Monday, 3 January 2011

Filling in the gaps

As you know, Husband and I got His 'n' Hers Kindles for Christmas and we have had a great deal of pleasure from our new toys. Our children laugh at us as we sit, happily drinking tea and reading our respective Kindles.

Husband has filled his with all sorts of strange stuff. As well as the aforementioned "Memoirs of the Anglo-Boer War" and some fascinating reports on the economic implications of new TLDs in the domain name space, he has stuff like copies of original court reports from the 1500s - trials of people charged with hamesucken and the like.

He has also downloaded Ambrose Bierce's "Write it Right"- a witheringly unforgiving guide to correct English usage which both of us are enjoying greatly (even as we discover that our own use of English is apparently woefully inappropriate).

I, on the other hand, am much more mundane in my tastes. I have been using the Kindle initially to trawl Amazon and the like for books that are free to download and which fill the glaring gaps in my reading history. For example, I have finally got round to reading the original "Frankenstein" (the boys were bored rigid when I read excerpts to them out loud). I have been meaning to read that for ages.

I have read a fair bit of Dickens in my time, but never "Nicholas Nickleby", which is what I am reading now (and wishing, as I tend to do with Dickens, that I could slap half of his female characters, so irritating are they - especially the ones he doesn't mean to be irritating).

Waiting in the wings (or rather in an enticing list on my Kindle's home page) are the Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Walter Scott and Thomas Hardy novels that I have missed so far. I must confess to never having read "Kidnapped" before, for example. In my defence, it is one of those books that you sort of assume you must have read because you are so familiar with it from other sources - like "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde".

I am almost giddy at the prospect of being able to access so much reading material whenever I want for NO MONEY! It will be interesting to see how long it takes before I feel the need to actually pay for books. (And whether the Kindle will have paid for itself by then!)


  1. Oh I so want a kindle now. But the TV sort of put me off all gifts for the next 5 years! Maybe I will save up and splurge!

  2. Kindle is brilliant, such a creative idea. I only have the mini version on my iphone, so there is a limit to the length of time that I can read it.

  3. I've just spent half of this evening downloading ebooks for my Sony. I've got the Russians on there, and now Thomas Hardy and D H Lawrence - I did read a few of those two back in 5/6th year in school thanks to having an English teacher for a father who had a BIG book collection in the house. (Silly so and so only reads sci-fi now he's retired though, ugh.)

    So far I've been reading all the reviews for classics on Amazon, looking at some of the pages in the previews, then going off and downloading the free versions from Not sure if you can use those files on a Kindle though ... I use Calibre ( to manage all the files and I THINK that can convert from pretty much any file format to any file format. It's certainly way better a management system than the one that came with the Sony eReader.

    I must post on all this - you've beat me to it ;-)

  4. PS - update - yep, you can download free classics (and also some more contemporary stuff) for Kindles from ...

  5. I've read enough Scott in my youth to know that I haven't got enough life left to read any more. Unless I get locked up in jail or something. He tells a good story but takes rather long about it.

  6. Since you've read Frankenstein, have you also read Dracula? And what about The Picture of Dorian Gray? It's not exactly the same genre, but it's still creepy.

    And for some reason, even though I've read several Dickens books, until a few days ago, I'd never even heard of Nicholas Nickleby. Sad, I know.

  7. Jen: I am the Dracula QUEEN! I derived an enormous amount of pleasure a year or so ago in being able to visit Whitby. I then puzzled my family by insisting on sitting for some time on a bench in the abbey churchyard overlooking the harbour, looking frail and winsome (or possibly stout and over-excited). Hate the new vampire stuff like Twilight though. Also, the first thing I downloaded onto my Kindle was "The Vampyre" by Polidori.

  8. Lucky you! We have to order them from the US and the wait time is 6 to 8 weeks. Perhaps someone will get me one in time for my summer holiday.
    I grew up with 'Kidnapped' and 'Treasure Island' because my dad had been given them as a boy. But I blush to admit that I have not read all of Dickens - and me with a degree in English Lang and Lit. I would love to hear of your reading list and how the Kindle works out for you long term.