Loyal as a book
Besides the overflowing library with many unread books in upstairs study, my Kindle also contains books that I haven’t gotten to or have stopped reading. I use the Kindle because there’s no more room for hard copy books in my house. I have gotten rid of a hundred or more but this seems to be the limit. I can’t part with them.
Many people eschew the Kindle because it doesn’t feel like they are reading a book. This rationalizes a predilection for the printed page, suggesting resistance to the insidious advance of the Digital Age. I’m not sure how consistent these people are, not knowing their magazine and newspaper reading habits. I have no problem reading Harpers, New Yorker, and Atlantic articles online. A great international writer, Mirorad Pavic, author of The Dictionary of the Khazars, before he died a few years ago, had several books and plays available online.
Reluctant as I was to use the Kindle at first, I accepted its necessity and soon was publishing my own work on Kindle. I have many books on the Amazon Kindle, one is novel that is also in paperback and another originally was published as an e-book. Sales have been sparse, even when I reduced the prices more than 60%. One might expect friends (real and Facebook) and relatives to purchase them, but it seems not as many own a Kindle as I thought would (or they have Nooks).
To facilitate reading on Kindle, I try to buy books less than 250 pages. Longer works seem to take forever, especially as the percentage of the book one has read is at the bottom of the Kindle page. Doing ten pages or even fifteen, and remain on the same percent number is, frankly, depressing. There are exceptions to this, usually non-fiction works that I can put down (as if I’m reading a hardcopy):
Lost at Sea by Jon Ronson (author of Men Who Stare at Goats) – one of the interesting pieces from this book is called “Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes”, which he also made into a film (I’ve added the link).
A Supposedly Funny Thing I’ll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace
One Hundred Names for Love by Diane Ackerman – My writing mentor, Paul West, suffered a severe stroke in 2005 and suffered aphasia. Ackerman took it upon herself to retrieve her husband’s ability to speak and grow his vocabulary. West had been able to compose a memoir, a book of poems, and novels before he died in 2015.
Ninety Percent of Everything by Rose George – this work opened up a level of reality in the world I had barely thought about.
I have used Kindle to pick up four works by one of my favorite authors, Flann O’Brien. Myles Away from Dublin is a collection of his newspaper pieces not found in the Dublin Times, where his most famous column, Cruiskeen Lawn, ran for thirty years. Myles before Myles includes O’Brien’s work before 1940. Rhapsody in Stephen’s Green: The Insect Play, a comedy, was produced in Dublin in 1943. The Short Fiction of Flann O’Brien collects five stories from the Irish, nine stories in English, and an unfinished novel.
Kindle books can be inexpensive and I found one by my uncle, Trevor Nevitt Dupuy, a military historian, The Battle of Austerlitz, and another by his father, Col. Ernest Dupuy, St Vith: The Lion in the Way (the 106th Infintry Division in World War II). Then there are several that were free:
Bertha Garlan – a novel by Arthur Schnitzler, who also wrote Dream Story (the source for Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut) -- thus far, unread
Memoirs of Aaron Burr – over 600 pages, unread; I have strong feelings that Burr is one of the most underestimated of the Founding Fathers. Two other books on my Kindle are Burr, Hamilton, and Jefferson: A Study on Character by Roger E. Kennedy and Jefferson’s Vendetta: The Pursuit of Aaron Burr and the Judiciary by Joseph Wheelen.
On Liberty – John Stuart Mill
Sophocles’ Oedipus Trilogy
Homer and Classical Philology – Friedrich Nietzsche
An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding – David Hume -- unread
We Philologists – from the Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche Volume 8
On the Future of Our Educational Institutions – Friedrich Nietzsche
Eureka: A Prose Poem – Edgar Allen Poe – unread
You have noticed that I haven't read several of the Kindle books. In fact, the Kindle libriary resembles the one in my attic in that where I have books that I can't throw away believing I will read them some day.