I had email last week from retired Perry County educator Mike Caudill, who now lives at Carcassonne in Letcher County. Mike is an avid reader and is doing his part to encourage folks to read while we are all supposed to be at home, riding out this COVID-19 virus epidemic. Knowing that I read a lot and often recommend books in this column, he suggested that I up the ante and commence touting one of my favorite reads at the end of every column.
I’m going to take that suggestion a step further and devote a whole column to it before waiting to put something in the last couple of paragraphs. Last week I briefly touched upon the notion that I don’t understand why most avid readers don’t pursue their reading habit with a Kindle or other digital reading device.
Since most libraries and bookstores are closed right now and are apt to stay that way for several weeks, a digital tablet or Kindlelike device may well be the best way to find handy reading material that you are going to find during the next several weeks. If you can use a cell phone, you can operate a digital reader so please don’t whine about not being able to master the technology.
My first Kindle ereader was a Christmas present about 15 years ago. In retrospect, I believe that Loretta bought it more for herself than for me. My wife is a light sleeper. My paper page turning and flickering reading light were bothersome enough to keep her awake and my favorite spot was, and still is, in the bed. She constantly complained that I was keeping her awake. To make a long story short, the Kindle solved her sleep problems and I fell in love with the convenience.
I’ve had many friends tell me that the heft and weight of a book and the turning of pages is a large part of their reading enjoyment. I get my enjoyment out of reading the stories and, simultaneously, keeping the peace in my bedroom. I’ve read several thousand books on a Kindle and enjoyed nearly every one of them. The ones I didn’t care for had nothing to do with the reading device.
In the early days of ereaders, there were only a couple or three digital “book readers” on the market and they were rather pricey. In today’s world, any Android tablet can be used as an ereader. I’ve had people tell me that they put the free Kindle app on their cell phones, but that seems to be a bit of a stretch and more trouble than it’s worth. Others have told me they read books on their laptop computers but that, too, has a lot of disadvantages, especially when it comes to taking one to bed.
I would recommend that readers purchase an android tablet in the eight-inch screen size. You can find them, refurbished on eBay, for less than $40, including shipping charges. In my experience, refurbished electronics are as good as brand new and cost less than half as much. As I previously mentioned, the Kindle app is a free download that only takes a few seconds and enables you to read practically every book ever written. Ask a 10-year old for assistance if you need technical help.
Call your local library for help in getting the device connected to them and check out any number of free lending libraries available online. I use “Internet Archive” and haven’t really needed anything else.
In the meantime, if you want to read a series of books that are suitable for everybody in your family between the ages of 8 and 180, check out Kentucky author Jan Watson’s Troublesome Creek series.
The stories document the fictional life of a young girl growing up in eastern Kentucky during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I simply can’t think of anything more appropriate and more emotionally settling for your reading pleasure, especially during these troubling times. Check out a synopsis of the books on the author’s website.