“Who ‘Kindled’ Your Parents??”

“My parents got a Kindle for Christmas”, I said to my husband. It was, I thought, an innocent statement.

“WHAT??” Who ‘kindled’ your parents?” He demanded indignantly. “Let it be known that I will never, ever have a Kindle.”

The Kindle is not a popular concept in our house. Books pile coffee tables, night stands, and book shelves. The feel of a book, the turning of pages, the cover pages with their enticement to look inside – all of it, all that represents a physical book, is loved. We are all avid readers, but my husband is the most avid of all.

My parents love books as well. As much as us. But they have progressively moved into smaller homes where too many books, instead of comforting, can suffocate. So they have slowly and I might add, painfully, had to get rid of books. They have parted with them a bit like they would a beloved pet, hoping they will find a good owner, sometimes even handpicking the owner. This is what inspired the idea to give them a Kindle. A place where they can still read and enjoy those beloved books, without the space and difficulty in moving them.

But the indignation the Kindle raised in our house last night was strong. Family members had Kindled my parents and they were now on the dark side of technology.

Worse yet, living with a bunch of haters, how can I admit that I really want one?! What about you? Kindle lover? Kindle hater? Neutral (if there is a neutral, which I doubt!)

63 thoughts on ““Who ‘Kindled’ Your Parents??”

  1. I was so impressed with your mom. She said, “I download a new book every Friday” and she went on to tell me about one she’d just read talking about all 10 points. That was after they came to visit us using a GPS. They are, to me, a great example of how to stay young and up to date. I talk the old talk about loving books, but they show the new talk about loving reading.

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  2. Love books – the feel of the paper, the sense of accomplishment as I put a book down, satisfied with what I have read…..but….the ease of travel with a kindle/iPad…..no longer is my shoulder sore from the weight of books as I travel through airports – the iPad (my ereader of choice) is virtually weightless, takes no space and fits seamlessly into my travels, unless of course a beach holiday, where I am back to paper. (Don’t want my electronic toys taken from my beach chair as I swim, and I am sure it appreciates staying dry in the hotel room!!!)
    I guess, in the end, they each have their place.

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    1. Beautifully put Anita! And it looks like you do a great deal of traveling so this comes from experience. Truth be told, I think the ipad would be my e-reader of choice as well. It’s like much of technology, when used in the right way, it can be a good thing. That being said, the idea that they could ever take the place of that wonderful thing called a book is not even a question in my mind. Thanks so much for commenting.

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  3. Hokey doodle 51 comments, talk about a hot topic! Love Cliff’s expression about kindling someone! We haven’t yet but we may well be going over to the dark side soon. Just practicality really. I don’t think I will ever forsake love of paper though.

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  4. I love books. Have hundreds in the house. But I know what your parents are thinking. It’s just that there are so many books out there and really, can we even read them through once, let alone read them again, in our lifetimes.

    MLB (my lovely bride) who is a die-hard book person, got a Kindle from our son for Christmas and LOVES it. So, yes, the “conversion” can happen even in the most staunch circumstances. hehehe

    BTW, I love your use of the verb “kindled.” That’s awesome.

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    1. We too have hundreds :). I’ve often wondered what percentage of books are read more than once by the same person…probably few. Love your use of “MLB” and interesting that she had a Kindle conversion! I got the “Kindled” idea from the MBB (Man behind the blog!) my husband! Thanks so much for coming by.

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  5. I have some old books in a box in the basement. Sometimes I actually dig down there looking for an old book I want to refer to. Again, a lot of these might have been mainstream books 10-20 yrs ago, but difficult to find as an ebook.

    I also don’t see the necessity of 3G or wifi. When I read I want to read without distraction. All this multitasking isn’t good for reading concentration. If I want to buy a book I would wait until going home to download it.

    Having said all that, if the price gets low enough I’ll eventually buy an ereader.

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    1. I agree with the distraction piece. I find that a huge problem with any sort of online concentration. One of the things no one has mentioned in the comments is the library piece – I love libraries…what will be the future of libraries with the gaining popularity of e-books? Thanks for dropping by and adding to the conversation!

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  6. I’ve always been anti e-readers – I blogged on this very topic in March last year. This is partly because I find it very difficult to read for a prolonged period of time on a screen – even when articles I have to read for my seminars are 40-odd pages long, I have to print them out or it just doesn’t go in. But I am also wary a) because reading shouldn’t be dependent on battery power, b) because when I spend money on something I want something physical, not a computer file, and c) because books are BEAUTIFUL!

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  7. Yes Marilyn – its a bit of both. I was Kindled on the way to Germany for Ulrike and Cesar’s wedding. Phil bought me one at the airport and as it wasn’t my birthday I thought ‘How kind he is!’ Then I realized that what he was hankering after is the space in my bag when we travel! He always takes miles more stuff than me and has the spare space in my bag for his camera equipment. If he could get my books out he could have more room …. I love it for travel – but that is all. When we went to Turkey I took 16 books in my coat pocket and saved all that weight in luggage. Through the year though I am still found regularly in Waterstones buying the ‘real thing’ and flicking and smelling and enjoying. My Kindle will never replace a real book and our house would burn in seconds if it ever caught fire with all the bookshelves dotted around the rooms but when it comes to travelling I love my Kindle. I haven’t got to the place yet where I can travel with no books though – what if the battery went flat or it malfunctioned or something? I sometimes feel like a bookaholic but I am down to one in my carry on luggage and one in the check in.

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    1. Janet – great reasons for having both. Love that Phil needs more space than you….totally challenging conventional roles!! Someone else mentioned battery life as well. Thanks for adding to the topic!

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  8. I also posted on your FB page but also decided to get in on the action here: I LOVE my kindle and call it “books without borders!” It is so nice for people living internationally to be able to download a book instantaneously, regularly, and without adding weight to the suitcase. I read far more now than I did before I had the kindle.

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  9. Well, a little late, but as a lover of books, the kindle was the best gift my husband has ever given me. Like, many others who posted, I live in a place where it isn’t easy to get books. Then there is the travel factor. I had to laugh about your friend who needed 26 books on her trip. I can totally relate. When constrained by weight allowances, just what book are you going to take on a three week trip, and even worse what if you were to run out. I’m amazed at just how many books are already on kindle.

    I still love to hold a book, but I save it for a cup of tea and my rocker glider at home. But when I’m home less than 50% of the year… what can I say… the kindle FABULOUS.

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    1. Never ever too late for a book lover to join the conversation! Thanks for weighing in. And you like a few others have weighed in from that important perspective of living in a place where there is not bookstores on every corner or in non-existent malls which brings a whole new twist to the conversation. Wow – you must look forward to those few days when you are home during the year. 50% travel is a lot – even for a TCK!

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  10. Okay Marilyn and Cliff, in full disclosure, Dan and I each got Kindles for Christmas this year. We still are, and will remain, lovers-of-real-books, but our turn to electronic readers came out of necessity. I’m a member of an adult book group, but cannot usually find the book our group is reading here in Cairo. The same is more true for Dan in Kabul. He used to hear reviews of books on NPR and try to remember to pick them up when in the States (with some success). Now any book he hears about, he can download within minutes. I’m also a user of audio books from audible.com, giving me a a chance to “read” more books as I walk to and from school or work in the kitchen. Our thing is getting access in all ways possible. We’re not yet ‘Kindle lovers,’ just users — we remain BOOK LOVERS!

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    1. Ahhh! So good Ann! “Not Kindle lovers, just users”! And you didn’t add that you are a librarian. As I said in another comment, I’m loving the perspective of people who don’t have easy access to books – a whole different take. And as you say you remain “Book Lovers!” Thanks so much for adding your voice!

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  11. Sorry to say, about our dear kindle
    It makes your hubby go into a spindle.
    It assures us he will not swindle
    Our lighter than book, a thing so dwindle.
    Love, Dad

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  12. We got Elizabeth a Kindle for Christmas; reasonable-after all, she is traveling and so forth. However, I found myself sneaking it whenever I could….

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  13. If there is a neutral, aunt Marilyn, I am it. I am absolutely willing to admit the benefits of a kindle. I sometimes feel like I myself am drowning in books, especially when I go on long-ish trips involving trains/buses/planes and absolutely have to bring along a minimum of 8 or 9 books. However, I personally enjoy the feeling of drowning in books. The reason I myself will never buy a kindle is that the act of reading is one that I think should involve all of my senses, not just my eyes. certain books have a smell about them or a feel about the cover or the pages that is almost as memorable and important to me as the story itself. I will never have the same experience reading war and peace as I do when I pick up the volume that I used to write my senior thesis. There’s a certain childrens book I can’t find whose title and author I don’t remember but whose story, cover art, smell, and texture of the pages I remember perfectly. I don’t think books are doomed and I don’t think I will ever be satisfied using one sense to do what has always engaged all of my senses (except taste…), but convenience is often a very persuasive argument.

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    1. And this from a graduate of the “Great Books” School who had a toast from Beowulf at her wedding!! I love it. If you can be neutral than it is definitely possible. I love your picture of reading with all your senses. That is an amazing picture of the best in reading. Hmmm I smell another blog post. Thanks so much for giving your perspective.

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  14. I can’t believe the things I’m reading here! We are avidly against kindle here in the Bliss home. My husband Lowell has done a lot of thinking about books and publishing and what books are for and why authors write… all this while agonizingly engaged in often stand still conversations with a publisher on a manuscript he’s written. He’s taken it one step backwards and is actually hand making books these days. He’s ripping the paper and printing on it and folding it and stitching it and squeezing it and gluing it.
    Having said that, my mom got a kindle this year for Christmas and my brother got one last year…. they both are loving theirs. Hmmm…..
    It’s definitely a polarized issue but Lowell and I would side with Cliff! Go Cliff!

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    1. All I’m going to say is that you and Lowell have a friend in Cliff! He was so happy for this comment! Wow – doing the whole process from printing to binding must be really interesting but time consuming. Talk about the opposite of digital!! Thanks for taking us into that sphere, something I never think about.

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  15. this is Marilyn’s Mom who got kindled. Actually it is supposed to be for both of us. I’m not sure i want to share it. I might have to get one for Ralph for his birthday. One thing it has done for me already has made it so much less traumatic to get rid of more of our books in anticipation of our move to a smaller space next summer. I am amazed how much free stuff there is out there for the downloading (or am i uploading??) As long as I am able I will keep on going to the library for newer books. So my conclusion is, why not take advantage of both?

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    1. Thanks for weighing in as the “Kindled woman”! I appreciate the perspective of moving and going to a smaller space. I am going to do a post on libraries next…will we be looking at the demise of the library??!

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  16. I’m not convinced. It feels weird. My parents’ one is not easy to use. You can’t share your book with a friend. Everything looks and feels the same. No! Books have physical personalities. They are not just digital words.

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      1. this is one of the most important points, to me. books are for sharing, and i almost never read one that i’m not passing along to several friends as soon as i can (with my name inside the cover, hoping to see it again some day.) and i’m rather put out when my friends tell me about a great book they’ve just read, but can’t share it with me…what kind of friendship is that!?

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  17. I just have to jump into this one. My son Kindled me for my 80th birthday (Dec. 24). Like your friend Bettie, I’m learning. Chappie and I moved into a Retirement Community a year ago. (I just counted up in my memory that we had three 6′ bookcases and 7 smaller ones FULL of books.) It was the hardest part about moving. If you had been closer I’d have given you two all my Coptic Church books. We tried to give our “pets” good homes where they’d be loved. I’m enjoying my Kindle. I can sit in my easy chair with my feet up, prop the kindle on the “triangular cover-thingy” and I’m not holding a heavy book. I don’t even have to get out of my chair to look up a word or a person. (I go to the exercise classes here to get my exercise.)
    One disadvantage. I love to underline and mark in the front of the book the pages I particularly like. I haven’t figured out how to do that on a Kindel. Any suggestions?

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    1. Marybelle – thanks so much for commenting!! Cliff was so jealous as he read this about the Coptic Church books. He would have given anything to get those “pets”! Good point about the marking and underlining, something I too love to do.

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  18. I’ve read more books in the last year since I got my Kindle than in the previous three – just because it’s always with me. I have three versions of the Bible in it that I use for comparing word translations during a sermon, two dictionaries, and a couple of magazine subscriptions. Like my iPhone it’s something I wouldn’t choose to do without.

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  19. Marilyn,
    I agree with everyone else. I love the feel, smell, and presence of ‘real’ books….but I love my kindle too. For travel, waiting in line, quickness of access, but also because I love classics and so many of them are available FREE on-line! And I have found some fun old books that I probably would never have come across in real life, but it’s so easy to try them on the kindle because they are free.
    Come on….jump on in…Cliff will eventually settle down after his initial rant after you purchase yours and then you might even notice that your kindle goes missing and lo and behold, Cliff is secretly ‘borrowing’ it to read when you’re not around. ;-)
    Deane

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    1. This is very persuasive and I love it! Yeah, that’s what I’m getting from these comments! I’m a pretty late adopter with this one but it sounds like I need to take the plunge! Thanks Deane! Soo glad to be in touch.

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  20. I love reading. I love books. I love stories. I also love my Kindle. I bought mine to use for the 30 day trial while we were flying for vacation and Reuben objected to 26 books being necessary. I had every intention of returning it. I found I love it and could not bear the thought of returning it. I still love my books and many of the ones I have on my shelf I also have on my Kindle–now I have the books that I love and can carry their stories wherever I want on my Kindle.

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    1. “Reuben objected to 26 books….” hahaha!! This is great! So your love grew quickly. Well, if I wasn’t convinced before the post, I am definitely convinced now that I want to be Kindled!! Thank you for this!

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  21. In our household books and Kindle coexist. In other words, we love books just the way you so enthusiastically described; yet, we also love the ease that comes along with a Kindle. Jacqueline can take her Kindle to all places and enjoy a good read without straining her back (as all students, she often has to read several books). Certain books are meant to be possessed in an e-version as well as hardcover.
    Like your mom I have boxes filled with books which take away from our living space. Some books I cannot part from others I give to people who will equally enjoy them.
    Since two years we have introduced Kindles at our school, and we noticed many students, who otherwise will not read, show an increased interest in reading when they are allowed to check out a Kindle.

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    1. Good to hear these can coexist so beautifully. Interesting piece you include on students beginning to read more with Kindles. I wonder if any studies have come out on that. And we know our country needs to read more so anything that encourages that is a good thing.

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  22. I really love the feeling I get when reading a real book. I love the way books smell and how they look stacked on my shelves in my room. When I moved from Arizona to Chicago the only piece of furniture I asked for was a bookshelf. I cannot imagine a day when I’ll prefer having a kindle over a book. I can see the appeal but it’s just not for me!

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    1. Yes! “The way they smell and how they look”. You know what I really love about this Malori? When we moved to Phoenix we were always so sad that no one had books in their living rooms. We couldn’t understand it. So to know that you love books and love having them around you is the best news ever.

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  23. When the Kindle first came out I bought one with the idea if I didn’t like it, I would return it. When the Kindle II came out I gave the Kindle I to my brother who didn’t think he would like it. There is something to be said for having your library in your pocket(book). I never get into an unexpected delay wishing I had brought a book. I never sit waiting wishing I had brought the other book. I never forget a good book recommendation because I can buy the book immediately. As my eyes age, I can adjust the font depending on lighting or weariness. I can still highlight, underline and make notes. And now that the Kindle App is available for all devices, I am really never caught flat-footed without something to read since I always have my phone.

    It took me less than 30 minutes to ‘fall in love’ with the Kindle.

    Yes, there is something warm and inviting and comforting about curling up with a good book, and I sometimes do that when I am home. But I do so like the advantages of the Kindle.

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    1. “Library in your pocketbook” oh, I like this. And less than 30 minutes to fall in love? That’s impressive. True statement is my last sentence on the blog. I really want one!! And I agree with you, I’m not planning to get rid of these books and will still want to curl up on the couch with them. Just want my cake and frosting.

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  24. Bettie and I each got a Kindle for Christmas too. I’ve read two books on it already. You quoted from a book on your blog recently – something about what a billion Muslim really think. I was preparing for a talk on that this week and felt that I needed more material from that book. But how it get it by Sunday when I have to speak? I rubbed my Aladin Lamb (Kindle) and within a minute it came! Hu Addleton

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    1. Hu – this is the best example of the convenience of a Kindle!! Glad you were Kindled the same year as Polly and Ralph! Keep on rubbing your Aladin Lamp and so glad you read and commented.

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  25. I’m on the fence about an e-reader. I too get suffocated by too many books, but I don’t like what e-readers represent. There are a lot of older books that I can’t find in an e-book format, and some of my best books are found at used sales. Now I’ve adapted to the iPod and have 12,000 songs on there. I miss the cover art of record albums but I like the convenience. So I can adapt eventually to anything.

    What I would miss the most if starting buying e-books would be in biographies and histories. Looking up footnotes, the index, the photos and maps. I have no intention of buying a tablet, so it would only be in gray ink e-book and that would in many ways be less convenient and readable.

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    1. Used book sales and stores are wonderful. Getting lost in the process, it’s like time stops. You trace an interesting evolution going from record albums to ipod with the capability of all those songs. I think some of that is what happens with e-readers for people. I like the idea for travel :). Have a birthday coming up and going to see if anyone is willing to go over to the dark side to buy me one!

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  26. Ha! Great post Marilyn! It’s so true that many people are firmly in one camp or the other. However, why can’t somebody be both? I love to read, love the feel of a book in my hand, but also enjoy lying in bed at night with my Nook and not needing a reading light. It’s also great for not having to take a stack of 12 books on a 2 week long vacation – you can bring a few hard copies and download the rest on your e-reader. Compromise! Having said all that, however, I refuse to download any children’s books or let my kids read on it – I want them to learn the love of actual books first!
    ps- We Nook-ed my English professor, VP of a Community College Mom for Christmas and she hasn’t put it down – nor has it stopped her from buying actual books! :)

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    1. Love this! Love that you have your little “nook” secret but make sure your kids learn to love books….and libraries! And love that you nooked your mom and that she is hooked. I was just talking about you the other day as Jonathan is doing dual-enrollment at Bunker Hill and we are thrilled. Will write you more about it. Thanks for commenting.

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  27. I am laughing Marilyn! We got “kindled” at Christmas – His and Hers. I’ve downloaded one book, experimenting with the dictionary (which I use often), getting on FB, and exploring other options. Finding out that I can “zoom” is a plus because some of us who are 80+ need small print magnified. Will it ever replace the cozy warmth of holding a book in my hands?? Wait and see. Hey, my grandkids think we have just about arrived! They gave us a snazzy digital camera, challenging us to keep in step with the ever-changing world of electronics. What is next?

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    1. This brings up a good point – my kids and their cousins are always thrilled when they can relate technologically with their grandparents. In this era it fosters relationship. So I say good for you with both of you having Kindles!! And we expect some great photography with your snazzy camera.

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  28. I think I am in the anti E Book camp for now. There is something so tactile and refreshing about reading a real book. The smell of the pages, the feel of the paper on your hands.

    However I did get my girlfriend a Kobo reader for Christmas and she absolutely loves it. So maybe books are doomed to the dark pages of history?

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    1. Those are perfect words – “tactile and refreshing”. Interesting that you were willing to see beyond that and get your girlfriend an e-reader! Perhaps that’s what neutral is in the case of e-readers vs. “real” books. In our family, Christmas morning sitting around in our pajamas with new books is pretty magical. I think there’s a fear that we’ll lose that….but in the mean time, we really do need to get rid of some of these books. Thanks for dropping by!

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