Joyce Minor

Books are great, but e-readers are, too

It's no secret to anyone who knows me that I'm an avid reader. I love books. I love everything about them. There's just nothing quite like a new book.

Consequently, I've never thought I'd like an electronic reader. I mean, how could I ever get excited about one more electronic gizmo in place of a crisp, enticing new book, or a dog-eared old classic now and again?

But then I tried to read sitting out on my patio. The pages kept turning in the wind, and the sun was always at the wrong angle. I'd invariably forget to bring a pen to mark my favorite passages and make notes in the margin. Or, even worse, the pen I'd grab had just enough ink left to blob on my hand or my shirt and promptly go dry.

Next I'd find myself running back inside to grab my dictionary if there was a word I didn't recognize, my glasses if the print was too small, or a cast-off envelope (all too often with the latest electric bill inside) to use as a bookmark when interruptions happened, as they always do.

Soon I'd have a stack of junk on the patio table that I'd have to truck back inside, after only half an hour of reading and truck back out again later.

I guess I complained about all this one too many times, because, for Christmas, my tech-savvy kids gave me a Kindle Paperwhite electronic reader.

Wow! What a cool toy. It can hold literally thousands of books yet it's smaller than a single paperback. It weighs only a few ounces so I never tire of holding it. The page is white like a new book, yet I can adjust the brightness so it's perfect in any light, even direct sun. And I can set it to display each book in whatever font and font-size I prefer. No need for reading glasses!

This thing is so cool it even has a dictionary I can flip to and back in a flash. And with just a touch, I can bookmark a page, underline a passage, or make a note for future reference.

Best of all, I've found that there are thousands of free books available for instant download. Virtually any book I want can be in my hands in seconds and even new bestsellers can be purchased instantly for about one third their hardback price. I can browse the online bookstore or even the shelves of my local library anytime, day or night, from the comfort of my patio deckchair. How sweet is that?

Suddenly I'm so into reading I can't find time for anything else. I have no problem turning a blind eye to Christmas decorations waiting to be packed away, or dirty dishes in the sink, or mail still unopened. I can even ignore the dryer that insists on buzzing every 30 seconds to remind me the clothes are ready for folding.

It's harder to ignore the phone because it could be something vitally important, like a text from my daughter with photos of my new grandson attached.

And it's even harder to not answer the door. After all, it could be an emergency, like a registered letter from a publisher who can't wait to offer me a contract on my novel. Well, maybe that's a bit far-fetched since the book isn't even finished yet, and may never be, if I don't stop reading and start writing.

Ah, but maybe this next book will inspire the perfect plot twist, or suggest a great new character, or, better yet, introduce a new author with six more books I can read.