My sister and her family gave me a Barnes and Noble gift card for Christmas.* Today I went to redeem it.
I was good: I did not buy very much. I bought Les Miserables, because I want to reread the book (all 1000 pages of it). I bought The Disappearing Spoon, and Other True Tales of Madness, Love and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean. I bought a Simon and Schuster Mega Crossword book (S&S crossword books are great because they have perforated pages which are easy to remove). Along with those, I am rereading Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise.**
They did not have in stock the other books I wanted — Wolf Hall by Hillary Manet (they had the sequel, Bring Up the Bodies, but I wanted to read the first book in the series) or The Particle at the End the Universe by Sean M. Carroll. I decided to wait on the Errol Morris book about Jeffrey McDonald until it comes out in paperback.
So I have reading for a little while. I didn’t want to buy too much — I do want to actually live in my bedroom, after all. I need to get rid of three books. (Five actually: I got two books for Christmas.)
Although I don’t have a Kindle, Nook or iPad, I can certainly understand the attraction of ebook readers. (I use my phone to read when stuck in long lines, but the screen is too small to read for a great length of time). You still can’t take them in the tub — or to the park, if it looks like rain, dog-ear the pages or write comments in the margins, though.
*In a case of like knowing like, I had gotten her and her husband Barnes and Noble gift cards as well.
**Non-historical nonfiction books I read once pretty quickly. If the book is interesting (The Signal and the Noise is), intelligent (definitely), well-written (very much so), and if the author does not say anything egregiously stupid (Silver doesn’t), I reread it to more thoroughly understand and mentally respond. I may do this more than once: I read The Tipping Point three times before I decided that Malcolm Gladwell had too simplistic a vision of the world. Freakonomics did not get reread even once: I was all on board with what Steven Levitt was saying, until I hit the chapter on voting (which is in the revised edition). Levitt epically failed (as my kids would say) the “egregiously stupid” challenge and I decided I didn’t trust what he was saying on other issues.