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Odes

Ode to Kindles

Kindles are a traveler’s best friend. I have had mine for almost a decade. I still remember the entire suitcase of books I had to pack for studying abroad in Italy. It weighed the maximum a suitcase on an international flight could, and lugging it through train stations and onto the Funiculare was in a word, difficult. I had similar issues on the way to Taiwan; although, I was spared having to take textbooks. The second year in Taiwan, a new Fulbright scholar introduced me to the new technology that was the kindle. He described how it was electronically placed ink that would not hurt your eyes the way a computer does, how it saved battery life efficiently, how it could hold thousands of books, and how it was barely a pound. A single pound to carry any book you might be interested in reading? This was AMAZING! I thought about it for a while. Kindles were not cheap at that point, but I decided this was something I really needed. I ordered one from Amazon, and they shipped it across the ocean. After getting power over attorney for my kindle (in case it needs to go on a field trip), I was able to start using it, and it has never disappointed. Reading books and articles is simple. The lightweight makes it perfect for traveling and backpacking. It can conveniently adjust text size and direction for whatever comfort you need. It keeps track of where you left off when reading last and will put itself to sleep. It does not give off light so you can read as long as you and the battery last. The battery meanwhile lasts on average a month of reading for me. It will say “low battery” weeks before it finally gives up. The books it contains are a huge mixture of things I want, need, and are inexpensive to read. It has the capability to connect to the computer, wi-fi, or even 3G, and this made it a more reliable way to connect to the world in an emergency in the mountains than any cell phone, even today. It has functions that help with reading, notes, and annotation. It will even read to you in a strange voice, but it gives that much more accessibility to books. So many relaxing times have been spent with the kindle that I think it may be my most used electronic device. The only danger is in getting carried away when you are buying books, but they will give so many hours of entertainment that there could be little better in the world.