LUV - Books can fuck off. Books have caused me no end of trouble. I have a wonky little toe from a bookcase collapsing on it last year AND I have a bruised nose from that time I dozed off while reading Infinite Jest in bed.
Books are fucking arseholes.
The trouble is, I love reading. One of my happiest childhood memories is of being plonked in the back seat of my mother’s car with a bag of Pom-Bears and a stack of Magic Faraway Tree books for an afternoon (yes it was sunny, yes my mother cracked a window, it was the 80s, don’t you dare judge her), and I believe I shared this particular book-based fantasy with you on a previous LUV & HAT:
Initially, of course, I was mistrustful of Kindles. I mean, they look like knock-off Soviet iPads from the year 2525 and I’m still not completely convinced that my Kindle won’t start narrating everything in a loud Stephen Hawking voice if I ever read any erotica. But the fact is that – because Kindle screens aren’t backlit and they have electronic paper displays – reading a Kindle is just like reading a book. Only BETTER. Because:
- You can prop a Kindle up against something and read with your hands free – handy for eating, wanking, or some types of murder.
- If you’re reading a book you don’t like but it reminds you of a book you do like, you can be reading that book instead within seconds, and still have change from a fiver.
- Kindles weigh approximately the same as two bags of crisps, so you probably won’t break your nose on one.
- However they are sturdy enough to break someone else’s nose, if they - say read over your shoulder on a train and you have PMS.
When Kindles first came out I’d just spent a heady summer trying to download ebooks (remember them?) onto my PDA (remember them?) and the only ebooks available were copyright-free versions of Moby Dick, Star Trek: Voyager novelisations and THAT was IT. And Cory Doctorow novels. But now you can get most books in Kindle format (including but not limited to Star Trek: Voyager novelisations), and if they’re not available you can use your Kindle to tell the author to get with the fucking programme. That’s right, Kindles enable trolling.
But the best thing – the very best thing – about Kindles is this:
Yep, Star Trek predicted them. Welcome to the future!
- Robyn Wilder
HAT - Right, look, I’m all for Kindles in principle. This is mainly because when I go on a train, it’s harder to tell that everyone’s reading 50 Shades of Grey.
For some reason, seeing a carriage full of sour-faced old harridans visibly reading 50 Shades of Grey makes me want to kick their stupid books out of their idiot hands and scream “Fifty SHITS of FUCK OFF, more like” right into their faces. But if they’re all reading Kindles, I have no way to tell what they’re reading. They’re still all obviously reading 50 Shades of Grey, the dirty sods, but at least now I can convince myself that they’re actually reading, I dunno, Bravo Two Zero or whatever instead. It’s better this way.
So I’m all for Kindles in theory. That’s why I bought one. And buying a Kindle is actually quite exciting. It’s like buying your first computer, or your first iPod. You buy a Kindle knowing that it’ll change your life. So when my Kindle was delivered, I spent an entire evening gleefully unwrapping it like a kid at Christmas, all bright-eyed and full of wonder. I charged it. I named it - Studle (don’t worry, you couldn’t possibly hate me any more than I hate myself for this) - and made sure that everything was just right. I even put it into a special little case. And then, breathlessly, I logged into Amazon for the first time. That’s when it hit me.
It’s a book.
It’s just a fucking book.
You’re not buying anything special. You’re just buying something to read books on. Sure, you get to read them on something that Tomorrow’s World would have jizzed itself blind over, but they’re still just the same books that you wouldn’t normally bother buying in paper form because you’re too busy watching the telly or fucking around on Twitter or seeing how far you can get your index finger up your bum. Browsing Amazon for ebooks is just a horrible reminder of how shit most books are. Who even uses Amazon to buy books, anyway? The two last things I bought from Amazon were a bath plug and a bag of compost. Where’s the Kindle for bags of compost, huh? HUH?
So, no, I don’t hate Kindles because they’re killing publishing or local book shops. I don’t hate them because I don’t like reading from a screen - I spend all day reading things on screens, and I have the cold, dead, yellowing eyes of a man triple my age to prove it. I hate Kindles because they’re just fucking books. And, you know, most books are shit.
- Stuart Heritage