Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

September 8, 2013


Navigating in the baffling world of Kindles and Nooks


          Two years ago I bought a Kindle. Following the instruction guide I managed to learn slowly how to use it. Actually I am still learning because its operation is a lot more complicated than the old Underwood typewriter I mastered back in high school. The “high tech” stuff of our time is quite a challenge for me.

          I don’t use my Kindle every day so when I do I am constantly experimenting with the keyboard. I am lost about as often as I am found. I did learn how to buy and download books. Amazingly, hundreds of books are free for the asking.

Frankly I am astonished that an entire book can be transmitted to my Kindle within seconds. So for the sheer excitement of it I downloaded the New Oxford American Dictionary (free by the way), a Zondervan Study Bible and several famous novels, among them Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment and Heaney’s Beowulf. The capacity of this tiny thing is staggering; I can store hundreds of books in it and read them at my leisure.

It feels good to know that at any time I can open my Kindle and read Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, Kipling’s Jungle Book, Charles Spurgeon’s Christian Classics or Anne Chancey Dalton’s excellent book about Jeremiah Denton, Vietnam War Hero. I even have at my fingertips Hans Christian Anderson’s Fairy Tales and a new translation of Aesop’s Fables. A Kindle is a library you can hold in one hand – and you get to select the books you want in your library.

This year I have read more than 20 novels in my Kindle. A good friend gave me 15 novels for Christmas, downloading them into my Kindle and paying for them through his own Kindle account. Quite a “novel” idea for Christmas gifts! I must admit it took me five months to read the gift novels.

When I am finished reading in my Kindle I simply close the cover and it shuts down until I open it back up and push the “on” button. What usually greets me on the screen, before it powers up, is a quaint picture of Mark Twain with his massive mustache or John Steinbeck with his carefully trimmed mustache. So I downloaded some of their books also.

There are several features of the Kindle that I have not figured out yet but I am content to use it to read one book after another. One of these days I will find the time to learn more about my strange Kindle.

My wife had shown no interest in my Kindle until recently. When she seemed ready for the adventure I decided to buy her a Nook. This week we have been wrestling with the instruction guide and praying we can learn how to use it before Christmas.

They say old dogs cannot learn new tricks. Well I am not an old dog and I refuse to let the young folks have all the fun with the electronic gadgets of our brave new world.

Baffled we may be time and again but we will prevail. We may be old but we are persistent. Eventually we will master the use of these doggone Kindles and Nooks – even if I have to get one of my great grandchildren to come show us how to do it. And I know we need to hurry because in a few months these amazing gadgets will be obsolete! But, while they last, I will stubbornly continue learning to navigate in this baffling arena of electronic wonders. + + +