I love my kindle, and am so, so so grateful to Chris for giving it to me for my birthday. I actually have no excuse to put off reading something I’ve been meaning to read for months, or maybe years. I spend so much time on the bus, and that makes for so much potential reading time, that I should have stopped making excuses months ago. I wasn’t sure about how I would feel about reading without being able to feel a book in my hands, and having the physical movement of turning the crisp pages, but I really enjoy reading my kindle. It’s one of the most special presents I’ve ever had (I know how long Chris had to save up for it, and knowing he’d cut back just to get me that means so much). If you travel a lot, I’d definitely say it’s worth it.
The kindle store has so much choice, books I read when I was much younger, books I’d never heard of, books I’ve always wanted to try reading and books I’d never read in a million years. Actually, seeing Fifty Shades of Grey sitting at the top of the bestseller list filled me with so much rage. When the Fifty Shades fever (which I wrote about, wishing it would go away) took off, I started getting looks as I was reading “Broadmoor Revealed”, quietly passing judgement as they assumed I was reading that heap of crap. So thank you, EL James, you’ve created a whole new kind of literary stigma.
Broadmoor Revealed was the first book I read on the kindle, and I was surprised as to how easy it was to read. I very quickly got used to turning the pages, and the screen was surprisingly easy to read. It helps that the first book I read was so very interesting, telling stories of Victorian criminals who were placed into Broadmoor hospital because they were mentally ill. I’ve always read a lot of non-fiction, and most of that was about serial murder. In the past I’ve found books on certain serial killers terrifying (I must confess to hiding a book about BTK under a pile of laundry so it wouldn’t get me when I was sleeping), but on the whole I find them utterly fascinating.
I then moved on to downloading books termed as classics, not just because they were deemed as books everyone should read, but because they were free and I’m on a limited budget. I decided upon the next book I read – The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I’d only heard of it through the film Easy A out of my complete ignorance. I’ve never seen the movie version mentioned in Easy A either, where Demi Moore takes a lot of baths. I wasn’t quite aware of what I was letting myself in for.
Have you ever had a book, which you know is written in your native language, but you’re not quite sure it really was? I’ve never been more thankful for something to have a built-in dictionary. I found the archaeic language almost completely impenetrable, and the slow progression I was making was frustrating me. I’m far from a slow reader, and the kindle uses percentages as opposed to page numbers. Seeing the numbers creeping up so slowly was disheartening, but I strengthened my resolve to get through it. I’m a person of the “I’ve started now, so I won’t stop” mentality, and I hate not finishing things. It was difficult, but it wasn’t going to defeat me. So I persevered.
Over time, I got used to the fact it was going to take me a long time to get through. I stopped feeling like I was swimming through mud and began truly appreciating the complexity of Hawthorne’s writing. He is a great lover of metaphor, which is something I really appreciate (I love being able to picture my own image of what the world characters are living in). The symbolism of Hester’s scarlet letter shifting from a symbol of her sin to that of her own identity, eventually coming to stand for “Able” was also very interesting, it shows how society can place one idea on the scarlet letter, but owing to Hester’s actions, society became able to move past that idea, and the A could eventually come to symbolise “Acceptance”.
I found myself coming to care about Hester’s happiness, instead of wondering why I was reading a book which I found so inaccessable. I wanted her to be with Rev. Dimmesdale, for them to come out in public and be happy together. I was upset when Rev. Dimmesdale died, because after all Hester had been through, I just wanted her to be happy. She deserved it after having borne the ire of the people around her for so long by herself, and never implicated the Reverend.
My new reading challenge, as suggested to me by Chris, is Of Human Bondage, by W. Somerset Maugham has started out in much the same way as The Scarlet Letter, though this time I feel my progress is even slower and the book is lacking the archaeic language. When Phillip was young, I felt very sorry for him, and I felt the pages drag in much the same as his days did. Where I am at in the novel just now, he is happy and I’m finding it a much easier (though still slow) read. I’m starting to see the subtleties in Maugham’s writing now too. I just needed to give it time.
Up next, is something totally new, and totally different. Whenever I finish Of Human Bondage, I’ll be reading Caitlin Moran‘s How to be a Woman – the first book I’ve paid for to read on the kindle.