Friday, May 22, 2009

Kindle Update!



As you may have read earlier this week, I finished my first book on my Kindle, The Help. I can't imagine a better book to break in my new toy. Although I spewed out umpteen wonderful attributes about my Kindle when I first received it, now I can give you some actual feedback.

Perhaps because my Kindle is new and fun to mess with, and yes, The Help was a phenomenal book, but I read it lightning fast. I can sometimes be intimidated by a book's size, and get off to a slow start knowing it is going to take me forever. This is out of mind with the Kindle. There are no page numbers per se, just a "percentage read" notation at the bottom. No bad covers, no annoying blurbs on the back. You just dive in without baggage weighing you down. You then become so engrossed in reading that you almost try to turn a page. It is the size of a book, and honestly, you forget that it's not. Even better, there are no pages flipping around so you don't lose your place. You can bookmark wherever you stop.

You can adjust the size of the font for those of us that have some challenges with books with tiny words. I would enlarge the font even more when I was blow-drying my hair and was farther away from the book. (Don't laugh - I multi task!)

I was able to easily mark passages that were compelling, as well as make notes, then refer back to them later. This is something I usually do in a journal, which is fine, but this way, everything is in one place.

Another thing I love...well, its kind of silly and superficial, but when the Kindle goes on snooze, it shows very cool pictures of famous authors. Like Harriet Beecher Stowe, Oscar Wilde, Edgar Allen Poe, John Milton, Lewis Carroll and Jane Austen. I know I'm not the only one who revels in these types of things!

With the help of Molly from My Cozy Booknook I found two websites where you can download hundreds of free books. They all seem to be classics that are old enough to qualify for public domain. I've already downloaded Great Expectations, Little Women, Anna Karenina, The Woman in White, and Jane Eyre. The web navigation is a bit cumbersome...not something you would want to sit and toy with for long, but easy enough to use for the downloads.

I have also signed up for subscriptions to daily blogs that are updated automatically each time there is a post. I am still in a 14-day trial period, but after that they are $1 a month each. I haven't decided if I will keep them or not, but its fun to play. The three blogs are The Book Stacks, DailyMe Literati, and Write Anyway. There are 4,458 blogs to choose from, ranging from Sports, Travel, Arts & Entertainment, Humor & Satire, and more. Through the web navigator, you could actually pull up just about any blog you wanted, but they aren't formatted for the Kindle, and it is difficult to view properly.

So far, any downsides? It doesn't light up. I'm not sure why this is. I would think it would be an easy feature to add, but what do I know? The only time I need a light is when I'm reading at night while hubby is sleeping, which tends to annoy him anyway. I can live with it, or attach a booklamp to it. Its not a hill to die on. As I said before, the web navigation is tedious, but this was not the purpose for which I wanted the Kindle. If I need to buzz around online, I will do it on a computer.

I know there are many more things about this wonderful device that I have yet to discover. I will continue to put it through its paces. I will need to concentrate on finishing some books on the printed page before I leave on my travels, but by mid-summer I should have more to report!

18 comments:

farmlanebooks said...

That sounds really good. It is the ability to read all those free books which really appeals to me. I've got The Woman in White here, so let me know when you're planning to read it, and perhaps we can do a little read-along.

The kindle isn't available here in the UK, so none of the web applications would work here. Can you plug it into your computer to download things onto it? It is still tempting to get one....maybe I'll ask for one for Christmas.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Jackie - I haven't tried downloading that way, but I believe you can do it through your computer. When I get a chance, I will look into it! I'll let you know when I will read The Woman in White. It probably won't be for awhile. I will be completely out of touch when we are in Poland, but maybe when I get back? Like early July? That would be fun!

Beth F said...

Sounds like it's pretty cool! I don't think it works in Europe yet (I mean the WiFi part). I'm still on the fence. I want it, but . . .

Frances said...

WOW! I had no idea it could do these extras you are talking about. Love the idea of marking sections especially. How does that work?? Am going to have to succumb. Temptation has been so great for so long now. Have Kindle app on my iPhone but that is small. Fine but not ideal. Temptress!!

Molly said...

I am so glad that you are enjoying the Kindle 2. I must say I am very impressed at your multi-tasking talents: I have never tried to dry my hair and read on the Kindle :)

Carrie K. said...

No internet when you're in Poland? How will I survive without your blog posts and comments at my place? :(

You've almost got me convinced I want a Kindle. Almost...

I loved Anna Karenina. Long, but good.

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

Well now I KNOW we are long-lost sisters (must talk to parents about this). You're loves and complaints are MINE EXACTLY! I couldn't agree more. Plus, you are the only other person I've come across who uses the phrase "hill you want to die on." LOL.

Amazon has a lot of the classics for free download, too, making it super easy. The Victorian group on GoodReads is reading Villette (Charlotte Bronte) for June and I just downloaded it for free on Amazon. Plus War and Peace just for kicks.

You better have downloaded the Zombie book --- ha.

Amy Reads Good Books said...

Great review! That's one more that is nudging me toward a Kindle. :)

Sandy Nawrot said...

Beth - I am thinking you could still buy the books on Amazon and download them to the Kindle via the connection cord it comes with...

Frances - I know, I am evil. Amazon should pay me for the free advertising. There is a function where you just highlight a passage and it saves it to an accessible file. You can also add your own notes to the passage as well.

Molly - I've been doing the hair drying trick most of my life, but as I get older, my eyes don't work as well! That bigger font works nicely!

Carrie - yeah, no internet for a majority of the 2 1/2 weeks. My nephew-in-law has a home computer that I should be able to use, but we won't be at their home for much of the trip! Ahhhh! I guess I'm going to have to just write up my reviews and save them, so I can bombard you all when I get home!

Michele - haha! That is a favorite phrase of mine...a have a few favorites, some of them not proper for public viewing! I am all over the free downloads, especially with my lack of schooling in the classics. So get this...my Kindle is attached to my husband's account, since he bought it for me. So every time I buy something, HE gets the confirmation e-mail! I'm going to hang myself! So I am waiting for more Amazon gift cards for my birthday to buy books, including Zombies!

Sandy Nawrot said...

Amy - nudge, nudge. Sorry I can't help it. I'll keep testing it, and maybe by the time a birthday, anniversary or Xmas rolls around, you will be convinced!

Iliana said...

I think the note taking thing would be the best! I take notes of books as I'm reading but sometimes my notes end up getting lost in the shuffle of all that paper around me! haha... So glad you are still enjoying it and yay for finding lots of free books to download!

The Bumbles said...

I will need to give one of these a test drive for a few days. Your post is crossing off all of my reasons for thinking I didn't want/need one. However, as I rely on the library for 90% of my books and gifts for the other 10% I would need to be able to ensure I could at some point find whatever I wanted for free. Can you make the font big enough to read it on a treadmill? It would be awesome to not have to hold the pages down. And it doesn't strain the eyes? I stare at a computer all day with a glare screen on it and then look at my laptop every evening. Reading makes my eyes tired in paper form - is the Kindle better, worse or the same?

JoAnn said...

I'm really enjoying your Kindle reviews! I want one, but really need to see it 'up close and personal' before taking the plunge.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Bumbles - You can get that font really big. It worked for me on my elliptical AND drying my hair! I didn't notice any eye strain either - the screen isn't bright like a computer or the printed page and it feels pretty gentle when you're reading it. The background is almost like a light grey. Your best bet is to try to find someone that has one and just mess with it.

Diane said...

You sound like you are really enjoying The Kindle. (I LOVED The Help too!

I though The Kindle had a light feature? I'll have to ask friends who have them.

Melody said...

Sounds great, Sandy!
I don't think we have this little gadget over here... but even if it does, I'll have to consider since I don't read e-books, but still it sounds like one cool gadget to me!

Serena said...

I'm glad you are having a great time with your Kindle. If i can get me mom to surf the internet, maybe I can invest in this for her...then she can increase the font size...something she constantly complains about in books.

farmlanebooks said...

None of the WiFi/internet options will work in Europe. If you are taking it to Poland then you'll need to make sure it is packed with books before you set off!

I'd love to hear how easy it is to download books onto it from your computer once you have a bit of spare time.

PS. My husband was in Poland with work all week - he just got back yesterday. Unfortuantely he was stuck in a hotel all week, so didn't get to see much of the country. I'll have to rely on your reports when you get back!