Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Last Book - A tale of a digital Christmas

This year's holiday season has been a little different for me - I seemed to be inundated with new technology. Most years I get books, calendars, bath stuff. This year was a little different. Because Mike and I got lost on our way to a comedy show in Redwood City (we ended up in the Port of Redwood City and were saved by his iPhone) we gifted each other with GPS systems - yes I now have a Garmin. Gone are the days when I will have to sit with a list of addresses in front of my computer printing out directions from Mapquest. Finding my way to Holiday fairs just won't be the same.

My cousin Chris also gifted me with a very special gift. Chris works for Sprint and he added me to his Family and Friends account for my personal phone - I now have a phone that costs about 1/4 of what my old phone did every month - but even better it is a Samsung Android Phone. So while I traveled this holiday I didn't have to carry a computer with me at all - I could check both my work and home emails from my phone. I haven't started downloading apps yet but it is on my to do list. My packing for Christmas got a little lighter - no need to bring a laptop.

My final gift leads me to the title of this post - the Last Book. As many of you know I am a voracious reader. My home office is filled with a desk, two chairs and nine bookcases heaped with books. And they aren't the only bookcases in my house - most rooms have at least one or two bookcases in them. I have always loved books and I really love reading on airplanes since it is pure uninterrupted reading time. So every time I traveled in the past I would have a suitcase loaded down with books - at least one for every day of my trip. (if you think that's crazy wait till I publish my report on the number of books I read this year - yes I kept track). Plane rides would often consume 2-3 books unless I brought magazines along as well.

All that will now change. This year I received a gift of a Kindle. Yes, a whole new world has opened up for me. I received the Kindle the day before I left for the holidays and was faced with a choice - do I just load up and bring the Kindle or do I also bring with me the book I have been waiting to read for weeks - Stephen King's Under the Dome. I had bought the book to read over Thanksgiving but my food poisoning put an end to that plan. So, when I packed for the trip I packed the Kindle, a stack of magazines, and Under the Dome. I was way behind on my magazine reading and gleefully discarded Time, Newsweeks,and O magazines on my to Rochester. While in Rochester I demonstrated for Kathy all the attributes of the Kindle and displayed the impressive list of free books which I'd downloaded at SFO while waiting for my flight. I read Kathy's books and magazines while in Rochester and a Christmas Carol on the Kindle.

Yesterday it was time to fly home and I put my Kindle and Under the Dome in my carry on and headed to the airport. I settled in at the airport and cracked open Under the Dome and commenced reading. The book was 1072 pages long and I just kept reading. Throughout both flights and at the gates I read Under the Dome, only closing it for brief breaks. When I got home yesterday I had 200 pages to go and I plowed through the rest of the book - finishing it at midnight when my luggage was finally delivered by American Airlines. So that was it - the last physical book I will ever take on a flight. Of course my house is still full of books and I certainly plan to keep buying books. But before I unpacked my carry on last night I compared the difference in the bag with just the kindle and just the book. The Kindle is so light it feels like nothing. Under the Dome was a back breaker. So while I will continue happily reading on flights my reading will now be strictly digital.

And for those who are interested I thought Under the Dome was a great read - better than some of Stephen King's latest books (Duma Key was unreadable to me) but not as good as Salem's Lot or his all time classic the Stand.

I also saw 7 movies while in Rochester so movie reviews to follow.

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