Reading at night

English: The second generation Amazon Kindle, ...

English: The second generation Amazon Kindle, showing the book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I sit down in the rocking chair in a dark room with a squirming toddler in my lap and a book on the table next to me. The child is unhappy. He doesn’t want to go to sleep, which means I will have to hold him against his will in my lap for a thirty minute struggle, after which he will collapse sideways in mid-fuss, sound asleep. I pass the time during this struggle with my book.

The book-light I clipped on the back is too heavy for the paperback cover and makes the book flop open as I lift it. I adjust the light so that it has about fifty pages in the clip, stiff enough to hold the light. My bookmark is gone. I look for it on the floor next to me, thinking maybe it fell out when the book fell open, but it could be anywhere, because my children steal my bookmarks all the time. Sometimes, they even chew on them. (Seriously, who chews a bookmark?) Giving up, I try to find my place in the book, but the thrashing little boy grabs it as I turn the pages and tears two of them. I’ll have to repair it later. Finally finding my place, I start reading, rearranging the book and child as necessary to accommodate his struggles. Every time I switch the book to the other hand, the book light flops backward and the toddler slashes the pages with his little toddler-claws. As I read, I have to adjust the of aim of the book-light, because it doesn’t light the whole page. I don’t care. It’s a good book. It’s worth a struggle.



I sit down, struggling toddler, dark room, rocking chair, but no book. This time, I have a Kindle. I clip the light to the Kindle cover, and it holds the light easily because it’s rigid. I immediately find my place, because there’s no bookmark to lose. I lose no pages to thrashing hands and need perform no repairs later. I easily switch it from hand to hand as necessary to see around the toddler. I never have to adjust the aim of the light because it easily lights the whole screen. And tomorrow, when my kids leave their lunch boxes in the school cafeteria and have to go back to get them, I have my Kindle there in my bag for me to read during the ten minute wait. And next month, when I have a doctor’s appointment but the doctor is an hour late, I’m happy to spend that hour waiting in an exam room because I have something to read.

Now, I know there are purists out there who swear off e-readers. I like real books too. Maybe I’ve missed all the people who defend their e-readers against the paper purists. But I have to speak up for my e-best-friend, which is so much easier to use in a house full of children, especially a dark room with a nursing or thrashing child, that anytime I read any print book, I wish it were on Kindle instead.




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