight. Otherwise I'll still stick to paper books. Hope Twin B is much better!

    Today I'm going to try to finish Cleopatra's Daughter and write up a few reviews.

  2. I have heard good things about the Kindle but, alas, it is not for me. I do like the option of being able to change the font size, so it may be something I will have to consider if my vision deteriorates to that point. (What a very kind professor:) Sounds like a whirlwind week. Enjoy your Sunday and I hope Twin B is on the mend.

  3. Thanks for giving the mini-review on the Kindle. I have been going back-n-forth between wanting and not wanting a Kindle. I think, based on your review, that I can wait longer before I plunge into the world of an e-reader.

  4. I got a Kindle in the mail yesterday. It was a 2-mth early birthday present that I knew was coming. I've never had a chance to preview the actual Kindle befor, and i was amazed at how simple it seems to use.

    I downloaded some free classics first and then the Outlander which was only $2.?? It will never replace my real books, but it will be great for travel etc.

    Glad u had a nice visit with your adult

  5. I absolutely LOVE my Kindle. I will never replace my regular books, but it is so easy to buy books NOW (dangerous!) and you can get the classics cheap or free. I've never had eyestrain with it, once I get the font to the right size.

    Good luck with the twins applying for colleges! It will be awhile before I get there, but I'm sure it will come quickly.

  6. Dar - It would definitely be more convenient to carry around a kindle to appointments or commuting on a train. At home, I'd prefer physical books, too.

    Book Psmith - I think being able to adjust the font size is a huge plus for the kindle. It has been a crazy week...I'm hoping the one ahead is quieter!

    Deanna - I go back and forth on the kindle, too. If I had a daily train commute or traveled extensively, I'd get one immediately. Since I don't, I'll wait a while longer...

    Diane - What a fantastic birthday present!! Free classics and Outlander for $2 is fabulous. I think a big trip will give me the incentive to buy a kindle.

    Sandy - I wonder if the eyestrain came from reading too long before the font was adjusted. Anyway, I can see where there is a place for the kindle, but it won't replace physical books.

  7. I was wondering where you've been this week! Sounds like you've had a busy couple of days! Hope Twin B is feeling better soon.

    (Love the new pic on the blog, BTW!)

  8. It would be great to "test drive" a Kindle or other book reader. I am so resistant to the idea. I hope twin #2 feels better soon! have a great week.

  9. So sorry about the sick twin. Hope she is better by now. How nice to have a visit from your College Student (and so thoughtful of her to let you usurp her professor's Kindle ;) ) I do not envy you having to endure the college application process again as a double dose, but from bitter experience, watch out for early decision. Be sure to read the fine print as there are different kinds (you know this), and some schools do NOT put ED apps back into the regular pool...

  10. A part of me is curious about what it would be like to have a kindle...but then I think about the technological issues that would make me nervous...

    My Sunday Salon post is here:

  11. the kindle doesn't seem like my kind of thing either.i hope twin b gets better soon.

  12. I've coveted the Kindle for some time now...and I think I would be in deep do-do with buying books!!! I'm sure it could be quite addicting knowing that you could have a new book in a matter of minutes!! Hope your girl is getting better!! I can't wait for your review on Brook's book. I finished The Promised World and now I'm about half way through Table Manners. Have a great week!!

  13. I'm not a book buyer, so I am not tempted by the Kindle. I think it is cool that the technology exists, but I don't have any use for it. If there were more modern books available as digital books for free with an expiration system, then I would consider one.

  14. I love my Kindle and never have problems with eye strain. I like being able to carry lots of books with me in one small package and to buy books with out leaving my house. Perfect when snowed in in winter! I still love my paperbooks but I love the addition of Kindle to my library

  15. Oooh, how interesting to see a kindle. I don't think I'd want one (unless as Book Psmith says my eyesight failed), but I'd really love to have a play and maybe it would convert me.

  16. Melissa - Yes, it was a wild week. Twin B Is down a few pounds, but going back to school today. Glad you like the new header photo!

    Gavin - I was so glad to finally see a kindle! I won't be rushing to buy one, but I probably will get one would be great for travel!

    DS - I'm a little apprehensive about a double dose of the college application process - thank God we've been through it once already! There are plenty of early decision horror stories out there, so our eyes are wide open. It's going to be an interesting year...

    Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow: I've been curious about the kindle since the first one was released and am glad I got the chance to play with one. New gadgets usually intimidate me until I learn them, but the kindle was a breeze!

  17. Marie - If a book is available, I would always reach for it before the kindle...but a kindle would be great for travel. Twin B is better today (although a few pounds lighter) and going back to school.

    Staci - It's incredibly easy to buy the books on kindle, so that's a dangerous thing! But at least they are a little less expensive...

    Dani - Now that would be a great idea - new books free with an expiration! It's probably just a matter of time before something like that is offered.

    Bookmagic - I think the eyestrain may have been from reading too long *before* I decided to adjust the font size. The kindle is not going to replace books, but it certainly does have a place. I'll invest in one eventually.

    Verity - It was great to finally have my curiosity satisfied. I think the kindle would be good for reading really heavy books, too. I may hold off on W&P until I can read it on a kindle!

  18. I have a Kindle but I rarely use it. The novelty has kind of worn off and I've realized that I prefer actual books.

  19. I was able to experience a Kindle for a few days through work and decided that I like books better. Having said that, I do think that they would have a great application for students. To load textbook material on them would greatly reduce the weight of their backpacks.

    How exciting for the girls to be looking ahead, so much pressure though when everyone is asking about their plans.

  20. Dictionary and highlight fuction seem to be very handy. I would prefer a portable electronic reader with a backlight, since I like to read outdoor. Anti-glare would be better. I'm keeping my fingers cross for the Apple Tablet, which is rumored to release in Jan 2010. I need a portable reader when i travel to Asia because i have to lugging around a stack of 15 books for years!

  21. Reviewsbylola - I'm afraid that would happen to me, too, but it would still be great to have a kindle for travel.

    Darlene - It would be a lot better than lugging around all those heavy textbooks! Can't believe my 'babies' are thinking about colleges...

    Matt - After reading your post on the Apple Tablet, I asked one of the salespeople in the Apple store if he knew anything about it. He didn't, but said they are never told until the last minute. I love my MacBook and would be interested to see whatever product Apple comes up with.

  22. I'm a stubborn one -- I seriously doubt I will buy a Kindle, unless book are no longer in print. Heaven forbid! I love to hold the actual book in my hand.

  23. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the Kindle. I haven't see one up close, but I'm thinking I would feel the same way you do about gettting one.

  24. Kim - Given the choice, I would opt for reading a book, too.

    Stacybuckeye - It was a great experience to finally be able to 'play' with a kindle...I'd been waiting a long time!

  25. I have read only two or three e-books ever, it's just not my thing, and the eye-strain is a factor, too. I guess having a little kindle is a better option, but know...a book is a book. With pages made of paper. That's what I fell in love with and what I'm staying loyal to.
    Hope your daughter gets well soon and the college touring pays off!

  26. Ivana - You said it... a book is a book!! My daughter is fine now. Thanks!


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