Packing light has never been my forte when going on any kind of escapade, whether it be a 24-hour escape from the city, a weekend adventure, or proper vacation. Regardless of the occasion, trying to narrow down the number of shoes, purses, dresses, toiletries, and accessories that go into my travel bag is difficult enough, before beginning to negotiate the addition of nonessential (yet oh-so-essential) items like cell phone chargers, laptops, books, magazines, and other means for entertainment.
As an avid lover of real books–that is, the ones made from paper with ink printed physically onto them, the idea of a virtual reading entity was, at first, less than appealing. But last Christmas when my little brother decided to convert the family into Kindle-addicts by buying one for each of us, I decided to give the thing a try with as unbiased an opinion as I could possibly muster. I opened it up, ran my fingers along its sleek dark grey outer frame, turned it on, and purchased a Haruki Murakami book from the Kindle store.
Although it is no substitute for ‘the real thing’, a Kindle does have certain advantages over ‘the real thing’. For one, if you fall asleep while reading your Kindle and forget to put a bookmark to remember which page you were on, the Kindle does that for you. It is also remarkably thin, sexy, and lightweight. It fits easily into most of my purses, and the battery lasts up to four months. Also, compared to reading from a computer screen, the Kindle’s natural-looking black ink with a non-lit background is easy on the eyes, and not at all difficult to read with in bright sunlight.
It is possible to send and read pdfs on a Kindle, as well as MP3s. And there is, of course, the obvious advantage that you can store multiple books on the device at once, which eliminates the need to lug around tons of bulky, heavy paper. So for those who like to pack light, and would rather trade ease of transportation for the luxury of reading a real paper book while on vacation, I recommend the Kindle. It’s a simple enough device with a specific functionality that it does well, and it doesn’t take up much space at all. And for a price tag of $79, it won’t break your bank.