Thursday 17 January 2013

Z buys the book

It occurred to us last night that we'd better up the heating in the bungalow, in view of the cold nights.  So we've had the heating on during the night rather than in the day, to be on the safe side.

It's rather daft, actually.  Two or three years ago, the bungalow needed a new boiler.  The plumber had the bright idea of putting it in the loft so that it wouldn't be in the way in the kitchen.  Good idea, except that now one has to get the loft ladder down and clamber up through the trapdoor whenever one wants to adjust the heating.  Especially bright idea when Dilly was pregnant and didn't feel able to do it.  Now, the job has fallen to me.

Just as well we went through to see if there was any post this evening, because we discovered that the trip switch had flipped and there was no electricity.  In fact, it was the laundry room light bulb that had blown and triggered it, but I might not have realised that.  And while I'm on the subject of light bulbs, does anyone else find that those so-called long-life bulbs may be low energy but are anything but long-life?  Although being more expensive than the old ones that actually gave off a reasonable amount of light, they last no longer, sometimes less time.  The one in our passageway has to be replaced every few months.  I hate them,  I can't read by them and have to have on an additional lamp.

Talking of reading, I wonder how you're all getting on with your Kindles and other reading apparatus? I see that the sale of real books has actually gone up over Christmas, and I have to say that I'm not surprised.  I do read on my phone and iPad, and I don't mind reading on a screen at all, but it's simply no substitute for a book.  One has no feeling of how far one has got through an electronic book - I know you can look to see what page out of how many, but it isn't the same.  And the price of new books is bemusingly high.  It's hardly cheaper to buy a downloaded book than a real one, but you don't own the download and it can be taken away from you - you can't lend it or bequeath it (not that too many books are actually mentioned in a will, but you know what I mean) and it didn't even have to be printed or transported.  I have read a lot of books on my screens, but the main dissatisfaction with it is that you can't flip back and forth.  I like to check details - having little memory for names doesn't help and I often want to remind myself who a character is, or what specifically was said or done, and what I have got is a good memory for the placement of words.  If you ask me about an article in the newspaper, for example, I might be able to say it was only a few pages from the front, on the left hand side in the middle at the bottom ... or whatever.  You just don't get the same feel on a Kindlish thing.

What's been said in the papers is that people take them on holiday and promptly drop them in the hotel swimming pool and are therefore without books for the rest of the holiday.  I say those people are pretty damn silly.  I take more care of my things than that.  I've never even dropped a book in a swimming pool, and I think it's a jolly good thing to have on holiday.  And when waiting in a queue or lying in bed unable to sleep.  But a book is, mostly, far better to my way of thinking.  And I've given the download every chance and will continue to do so, so I'm quite sure I'm not prejudiced.

Where they do come into their own is that out-of-copyright books are free.  That's jolly useful.  I've reread a load of classics over the last couple of years.


Tim said...

My boiler behaves like a spoilt grasshopper, so I'm very glad it's in the airing cupboard, within easy reach of an easy whack.
And as regards books, I am firmly for the physical, and shall not be moved.

Macy said...

Oh there's a place for both iPad and real books. iPAD everytime on the long haul flight. But since my bedtime routine is to read until I fall asleep, I don't trust myself not to drop the iPad out the bed as I doze off.

martina said...

Half an hour ago I was at the local independent bookseller and bought a book about the history of my neighborhood. A Kindle just wouldn't work here, but I understand why others like them.

allotmentqueen said...

Amuses me that Amazon constantly say that the Kindle is their best-selling item. Is this really true? (I haven't succumbed yet, BTW)

Blue Witch said...

"does anyone else find that those so-called long-life bulbs may be low energy but are anything but long-life?"

Yep. The new generation ones are much less long-lasting than the original ones.

I quietly chuckle every time one of my (older) acquaintances who originally raved about their kindle and encouraged everyone around them to get one admits to having gone back to real books.

iPads and their ilk are awfully annoying on long-haul flights during the night. Especially if someone near you is using one and you're trying to sleep. It just glares out in the darkness. I was chatting to one of the cabin crew on our recent overnight flight and she said that there are frequent altercations between passengers on said subject. I peeped through the curtain into economy and there were about two dozen bright spots where people were using them in the dark, and, in every case, the people around them also weren't asleep. Similarly people using phones to read emails or text in the cinema/theatre etc.

It'll all come full circle eventually I tell you. I have a theory that if stressed people threw away their gadgets they'd immediately be able to come off the anti-depressants...

Wendy said...

I was given an iPad for Christmas and took it on its maiden voyage when I took the boys back to France at the end of their hols. "Yay!" I thought, "how lovely not to have to lug a heavy book about."

Well. Not really.

First, the iPad is surprisingly heavy. Then, I worried about losing it (because I lose things.) And I dropped my bag once and panicked I'd smashed it.

And also, I couldn't read during take-off and landing, which are the two moments in-flight that I most need to be distracted....and finally, I worried about the battery running low and I'd have nothing to I rationed my reading throughout the day (I have lots of hours spent sitting at the airport in Basel so this was not fun.)

All in all - a big thumbs down for using it as a book replacement.

Z said...

Of course, the Kindle is smaller and lighter than an iPad and the battery lasts ages because it's not backlit (unless you buy lighting), but since it's most useful to me to read at night when I can't sleep, I'd not have bought a Kindle.

Blue Witch, if someone is reading a book they need the light on, so there's no difference, is there? Anyone who is able to sleep on long-haul flights (not me) should use an eye-mask.

My iPhone has done more to relieve stress, because it distracts me from worrying when I'm awake for hours in the night, than cause it, honestly. It depends on the reason for your stress.

Wendz, I am such an obsessive that I take a portable battery charger, the mains charger, the phone and the pad with me when I travel, so that I'm never out of battery. Er, and I have a real book or two as well. I love take-off and landing though and don't want distractions then.

Z said...

Oh, and Wendz, I don't think I'd take the iPad as a substitute for a single book, or even two. But on holiday, when I'd take at least a dozen books, it's splendid.

MOTB said...

And if you drop your Kindle/ipad in the swimming pool it won't dry out as well as a book!

Sir Bruin said...

I bought the Smaller Bear a Kindle for her birthday last year. It was a success, in fact I started to suffer from kindle envy and bought myself one as well. They do have limitations - it is difficult to flip forward and back etc. However, for the sort rubbish that I read (elves, goblins, wizards etc) it is much easier than a book. However, if you fall asleep whilst reading one, it hurts much more than a book when it hits your nose.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, no electronic books for me. At home that is, at work (library, doing research) electronically published texts are the norm nowadays, so of course I use this.
btw I find these new bulbs here terribly annoying: Expensive, full of mercury, and terribly dim. I miss the trusted old 100 Watt bulbs, they made light - now something grey drips from the ceiling, spreading discomfort.

Z said...

At least there aren't pages to crinkle, though!

You read fairy stories, Sir B? That's so sweet. And I'm glad to have someone who still loves their Kindle, if only to give balance to the comments.

I should think not, Mago. It'd be like the Sage giving up his wind-up gramophone. And I think these light bulbs are a complete con.

janerowena said...

I have a nexus 7, and I love it but it is no substitute for a real book - apart from when I am waiting in the school carparks to pick up my son. I can grab it as I leave the house and have something to read, and not lose my temper with him when he takes an hour to get changed or gets chatting to someone. He is very vague about time passing. The light from it means that I don't have to worry about flattening my car battery trying to read a book when I am stuck outside at 10.30pm waiting to collect him from school play rehearsals etc.

Blue Witch said...

"Blue Witch, if someone is reading a book they need the light on, so there's no difference, is there? Anyone who is able to sleep on long-haul flights (not me) should use an eye-mask."

That's exactly what I said to the cabin staff member. But, she said that on-lap lights move, and glare out much more, plus people using them often are doing interactive things which involve lots of tapping and different colours flashing. She said that there have been a couple of bad incidents with people arguing about the nuisance they cause, on planes she's been on. I'd hate to sit in economy with someone using an electronic gadget next to me.

And, who can sleep with a tight elastic around their heads? Not me. And why should they have to?

Z said...

Exactly, JaneR, my way of thinking too. Though you're more patient than I am, sonwise.

BW, there has to be a lot of give and take when flying economy. Last time, the teenage girl in front of me abruptly moved her seat forward and back repeatedly. I've been next to snorers, cough and sneezers and people using gadgets. I've never complained and I don't mind small children, even if they whinge. But I don't sleep on aeroplanes and, though I'd huddle the blanket round me to cut out glare as much as possible, I have as much right to read or play a game or watch a film as anyone else has to snore. If I saw I was keeping my neighbour awake, I'd apologise and turn it off until he or she was sound asleep. I've not had that problem, though I only read or watch films, I don't play games.

We were upgraded last time on our way back from India - a pleasure, but I'd not bother with the extra expense. Lots of snacks I stashed away because I couldn't eat them at the time on top of the meals, a few extra freebies such as a perfectly comfortable eye-mask and a toothbrush, and a lot of leg-room that my short legs didn't need. And a frightful woman whinging about how much she'd spent on the tickets but was not next to her( very patient and relieved to have some distance) teenage daughters. But at least my in-front neighbour didn't keep slamming back his seat, so it was better than the way out.

Blue Witch said...

"BW, there has to be a lot of give and take when flying economy."

Yeah, indeed, and some people just don't get it, they think that the world revolves around them and their precious darlings and sod everyone else on the plane. No consideration and respect at all. That's why Mr BW says we can only go away long haul if we can go in business class. Which, with airmiles or a super deal (would never ever pay full price) is worth every penny. And why I could never live on an estate ever again.

Z said...

The annoying woman was in business class. Having enough money to boast about how much she'd spent on her tickets gave her, she reckoned, the right to complain loud and long.

luckyzmom said...

I noticed yesterday that a "long-life" bulb had burnt out and not lasted as long as claimed. So much for doing my part?

Thank you for reassuring me that I don't really need one of those Kindish things.

mig said...

I bought my kindle mainly for reading away from home, it's brilliant to have 20 odd books in one place. And I've been catching up on free classics too. But I still love to read real books.
Oh and I completely agree about light bulbs. It's the worst kind of light, dim, wrong colour, and frequently broken. I hate them.

Blue Witch said...

If I'd paid four grand each for tickets for me and my daughters, I'd complain about being split up too. Thing is, if you ask nicely, the cabin staff will often arrange for people to move around a bit within the cabin to accommodate family groups that the auto-check-in system creates.

I still don't understand why you can't always be allocated a specific seat when you book, on all occasions, as you are at, for example, the theatre.

Z said...

I've nothing against electronic readers and I've got more books than I have places to put them, so I'm quite glad not to have those I'll only read once. But so many people are getting rid of real books and I think they'll wish they hadn't. No room is furnished without books.

Well, it was nothing like that, less than £2,000 each I think, but she didn't ask nicely. And the teens (who were perfectly behaved and probably embarrassed) wouldn't have cared about flying economy. I was childishly thrilled to be upgraded, I would have sat anywhere!