Note: The One-Eyed Girl and Her Kindle

I was reading my Kindle on the Metro and someone asked what I was reading. I answered, and they replied: “Oh, I read that in paperback. Kindles don’t feel like books, you know?”

Yes. I know.
But on my Kindle, every book is a large-print edition.

You can’t have a retina re-attached without a few long-term consequences. For the über-curious/nosy: Google “scleral buckle” (sans photos). While much of my vision returned, my eye can’t focus on small details. With just one eye capable of reading, eye-strain is an immediate concern.

Since discovering the miracle of adjustable font, I have more readily embraced ebooks. The fact they often cost more than paperbacks is an annoyance, but they offer more to me now than a printed copy. I can still read print editions, and frequently do, but I can’t read for as long a period as I can on my Kindle. For something mammoth like A Game of Thrones, my Kindle is a must.

And now I’m bothered on the Metro, on the street, on the Internet, for not really loving books — for not being one of those bookworms to have a mild orgasm when touching a supple cover, highlighting a favorite passage, or inhaling the musty scent of a well-loved, dead tree.

Some of us love our Kindles because they allow us to read more than we could without them. When I read, there comes a point when I see the words less and less and just hear them in my head or see fantastic visuals. What does it matter to me if I turn a page or click a button to do so? And those people who rhapsodize about the smell of books clearly never borrowed an old copy of The Silmarillion that smelled like moldy pickles. (I still haven’t read it.)

In middle school and high school, I was teased frequently. Mostly because of my obvious inability to develop breasts, but also because I was always reading. People knocked books out of my hands and chanted: “Reading causes cancer! Reading causes cancer!” My only friends were fellow book lovers, the people who made me feel normal (and maybe spectacular) for reading a book a day. Now, these same “book lovers” mock us Kindle lovers for not ingesting literature in the One True Form. I’m being expelled from my own tribe!

They see me as an interloper, as a Johnny-come-lately who didn’t know what a book was until a screen was wrapped around it.


Oh, and don’t discount the other obvious and frequently overlooked upside of Kindle books: the ability to read embarrassing books in secret…
Is she reading Anna Karenina? …Or is she reading Twilight?
I have glasses and look nerdy, so most will assume the former (which is a really fantastic book if you find a good translation). See! — I can be a snob too!

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