Um yeah, posting twice in a day — unheard of. But I find myself suddenly indisposed, aka sick, which started as a scratchy throat when I woke up this morning and descended rapidly into a stuffy head and an aching body. I guess at least it’s happened now instead of the day before we leave — this way if I get a lot of rest and stuff myself full of echinacea for the next few days, I have a chance to fight it off before things get crazy at the weekend. Hopefully.

So since I am once again stuck at home today, and now I can’t even focus well enough to work, I will write. Again. Especially because being sick today has given me a chance to spend more quality time with a dear friend of mine, one whom I haven’t mentioned to you yet, and I think might be feeling a little slighted:

That’s right, it’s my Kindle, which has been my constant companion over the past four months. I read it for fun, I read it for work. I read it at the gym, in bed, at cafes, at Gabe’s university, on the plane… pretty much everywhere I go. It is quite simply wonderful.

As many of you know, I’m a voracious and omnivorous reader. I usually have at least 2 if not 3 books going at once, a habit usually enabled, er, fed by my mother’s expansive lending library. This summer, when faced with the sudden withdrawal of that  library and the price of buying books in English while abroad (which I discovered about five years ago while laid out with a cold in Budapest), suddenly an e-reader looked incredibly appealing.

Conveniently enough, my chosen profession also depends to a large extent on reading. My boss, slavedriver that she is, decided that in order to further our mutual success, she would very kindly buy me said e-reader. What a deal! It arrived, shiny and new, about two weeks before we moved, so I didn’t really have time to play with it until we boarded the plane for London.

At first I found it awkward and off-putting to read. Instead of curling up with a good book and feeling the pages fly beneath my fingers, I had to push the silly little button far too often to be able to truly get caught up in the story. The screen was too dark to read in anything but the brightest direct light, and really, it just wasn’t the same.

Out of sheer necessity though I have kept going with it. And now I am hooked. I read articles almost every day denouncing e-readers and how they’ll be the end of the publishing business, they don’t make much sense for any but the most avid readers or travelers (ahem), you can’t lend out your books, etc.

But really, when you’re living half way across the world and books in English are both scarce and expensive to come by, how can you beat having your favorite author’s new novel literally at the push of a button? Due to this ease of purchase, I have now bought more books in the past 4 months than in the past ten years. How will that kill the publishing industry exactly? Not clear.

The best part is that I am reading things I never would’ve dreamed of buying in a bookstore. If I stumble across an interesting topic, I immediately go to the Kindle store and look for any books they might have on it. Certain patterns have arisen, and I have surprised myself by buying — and reading — far more non-fiction than I have since finishing my master’s degree, as well as a great deal of historical fiction.

I can also work on my Kindle, which is fabulous. I can read and edit manuscripts without printing the entire thing off, and I can take notes and underline in books without feeling like I’m destroying them. True, it does slow down a bit when I get past the hundredth or so footnote (you should’ve seen my college textbooks!), but that’s not a big problem.

Basically, if there was any possible way for me to become a more avid reader, this was it. I now have samples from at least five or ten new books waiting to be read, probably at least one or two of which I will buy. I’m halfway through one historical novel (Wolf Hall), and I have both a free sci-fi book and an electronic “box set” of three fantasy novels awaiting our plane flight next week. And, just in case I get bored, I just bought the Atlantic Monthly‘s 150th anniversary compilation, and also a book of interviews with travel writers.

I’m saving the fantasy novels for the plane, but I’m reading the rest more or less simultaneously. That would be difficult to do with physical books, but now, I can just sit down and say, Which story do I feel like continuing right now? Which world do I want to inhabit tonight? That of Henry VIII, or that of Bill Bryson? It’s amazing.

Yes, my Kindle might be enabling an addiction. But in this case, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. So to the donor of this wonderful addition to my life: thank you. It has quite literally been a life line to me during our year abroad.

And now… I’m going to take my stuffy head and go read.

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