• Anna-Roisin Ullman-Smith

A new era of reading

Updated: Feb 10


For those of us who are naturally nosy the kindle has taken away one of the best commuter past-times. No longer can we sit on the train and guess at people personalities, likes and dislikes based on the books they read. The grey slate has taken it all away.

When I started commuting by train the Kindle was there, present in every carriage, but as was our friend the printed book. I enjoyed the thrill of noticing someone reading the same book as I was, the moment of wondering where they are in its many chapters, if they've read the bit about the thing yet.

I enjoyed being able to silently scorn, laugh at or applaud people based on the book they carried. It sounds judgmental but on a train in the early hours of the morning with no seat available, judgment is a friend who keeps you awake, and ensures you don't degrade after months of the same journey.

The kindle destroyed this past-time, it stole the ability to note what someone was reading with it's sleek grey exterior, disguising all it's contents. But it's bookish quality's made it not an enemy to the paper-back but a slightly uglier friend.

However today, when I get on my 6am train, it is not just the kindle I see, there are people reading of their mobile-phones, their too bright tablets, others are on their compact laptops. It is here that I have complaint. Where the kindle compliments the book in every way possible for a piece of technology to do so, the mobile phone turns it into boring, small paragraphs of text, interrupted by texts, creating a platform not for the true reader but for the person who enjoys saying they have read.

The tablet, a brightly lit assailant in the early morning, has a habit of being over-sensitive. Creating a carriage full of people who curse a swear every-time the train sways as they flick through countless pages with the simplest of touches to over-sensitive screens.

All the while one must ask how much reading are these people actually doing? Between the distractions of messages, emails and updates which are appearing in a near-constant stream on the pages of their books, are they really escaping to the world inside the pages?

Although I have a kindle, a useful tool when travelling far, or when the bank account is dangerously low on funds, I will admits, it is a rare partner on my commute.

I will never stop loving the published book, the colour of the spines on my books shelves brings light into my home, the crinkle of the pages and the bends in the spine, constant reminders of my favourite chapters, my most read novels. This beauty shall never compare, to me, to the grey shell of technology, and no grey box shall ever bring me as much joy as a beautifully crafted cover and soft pages.

#kindle #tablet #mobilephone #paperback

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