Saturday, October 2, 2010

My upcoming trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg is the main reason why I decided to buy an e-reader. Instead of lugging books in a carry-on, I’ve downloaded a couple on my Barnes and Noble Nook. While I’m flying off to the land of Dostoyevsky, Chekhov and Pushkin, I’ll be reading Barbara Kingsolver’s The Lacuna and Debra Dean’s The Madonnas of Leningrad .

Once I thought I’d never succumb to an e-reader. Then I hemmed and hawed for so long, comparing Nooks and Kindles, getting other people’s opinions, weighing the pros and cons. Finally, I recognized that for the sake of convenience alone, it’s a good decision. However, I am not giving up my option to take books from the library or walk out of a bookstore with bag in hand.

I read Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go on the Nook and while I found it not as good as his previous work - especially the incomparable Remains of the Day - the reading experience itself wasn’t much different from actually turning paper pages.

Reading is reading, after all, so after I turned off the Nook, I picked up a novella called The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett. It poses the question: what if Queen Elizabeth suddenly became a voracious reader? What if one of the kitchen help was her guide to authors past and present? It is one of the most delightful books I’ve read in a long time and heartily recommend it to anyone who cannot imagine a life without a book in hand.