Happily Ever After
Life in The Rural Retreat with a beautiful wife, three cats, garden wildlife, a camera, a computer – and increasing amounts about running
Confessions of a Bibliophile
by admin - 22:48 on 25 July 2011
There's something wrong about a house with no books: it suggests occupants with no imagination or more sinister interests.
Since discovering Biggles and The Famous Five I've been an unashamed bibliophile. I've read avidly ever since, spent more money than is sensible when I could have used a library, and find it difficult to send volumes to the secondhand shop, to make space for more, even when I've not read them for years.
Holding a book is a pleasure, whether it be a dog-eared paperback or a calfskin-bound classic, so the concept of the ebook is something I dismissed with a sneer. Spending good money on an ebook reader was for fools.
However, I'm no digital Luddite and, while not in the same league as Matchgirl, am not averse to gadgets, hence the Pentax, the hefty Mac upstairs in the office and the handy netbook PC on which this is being typed. So it was in a spirit of experiment that I downloaded Kindle for PC on to the netbook to see what it could do. It was free, after all.
The program came pre-loaded with three starter tomes – Aesop's Fables, Treasure Island and Pride and Prejudice – which allowed me to try the Kindle reading experience straight away. It was much better than I expected.
Shifting the PC display by ninety degrees so I could see a traditionally shaped page was easy but unnecessary – reading in horizontal layout is comfortable and I got through Treasure Island (I'd forgotten how good it is) in a couple of days.
Hook the program up to your Amazon account and downloading new volumes is a 1-Click doddle; Jane Eyre and A Christmas Carol, both free, were picked at random while I learned how to do it.
And there's the biggest attraction of ebooks – there's a world of public domain, out-of-copyright literature that's available for nothing. When the new Reginald Hill or Christopher Brookmyre comes out I'll want to hold it in my hand (even though that costs more), and The Bumper Book of Black Isle Snappery could only be a glossy, top quality print volume, but a digital classic library seems like a fine idea.
The only difficulty is deciding what to choose next.
Bumper Book Update: Our list of Black Isle outlets continues to grow. The magnum opus can now be bought at the Red Kite Cafe in Munlochy, where you can sit and read it with a cup of tea and a slice of cake. Heaven.
Wildlife Update: No new sightings today, but there's a postscript following last night's action. When things had quietened down I went out to leave more Nutella and almost stumbled over Speedy, who'd returned for a third time: Mrs Speedy, I realised, for beside her, curled into the same tight ball as mum, was a very small hoglet. Ahhhh.
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