I got a Kobo for my birthday.
It comes with 100 free ebooks. For the past few days I have been spell-bound by The Count of Monte Cristo which I had, inexplicably, never read.
Good Lord. What a book. No sword-fighting at all (every movie version I’ve seen has a lot of swordfighting; assuming, I guess, that if it’s Dumas there must be swordfighting) but what a lot of plot going on. Dickensian. Dumasian. Is that a word? It should be. Anyway, I gasped aloud a few times and read until midnight last night because I just had to.
So that was a good test of the machine, which helps to regulate your speed because you simply can’t flick randomly forward to find out what happens next (as if anyone would cheat like that – as if anyone here, for example, read the last page of the last Harry Potter book first, just to see if he was alive at the end).
I’m telling myself now that I will read right through the 100 free books in alphabetical order. I don’t know why. I imagine the resolution will only last until I get up to Aesop’s Fables and then I’ll skip onto the letter G. Or W.
But the list does include many books I haven’t read for years and would like to read again (Twain, Somerset Maugham); books I read every year or so when the mood suddenly strikes (Tolstoy, Austen); books I never quite finished but will one day because one should (Gibbons, Nietzsche); books I can live without reading all over again because once was quite enough thank you very much (Dostoevsky – sorry, Marx & Engels); books I’ve always meant to read (Hesse, Sun Tzu, Thoreau); and books that I wouldn’t bother buying but will probably quite happily read on the train (Jack London, Conan Doyle). In many cases, I already have a real copy, but that’s neither here nor there.
Perhaps more importantly, I can download books that have been out of print for decades, for research purposes. I do that now, of course, from Gutenberg Project or wherever, but I don’t tend to read them as books on my laptop. I search or scan through, looking for key phrases or information.
The Kobo means I can turn the pages, sitting in bed or on the way to work, and really read. The pages look just like ink on paper. Not backlit so no eye strain unless you read for days on end. Which is possible, just the same as ink and paper.
And it doesn’t weigh nearly as much as the last Harry Potter.

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