Frume Sarah, of Frume Sarah's World, is an enjoyable writer, a kindred spirit and someone who you just have to know.
So I raise my glass of water, juice, soy milk or wine in welcome, ask you to sit back and enjoy as she takes us through her thoughts about eReaders. See how well she knows me already? She knew just what topic would be the perfect fit for my 'hood. Now go, sit back and enjoy ...
I have a love/hate relationship with my iPad. More specifically I have a love/hate relationship with the Nook and Kindle apps on my iPad. Sure, the convenience of an eReader is unsurpassed. To have every book ever written, more-or-less, at my fingertips is both convenient and enticing.
But, as I have discovered, it isn't just that I love to read. I love books. I love everything about them. I feel as Eudora Welty did, as she described in One Writer's Beginnings, "...I cannot remember a time when I was not in love with them -- with the books themselves, cover and binding and the paper they were printed on, with their smell and their weight and with their possession in my arms, captured and carried off to myself." Books have always had a physical presence in my life.
I see a direct correlation between my love of the printed word and my exposure to books as a young child. The adults around me were readers. That my parents and grandparents had libraries in the home did not strike me as out-of-the-ordinary. Not until visitor after visitor would remark on its presence. Additionally, our synagogue housed its library in my parents' home until it moved into its permanent building. Never was I at a loss for something to read.
I admit, the instantaneous access to millions of book titles was intoxicating. At first. No matter what my mood, I could select a book to match it. Which might explain why I have so many uncompleted titles on my iPad. Never had the chance to read The Complete Collection of Sherlock Holmes? No problem. Amazon.com can have it on my Kindle app in seconds. Same with Household Tales, by Brothers Grimm and Aesop's Fables, among others.
A woman possessed, I downloaded dozens of titles in anticipation of any and all states of mind. Only to find that most of the time, I find the sheer number of options overwhelming.
For an eReader to be a perfect choice, it needs to correct the following flaws:
1. Bad things happen when one takes the iPad into the bath - I read anywhere but unwinding in a bath with a book in hand is my favourite way to unwind after a long day. Not recommended with electronic devices. (So I hear...)
2. A Danielle Steel novel feels the same as War and Peace - I'm a tactile person. Reading is, historically, a physical experience. Each book has its own feel. Its own scent. And a heft to match the subject. A Barbara Cartland romance just shouldn't feel the same as Les Miserables.
3. Observant Jews don't use electronic devices on the Sabbath - For those who refrain from anything with an on/off switch for a twenty-five hour period each week, keeping all of one's reads on an eReader means no reading on the Sabbath. And what is better on the day of rest than spending it between the pages of a good book?
4. Impossible to snoop around a person's shelves - Most people can't resist peeking in the medicine cabinets of others. How rude! But give me five minutes scoping out someone's bookshelves and I can tell you everything there is to know about the owner.
5. Eliminates IRL browsing ... especially in used bookstores - For the serious reader there are few pastimes more enjoyable than perusing the aisles of a bookstore. Used bookstores offer particular pleasure and unexpected finds. Not to mention the interaction with fellow bibliophiles.
For convenience nothing beats the apps on my iPad. As far as the complete reading experience, though, I won't be abandoning the printing press any time soon.
About Frume Sarah: She is a FORTY year-old fun, hip, Rabbi who loves to bring people closer to God. She is married to her high school sweetheart and together they are being brought up by their three crazy kids. For more on Frume Sarah and the incredible life she lives, check out Frume Sarah's World.