The straw that finally broke my anti-Kindle camel’s back was the fact that Kindle comes loaded with the full Oxford English Dictionary [ALSO EDIT: I meant (and still mean) the Oxford Dictionary OF English. I unforgivably use OED as a generic term, though I know there are some who would drop a thesaurus on my head for such an offence.], thus overcoming the two main obstacles previously prohibiting my access to said lexicographical bible: price, and bulk. (My only other accessway was online, through the student login left over from my university days. Not coincidentally, that student login is my favourite souvenir as an alumnus).
Anyway, I bought a Kindle as soon as I realised this (while playing Scrabble in a Kindle-owning friend’s dictionary-less house). And thereafter, when asked whether Kindle “is good?”, my most likely answer has been “IT HAS THE *WHOLE* OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY *IN* IT. YES is good.”
Now this doesn’t mean I no longer love “real” books. I do. Very much.
Have the words fallen, or are they still in the process of coalescing on the page?
This could be the carelessly-written tale: the story that falls apart in your lap*, completely devoid of structure and theme. Maybe it’s a truly irritating story, and the little imps are in fact beginning to swarm at the reader, like a plague of literary ants. Or maybe this is what happens if you dawdle when reading: the words get bored with your dilly-dallying, and go off in search of a more captive audience. Maybe the tale itself is so dull that the words have given up trying to sound interesting, and are heading off for tea and/or a new place to hang out (preferably a fresh grid-lined Moleskine, or maybe one of these pretty hand-printed ones by shoofly). Contrariwise, maybe those little letters are coming to life and jumping off the page, so animated is the tale they tell.
This could be one of those exciting, unpredictable stories, where the next sentence only comes into being a split-second before you read it, until which time the words just sort of mull about at the bottom of the page, waiting to form the next line. It might also be a sly strategy to stop the overly-keen flipping to the back page to find out the ending: if the words aren’t there yet, what’s the point? Have patience, young grasshopper!
* Have you ever tried to read a cheap, glue-bound paperback while lying on your back under a summer sun, using the flimsy pages as a face-sized sunshade? The result is truly Yeatsian: “Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold”. Pages everywhere. Glue/wax doesn’t hold up under solar heating. Just ask Icarus.
Proper black, ferric irony (the really iron-y kind) is born when bloggers who adore books give up their valuable book-reading time to post quirky pro-book/anti-blog images, just to remind us where their true loyalties lie.*