September 5, 2010

new kindle notes

I actually used the phrase "...should one deign to grace our abode with its noble presence" in a spoken sentence today. And I wasn't even kidding around or anything, but for the fact that I was referring to a hummingbird. A little later I caught myself thinking, "If a garden is a true reflection of the gardener's soul, mine is a dry, desolate place, with only a few stubborn green shoots struggling desperately to survive."

I've been reading a lot of high-minded stuff lately.

My Kindle arrived on August 31, a present for my 47th(!) birthday. I immediately purchased Sigrid Undset's Catherine of Siena ($9.99) and a King James Bible ($0.99). I also uploaded a picture of a statue and a picture of my late dog Juniper (I miss her). A couple days later I uploaded The New Science by Giambattista Vico ($0.00) from the Internet Archive and Andrew Lang's Pink Fairy Book ($0.00).

Between the bus and the train and a couple of long-stretch sittings at home, I finished Catherine today. It's a wonderful book. It has given me a lot to think about. Reading Undset is liking standing on an ocean shore; thoughts and ideas and history come in overlapping waves. It's enchanting, hypnotic.

As for reading on the Kindle, the screen is dimmer than I thought it would be - the contrast is clean, but the color of the page seems dark. I am an inveterate low-light reader, but a dim lamp that I could use for a paperback isn't really bright enough for the Kindle. The trade-off is that it in good light, it's really easy on the eyes, and I've found I can read for an hour or two or three with no eye strain at all. Can't say that for a computer screen. It's kind of weird, though, because it's a device, you know, and it sort of looks and acts like a computer screen, so you expect it to be brighter, which is why, I think, I've been noticing the darkness of the background. But I'll get used to it. All of the interface elements - the page-turn buttons, the menus - are quiet, understated, which really gets them out of the way of the reading. Nicely done.

I'm mulling over a plan to read along with the St. John's College liberal arts graduate curriculum, which is why I uploaded the Vico. I've skimmed a few pages so far. Maybe I'll start with the undergraduate curriculum.

In other news, apropos of nothing, we learned today that "niwanowani" is Japanese for "alligator in the yard."


  1. cool--all of it. Good to hear a critique of the kindle.

  2. A client of mine switched to iPad because of bad formatting on the Kindle - she hates widows and orphans, and badly-ragged or overhyphenated right-side text. She says the iPad formatted books are much more satisfactory, smoother to read. Just FYI.

  3. I haven't had a problem with that so far, which is strange because I'm one of those whose eye jumps immediately to the tiniest flaws on a printed page. The Vico and the Lang texts are a mess. Catherine had a tenuous grasp on the proper use of quotation marks. But the Bible and another $0.99 download, Hugo's The Man Who Laughs, are both really clean. Hit and miss.