Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My summer is your winter

I'm not just talking to the Australians and other Southern Hemisphere types, here. I'm talking about this:

Graphic courtesy of austin.ynn.com

It is stupid hot here, y'all. And it has been for ages now. We've had 28 days so far of triple-digit temperatures with no end in sight. (Oops, except it looks like it'll only be 98 next Tuesday! Cold front!)

I have often said that I am fine living in the south, where summers are long and brutal, because you don't have to shovel heat. But I'm beginning to rethink that philosophy. The heat this summer feels like a physical thing, a sentient thing, a malevolent thing. It hunches in the yard, round-shouldered and sullen, surrounding itself with a soupy miasma of pollen and mold spores and gnats and mosquitoes. It breathes humidity on us but withholds rain. It means to do us harm if we aren't careful, I'm pretty sure.

The only way to survive it is to avoid it. We've been holing up indoors in the air conditioning as much as possible, swilling cold drinks and casting accusatory glances out the window at the unrelenting sun. We are in hibernation mode because it's too hot to go anywhere or do anything. That baseball game we went to the other night? Miserable. Dangerous. Our clothes and hair were plastered to our bodies within seconds and stayed that way the entire time, long after the sun had gone down. I actually began to wish one of the drunken loud-mouthed fratholes sitting behind us would spill his beer on me, it was so unbearably hot. (And also, then I could have punched him without going to jail! The heat makes me crazy! I'm not responsible for my actions!)

That's the only way I can explain my recent purchase of a Kindle e-book reader from Amazon. Me, the print girl! With the degree in journalism! Who spent her entire paid professional career (R.I.P.) working in print! Who mocked her husband terribly for getting excited about e-readers when they first came on the market! Who said she would never, every buy one because she needed to feel the paper and smell the cover and appreciate the fonts and white space and design choices and whatnot! Whose husband got a Kindle as a combined birthday and Father's Day present and kept talking about how awesome it was! Who was sent a coupon from Amazon that lowered the price of the model her husband had by, like, a third! And who, as I may have mentioned, is completely and totally batshit crazy from the heat!

I did it. I caved. I lost my mind, and I bought a Kindle. And I freaking looooove it. I already had the free Kindle apps for both my Android phone and my laptop, and I liked those fine, but neither was ideal. My phone's screen is super small, so increasing the font size to a comfortable level for me meant I was swiping the page every 1.7 seconds (you know, approximately). The laptop screen was better, but even though my laptop is technically portable, I don't really carry it around with me from room to room or from home to wherever it is I'm going (nowhere! because it's too hot!) at any given moment.

I like the size and weight of the Kindle. I like the added functionality the actual device has over the apps, most notably the ability to organize my books into collections. I like that it's easy to operate with one hand, and that it has page-forward and page-back buttons on BOTH sides, so I can use it either right or left-handed (very convenient when one is stretched out on the sofa with a standard poodle in one's lap, demanding to have his ears rubbed)(or when one desires to shove chips and salsa into one's pie hole in an uninterrupted fashion)(just as random examples).

I like that, unlike with my phone and laptop screens, the screen on the actual device is not illuminated or reflective and is therefore very easy on the eyes. I like that I can read sample chapters of books for free before purchasing them (or not), and that I can finally FINALLY read books when they first come out instead of waiting for the paperback (because hardbacks are difficult to read in bed, at least for a delicate flower like me). I like that it keeps me from making impulse purchases of actual, physical books which more often than not go on to become unwanted space-taking furniture in my house because I never get rid of anything.

I just like it. It keeps me off the streets, and in this weather, that's the most important thing.

P.S. The model I got is this one, with free 3G and "special offers". The special offers are static advertisements that appear as screen savers when the device is in sleep mode and as very unobtrusive banners at the bottom of the home page. They do NOT appear in the text of the book(s) at all, ever. Worth the $25 cost savings, in my opinion. I also have this cover, which I like just fine. And if you follow me on Pinterest, you'll see that I'm going a little bit nuts shopping for skins.


  1. I LUV my Kindle...and you'll find that some of those $2.99 books aren't half-bad for a quick pick-up read !
    I'm in Houston, suffering the heat also... very few bugs though, you'd think we had bats here !! lol

  2. I really like my Kindle too, especially because it's so easy on the eyes.

    I'm way north of you, but it's too hot in Illinois too!

  3. I have that very same cover.
    Also-- Check out this site for free Kindle books. I added to my RSS feed so I can quickly scan.


  4. First of all, that heat would turn me into an absolute nut job (though 60 degrees in July isn't doing me any favors, either). And, second of all, I have been poo-pooing the e-readers for years and guess who finally wants one? ME!!!!

  5. I am not missing the Texas summers at all, I must admit. And I adore my Sony, don't know what I ever did without it. I got mine because I had to leave my extensive physical book collection (started by my mother) in Texas, and swore I'd never be put in that position again. So ebooks were a Godsend for that. And the getting things on release day...oh yeah, come on instant gratification!

  6. Kindle aside it's STOOPID HOT here too.
    Fall, beloved fall, where are thou?

  7. My husband gave me a Nook Color for my birthday last year and I love it so. so. much. And? I enjoy the fact that I can download books from my library since it's adobe compatable. I still read (as my son calls them) analog books (that kills me), but boy-oh-boy do I love my nook.

  8. My one experience of Dallas in August makes me very sympathetic to your plight, and I was told at the time that the weather was "not all that bad" by the locals.

  9. I'm still working in print and am about to jump on the ereader bandwagon. The biggest decision at this point is whether to get the Kindle or an iPad. The iPad has far more uses and and I can put the Kindle app on it, but the e-ink and glare-free screen on the Kindle are important.

    But I may have to wait a bit longer… looks like Amazon is planning to release a tablet in or around October on the Google Android platform It could prove to be the best of both!

  10. I've only quickly looked at a Kindle, but then I've only quickly looked at an iPad, but my main advantage of the Kindle is that you can't see your own, ageing face looking down reflected in the glass.

  11. depending on what free sites you use, you can get a ton of different FREE books for the kindle that are not just from Amazon! I also highly recommend Calibre, the software that allows you to convert into any format and download cover art. Never have to worry about something being in ePub format again :)