First Kindle (book?)

I can’t think of a good title for this post, but I don’t want to be too precious about blogging, so, it’s an uninspired one.

I also can’t figure out if a book that I read on an e-reader is properly a book, or does it become something else (like Kindling?)  if it’s being read on a Kindle?

I got my iPad a couple of weeks ago. All of my anticipation had to do with downloading my first e-book. Part of this fantasizing was related to my reading Lush Life by Richard Price on the subway, the hardcover edition (a remainder found at the Strand for $10! signed by the author!). Originally, it was strictly on the bedside table, but I couldn’t put it down, so it was commuting with me.

For half a second, I considered downloading Lush Life as my first e-book, but then I felt like that would cancel out the fantastic remainders find. Maybe my first e-book should be something light and fun? I ignored that instinct and downloaded the book at the top of my to-read list, We the Animals by Justin Torres.

When I got on the train after work, there is was, waiting for me in the Kindle app. I started reading it, but it just felt strange in the Kindle context. Two stops later, I pulled Lush Life out of my bag. That night, I downloaded I’m So Happy For You, a book I wanted to read because the author wrote a fantastic Op Ed in the New York Times problematizing the impending Success Charter School slated to open in my neighborhood this fall. It’s a much lighter read than We the Animals, and I tore through it on my iPad in no time.

I keep coming back to We the Animals, but I can’t help wanting to read it in print. Maybe it’s just me being too precious about content, in the same way I’m finding myself being too precious with blogging, as if there is something sacred about putting words in print anymore (or maybe there is, but nothing too sacred). I find myself thinking about the significance of me, a green academic, working toward tenure, writing a blog and the role that such writing may–or may never–play in that process versus the digital palimpsest of mindless comments that characterize the practice of writing on the Internet in a lot of cases. Perhaps I don’t want a book to “feel” like a string of comments on YouTube ranging from cruel to dadaist, and that’s why I’m finding serious literature and my Kindle app a funny fit.

About Jessica Hochman

I am an assistant professor at Pratt Institute in the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) where I also coordinate the LMS Program (school librarians, for the uninitiated). I live in Brooklyn, NY.
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