Monday, January 10, 2011

It is remarkable to think that people thought of striped fabrics before they thought of doors and windows

When I first started considering eReaders I thought it would help on my daily commute. At the time I was spending about an hour a day on the subway, plus time waiting for the T to show up and I lived off the Green line, so this could account for a lot of time.  This gave me some great reading time but could be a hassle if the book was especially large, such as when I was reading the behemoth Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.  Holding a 6 pound book in my hand while trying to balance on the T was never fun and I would avoid hardback books because I knew I didn't want to have to carry it.

Now I have a Kindle, but in the funny way the world works, I no longer ride the subway for my commute.  I've lost a solid hour of reading time and I don't have the same need for an eReader.  Of course.

Even though my initial reason for wanting the Kindle is gone, I'm still enjoying reading on it.  It is lightweight enough that holding it in one hand, even in the cover I got, is no problem.  I love that it's easy for me to take notes and highlight passages.  I hate marking up an actual book, so if I happen to see a quote I like I just have to hope I remember what it is.  That hardly ever works out for me.  It has a little counter at the bottom of the page to show you how far through the book you are, which I'm enjoying more than I would have assumed.  Buying books is slightly too easy and I'll have to watch myself.  I still plan on reading actual books so I won't be making a full electronic leap but I'm happy with what I have so far.  And with that, onto the book

I'm reading Bill Bryson's At Home: A Short History of Private Life and I'm currently 38% of the way through. (I told you I love that little counter.) I have been looking forward to this book since about last May, when I first heard about it and that excitement increased when I saw him speak at the Boston Book Festival.  Originally I was waiting for the book to come out in paperback but my Kindle has given me the perfect excuse to quit being patient and just get the book now.  I am loving it.  I've said on far too many occasions that I could read about paint drying if Bryson was writing about it and this book practically does that.  Bryson wanders through his English home and gives a history of the house as it has come to be, at least in England and America.  This book isn't quite as laugh-out-loud funny as his travelogues but the humor is still there.  This is much closer in style to his science book A Short History of Nearly Everything.

Because my favorite part of Bryson is his voice, here are some quotes I highlighted

His summary as to the etymology of the word "cabinet"
This explains why this one word now describes both the most intimate and exalted group of advisers in government and the shelved recess in the bathroom where we keep Ex-Lax and the like. (location 1049)
 Explaining how demanding people were on their servants
It wasn't just a question of doing the work, but often of doing it to the kind of exacting standards that generally occur only to people who don't have to do the work themselves. (location 1544)
The cheapness of the Duke of Marlborough.  He can probably also be described by the quote above
The duke was so cheap that he refused to dot his i's when he wrote, to save on ink. (location 2441) 
Title quote from location 743

Bryson, Bill. At Home: A Short History of Private Life.  Doubleday, 2010. eBook