My Paperwhite the first day unboxed
What a Kindle Kindles
Why would anyone want a Amazon Kindle—a gadget that enable you to do nothing but reading? Well, I do. And I am confident there are many out there like me. Because the Kindle kindles.
Refound Interest in Books
For one, it kindles my refound interest in books. You see, I used to like reading so much. When I was a kid I would not listen to teachers who failed to interest me with their uncreative lessons. But what can you do, sitting in that uniform chair like everyone else in the identical classroom? Well, you can always use a drawer. It’s your reliable friend, a comrade. All through primary school and into high school, I would read my Jin Yong wuxia novels for days (ok, hours maybe). I finished all fourteen of them well before I went to college.
But then, before I realize what happened, it changed. I changed. For a whole semester in college, I did not manage to finish one single book on my own. I still read the required readings and all, but it was different. Suddenly I lost interest in the thing called books. It was too inconvenient. Too much work. Too heavy. Too unimportant compared to other things I wanted to do.
Then came the Amazon Kindle. I remember the urge to buy one the moment I noticed it the first time. The mobile had too small a screen. And it was way too much burden to the eyes reading for just half an hour. And where do I find books anyway?
The Kindle, as it was sold on the Amazon page, solves it all. It is light as a paperback—the read people carried to a plane and finished by landing. It could store thousands of books. And where do books come from? You just search on Amazon’s stock of hundreds of thousands of titles and download them with a magical click of the finger. Then BOOM! Before you know it, you are reading the title you thought of/came across moments before.
Withheld Passion for Knowledge
I don’t know about you. But I’ve always known that I longed for knowledge. Knowledge of why—why are people, myself included, so unhappy?— of how—how do I find freedom (and a girlfriend)? and of what—what is happiness, anyway? None of the lessons I went through my entire schooling experience told me the answers. Not a clue. And there was no one I could ask.
So books seem the only way. And with a Kindle, and a Wifi (or 4G) connection, it all seemed possible. I bought a paperback copy of the Chinese translation of Russell’s The Conquest of Happiness back then. I was interested. But I never finished it. Maybe it’s the translation. But probably more because of the weight. It looked like a brick, and weighed and occupied space like one. But hey, I have got the Kindle now. For one-third of the price I bought the paper translation copy, I downloaded the digital copy into my Kindle. Within two weeks, I finished it. It was such a great read. And then I wanted more. I learnt so much from this man, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. And just moments after my personal feat, I bought The Basic Writings of Betrand Russell, too. The Kindle literally kindles in me the withheld longing for knowledge and wisdom—from those same physical and technical barriers that I trust must have withhold many a potential bookworm like me.
Most Wanted Peace of Mind
Today I experienced what I believe a mystical state of peacefulness. I was reading Joseph Campbell’s masterpiece The Hero with a Thousand Faces, on a ferry that carried me towards home. It was a short ride. I downloaded the e-book into my Kindle Paperwhite during a break between work, with a whim that just popped out in my mind out of nowhere. I got so used to the routine now I almost did it unconsciously —search, 1-click order, wait. On the ferry, slowly venturing through the prologue and onto the first chapter, I realized that the fifteen minutes passed without my consciously knowing it. I mean, normally my mind strayed so much — did my girlfriend just texted me/let’s take a look at Facebook/ I got to watch this on Youtube! But not today. For the whole fifteen minutes I was on another plate. There was nothing but my mind, the words and the meanings. And the Kindle of course. Without it the possibility of reading something as heavy and as distant from daily life would almost equal zero. And the concrete feeling of peace while reading must tell something about the reading experience.
Disclaimer: Amazon should have paid me for this. But no, I didn’t have any connection with them except I am such a loyal and good-looking customer.