Thursday, July 15, 2010

technology: the kindle

the first of a series:

I purchased a Kindle a couple months ago, after reading about the device and thinking that it sounded like a solution to a lot of my worst reading-related obsessions. Writing notes and highlighting "perfectly" is one of my longest battles. Doing this digitally takes away most of the possibilities for imperfection. At least, in terms of writing perfectly neatly, and making sure my highlighting is perfectly straight, perfectly centered over the words on the page.

The catch is Amazon's new "popular highlights" feature. I also have an obsession about having highlighted or annotated "just the right thing" inside a book. I often reassured myself (which isn't a positive thing to do, of course) by reminding myself that in all likelihood, nobody else would see my annotations. (When I was feeling brave, I'd counter this reassurance by reminding myself that friends borrow books all the time.) Now, there is no way to hide my imperfections-- they're out in the open, for all to see, thanks to a new form of social media.

Besides this, however, the Kindle helps me assuage worries of keeping books unblemished, with no bent pages, worry I put my bookmark in the wrong place (since it automatically bookmarks), and several other of my most common reading-related obsessions. (I do worry about getting scratches on the Kindle itself, but for some reason, this doesn't seem to warrant so much compulsive activity.)

1 comment:

  1. I stopped highlighting things years ago. I hate that I can never highlight in a straight line or in any kind of uniform way. Then I start thinking, "But what if I want to read this again some day and I don't agree with what was highlighted? What if something else seems significant and what I highlighted seems stupid?" I don't like highlighting or writing in books because I feel like I'm violating them, making them imperfect. Ugh!

    I get a lot of anxiety on the rare occasions that I have to highlight something, book or not. Maybe I should buy some highlighters and make myself use them again.