I have considered (and rejected) for some time the notion of the electronic book. There is something innately satisfying in holding a well-bound, sturdy-papered text in your hands. Even better is the ability to take your pen and underline insightful quotes or bits of wisdom for the benefit of some yet-to-be-encountered problem. Never the less, I succumbed to the flurry and hype surrounding the launch of Kindle 2. The idea of being able to carry around hundreds of books in practically no space or the ability to have the Wall Street Journal delivered totally eco-friendly was just too much to pass up. I mean you can even highlight with this device, have those clippings stored in a separate folder, do word searches, dog-ear a page, change font size and if you can deal with a somewhat robotic female voice, the thing will read to you.
After a few weeks of using Kindle 2 I think it will be part of my reading habit from here on out. The device is definitely better than a prototype, but it is immediately obvious that it needs color capability, back lighting for night reading, improved text-to-speech quality and a visually smoother transition between pages. I expect to see Kindle 3 within the next two years. I also expect that that the electronic book will transform the lives of students who will be able to carry everything they need in a little day pack - a laptop for computing needs and ALL their textbooks on a Kindle-like device for easy reading. No more 25# loads on the back and hopefully significantly lower textbook costs.
Of course once you buy a Kindle you then have to buy books. Ever the bargain hunter I found a copy of the ESV Bible on Amazon for free. I also found a couple of websites that make texts available gratis that are in the public domain. I downloaded Chesterton's "Orthodoxy" which I quickly abandoned as boring and then got "My First Summer In The Sierra" by John Muir. However, the first book I payed for was one I've been meaning to read for years, "Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage" by Alfred Lansing.
If I was going to summarize this book in a sentence it would either have to be, "All the best stories are true.", or, "Rambo was a pansy." I'm only half-way through this saga, but I must say that this tale of human perseverance makes even my finest moments look like a yawn. If you don't know the story, it is of British polar explorers who get stuck in the ice of the Waddell Sea and spend a couple of years exposed to constant life-threatening danger, temperatures most always below 10 degrees (F) which are made all the worse by the unceasing wetness of being on ship or ice. There is no radio, no 911. They save themselves or perish.
Read this book. You will be the better for it. Oh yes, I'm going to give Chesterton another try.