BOOKS: Kindle cruising
Updated: Jun 24
You can tell a lot about a person by their library.
When I walk into someone's house and they don't have a book shelf, I'm thinking,
"Where are all the books?"
But, when I step inside someone's hallway or livingroom or kitchen, and see a wall lined with books, I feel right at home.
Of course, being the anti-tech person that I am, being pulled screaming and kicking into the 21st century, it took me a while to realise that most people have Kindles now - and have done since November 2007 (only 13 years ago), when they sold for a little under £400. Fortunately, now, they are a little under a third of that price.
Kindles are either a device all of their own or they take up prime real estate inside laptops and mobiles.
Until I began building a Kindle library of my own, I hadn't realised the amount of books that a device like that could carry. It's also way easier to pop it in your bag, briefcase, suitcase or even under the arm.
My, oh my, hasn't this old lady learned a thing or two!
Somehow, though, to me, a Kindle is not the same as a shelf crammed with books. Sorry Amazon.
It's only when I walk into someone's house and see books lining the walls that 'homely' sensation washes over me. A Kindle has never given me the same feeling somehow.
To me, a house without books is not a home
Even Van Life people make room for a couple of treasured paperbacks on a shelf at the back by the headboard.
I, too, live in my van and love to travel around soaking in the sights, the sounds, the sensations of the area I temporarily call my home. It's after I've hooked-up to the electric, put my kettle on the burner for a brew, and opened my doors for the fresh air, that I grab a book from my shelf and cosy up on my couch to read.
When I see inside folks homes and they have a shelf filled with worn, threadbear books with tattered corners bent to the point of tearing, and spines crinkled white with folding, it tells me a lot about that person's frame of mind.
Books give an escape to a world other than our own
Be that fiction or non-fiction.
If their shelves are crammed new, hardbacks with shiny intact covers, I see that person has a bit of an addiction for ones that are simply seen and not read.
It's also fascinating to note that one of my most 'shared' pictures on Pinterest is this one:
Why? I wonder.
Because it gives a sense of place, a solid, comfortable item that one can reach for in times of stress?
Kindles, however, present a different thing altogether. Though Kindles have been around for a long while, I've certainly not got used to them. Apparently, sales are dwindling and their popularity with people is lessening. I guess it's becasue we are sentient beings, preferring to have something to hold, to touch, to feel and, of couse, to smell too.
I think it's safe to say that a hardback in your hand gives sensual pleasures a computer generated text on screen, is not able to.
So, what have I got on my Kindle device that I haven't got on my physical shelves?
Currently, I have 747 books in my Kindle collection and I've sub-divided these into categories that include:
My academic library has books like 'Writing a PhD' (this is a goal I still want to accomplish, but current finances might force me out of that field altogther); 'Writing Essays' (absolutely love those Palgrave books!) and 'How to Manage your Postgraduate Course' and; 'Supervision in the Helping Professions' which is always handy to carry around with me.
Actually, there's not a lot of variety in there, come to think about it. If Elsevier publishers were able to put their papers online - how I would be delighted.
The shelf that has the most books on it is my history section. I love to read about how our ancestors lived, how they survived apocolypses of the past and how, after surviving plagues, famines and war, which brought them to their knees - they set-up valuable new communities.
I'm absoutley fascinated with the hidden histories and, while Dan Brown is top of my fiction list because of his writing style, the Nag Hammadi Scriptures is one of my favourites with regards to historical facts at my fingers.
One of the reasons I find the Nag Hammadi Scriptures so fascinating is the human story behind it. It just goes to show how real people were so desperate to get the word to us, a future generation they didn't know would even exist or even care - that they sacrificed their own lives and livelihoods. How brave. They offer me with...
...sad, harrowing, but ultimately fascinating reading
There's also a huge section on my Kindle that has a hefty amount on the subject of war.
Well, as a qualified psychotherapist, I have done an awful lot of counselling for soldiers (more by luck than judgement), and I have been around in army-life for several years. So, why not? These books give me a grounding in what soldiers are going through, have been through and are likely to suffer in the future.
Overall, it's the human story I love to read about. War is a Racket, a personal account by Lt Col Butler Smedley-Darlington of the US Army during and after WW1, gives a fascinating insight into how top military minds think of the process of war. There's also a really fascinating one that views war from another angle - one that promotes it for our own good, 'War is a Force that gives us Meaning' by Chris Hedges.
Another book that explores many of the wars mankind has been involve in during this modern era is one with the hefty title of... wait for it: "World War I - 9 Book Collection: Nelson's History of the War, The Battle of Jutland & The Battle of the Somme: Selected Works from the Acclaimed War Correspondent ... Perspective and Experience During the War"
Did you get all of that?
Odd that I like this book as, with my publisher's hat on, I'm always urging authors to give their books short, succinct - or even snappy - titles so that people can remember them. But that one most certainly takes the biscuit!
The author says "What is on the surface is clear enough, but it is what is under the surface that matters. I am reluctant to believe in a diabolical and cold-blooded scheme to bring about war at this time; at least, this does not seem to be proved. We must, then, I think, suspend our judgment as to the real causes of war till time and documents give us the clue."
And I agree, wholeheartedly. Plus, it's only 49p and it has given me sooooo much valuable insight into the why's and wherefores of shooting bullets and chucking bombs at each other.
I must also mention Ruper Colley's books on war - he started a series called History In An Hour, "history for busy people", which he sold to HarperCollins UK. Clever man! In his author collection, he has written both fact and fiction, and his focus on World War 1 and 2 giving a fascinating insight from all angles.
My own books
While I make sure I buy a paperback copy of all my books, some to give away and some to keep in my own collection, I also make sure I get a copy of my own books onto my Kindle too.
Buying them through the Amazon shop gives me the opportunity to understand my customer's buying experiences, and also to check the formatting is as good for the customer as it is for me, the creator.
So, can you tell a lot about me from my book collection? For one, I hope...
You can tell that I seek out a balanced view in my subjects!
All the best,
Please note, if you buy anything from the links provided, I will earn a smidgen of a commission - and I mean a smidgen (like 0.0001p for any product that takes your fancy enough for you to press the buy button). But at least it's something. And, please know that none of those funds are paid by you, the buyer.
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Kaye is a freelance publisher, author and certified psychotherapist with over three decades of experience. She is also a writer for various blogs about writing, publishing, travelling and health care.
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