As I have told my friends so many times that they insisted on buying me one, I am not really an e-reader kind of person.
I like the feel and smell of books. I like turning pages. I like having books stacked around me where I can rummage through them to find my favorite bits.
At the time, I blamed Jonathan Franzen, whose doorstop of a novel didn't travel well.
I should have been carrying a backup book or at least a New Yorker, but I got the call and ran out of the house without thinking. It was stupid and careless and I paid the price.
Northwestern may be a first-rate medical institution, but it is not even a third-rate library. Golf magazine? Please.
It occurred to me then that an e-reader could have spared me a lot of suffering.
Upon seeing this tiny crack in my e-resistance, my friends moved in and bought me a Kindle. I think they knew it could never really be cool until I started using one. I read The Imperfectionists and some Oscar Wilde. I downloaded some free classics. I had a short and unsatisfying fling with Ian Fleming.
Then I hit an e-wall. The next couple of books on my list were short story and humor collections. I wanted them on the shelf, because the only way to read this type of book is to roam carelessly through the pages, waiting for the moment you lock eyes with a passage or a title and Susan Orlean makes you spill your wine.
In a few days I will be leaving town for a one-night stand with Tom Stoppard and a few days of drinking and dining with people for whom, against all odds, ink stains are still an occupational hazard. Someday they will tell their grandchildren about newspapers, magazines and books that operated with no power source whatsoever.
Still, it is the perfect opportunity to get to know my Kindle a little better.
But the Stoppard collection I want isn't there, so I end up buying the hefty paperback. My traveling BFF, a sleek-packing, well-traveled, almost New Yorker who mocks my inability to pack lightly or get to my hotel using local transportation, will disapprove.
"Where is the Kindle we bought you?" she will say accusingly. Then she will demand to see my subway and bus receipts.
The receipts, I believe, can be easily scavenged. But I can't figure out what to put on the Kindle. Is it a backup? Do I pay to load e-copies of the actual books I've already started? Convenient but expensive. So how do I separate my reading list into actual books and books that will exist only on screen? Does this make me seem old and techno-resistant? Who do you think even buys books? Duh.
As always, if the last book you loved had the words "Eat" or "Pray" in the title, your recommendations will be disqualified. This is not to say that my taste in books is any better than yours - just different. In a good way.
Hah. I am kidding, of course. But seriously, send me some titles. This thing holds millions or something like that.
From the SK takes Manhattan archives: Milkmaids and Man Candy in Manhattan