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Thursday, February 27, 2014

New Toy or The Death of Printed Books?

With My Custom Screensaver

Currently reading Soldados de Salamina by Javier Cercas

I finally broke down and picked up an eBook reader. Mine is the Barnes and Noble Nook GlowLight. With a 4 gig SIM card I can load more books than were in the Library of Alexandria. Great, collecting eBooks is just another thing for me to obsess over. It is yet to be determined if I am going to prefer reading on this gadget or if I will prefer printed books. I love books and have been a compulsive collector of printed matter throughout my entire life, ever since I robbed books from my parents' collection. At least now if I decide to move to the other side of the world I can take a lot of my books along for the ride.

The thing is, I've never been one to be nostalgic about technology. When the printing press first entered on the scene in Europe many folks thought that it would ruin literature, or what passed for literature in the days when church folks were about the only ones reading.  Books were written out by hand by religious scribes and this suited the church hierarchy just fine as they were able to have tight control over what was available. People actually complained about how the printing press would make books more accessible.

There are still people around today who mourn the loss of vinyl records. I hated vinyl and then I hated CDs. To me the only important thing was the music and I say the same about books. The words are all that matter in the world of books and reading them on my new eBook reader is working out well (as long as I have electricity). 

The same people who badmouth eBook readers probably don’t have much good to say about audio books. My consumption of audio books has been prodigious the past couple of years. I can barely stand to leave the house these days without something in my ear. In addition to increasing my already large annual reading list audio books have helped me immensely with my Spanish and French. In my long bike rides up and down the coast here in Valencia I now kill two birds with one stone (or one shot as the saying goes inn Spanish).

My biggest lament is that I will now join the ranks of people with their face planted in the screen of a gadget. I have the shittiest phone money can buy which has no internet and so have only the briefest of intersections with that device. Sic transit gloria mundi which for those of you who don't know Latin means, "Now I'm a douche bag like all those people I've been mocking for years."


  1. I'm a compulsive reader.I was given one as a gift, and wasn't sure I'd like it, but I love it. And since you like to read in Spanish, you can download a dictionary and go directly to any word you might not know. I find it very comfortable to use.

    1. I can't figure out how to load the Spanish dictionary. The user guide I downloaded is mostly worthless.

  2. Mine (two Englishh and one Spanish dictionary) seems to have downloaded automatically. Maybe it depends on what generation Kindle you have (I have a Paperwhite from 2013). Anyway, try this page, and download whatever looks good to you. I usually order books from Amazon on my PC and they download to my Kindle (I have wifi at home. If you don't, you can just wait till you get to a wifi zone and they'll download then.)Also, (and I hope I'm not insulting your intellegence here) if your Kindle is registered with Amazon.es, you can still order through Amazon.com (which I do on my PC) and then just go to Amazon.es to complete the purchase.

  3. Sorry, you don't have a Kindle (I read your original post a few days ago and forgot this.)

  4. So it already has an English dictionary which will look up highlighted words but I can't find said dictionary in the guts of the machine so I don't know where to put a Spanish/English dictionary. As I said, the user guide is not helpful on this point and doesn't even mention the English dictionary feature.

  5. I have your screen saver framed on my wall.


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