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Me And My Kindle (Or, My Kindle And I)


tariki
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Recently I've found myself virtually retired from Forums, at least from those considered "combative", where swords are crossed as each seeks to convince, cajole or even threaten others with the correctness of one's own point of view or system of belief. This has corresponded with my getting myself a Kindle EReader.

 

When I first heard of these devices I thought they would be the very last thing I would ever buy. I have always loved books, and it is the feel - the heft - of a book that I have loved. And though there is much to be said for a brand new book, spine spotless and uncreased, I've always loved the feel of a well worn book, page edges roughed by countless others. So what price a hunk of metal where type appears at the flick of a switch, a new page at the press of a button?

 

But needs must. Eyesight fails with age and often during the past few years I have lifted what appeared to be a good book, read the blurb, been enticed, then upon flicking though the pages, found myself looking at a font size that made my eyes water. Reluctantly I would return the book to its shelf. Anyway, when a colleague at work came in with a Kindle and gave a demonstration of its various type sizes, all available at the press of a button, I was much impressed.

 

So now I am the proud owner of "Dookies Kindle" (Dookie being a previous name I posted under until I found that the word could mean "poo" in the USA and thus unsuited to my profound thoughts............ :D ) I have downloaded countless bits and pieces, various "Complete Works" of authors and poets, each so cheap that to just browse them at odd moments is sufficient ot make me feel that I am getting my money's worth! Again, many other books that have taken my fancy.........history, philosophy, and many on Buddhism - Chan, Zen and Pure Land, plus others on Christian mysticism.

 

One of the facilities on the Kindle is the opportunity to make a "clipping" of anything read when it takes your fancy. The clipping is then placed in a file which can be browsed through at leisure. Which brings me to the point of this rambling load of waffle. I just thought, being "retired" now from "combat" I would on occasion post a "clipping" from my file, offered here to others to read and reflect upon - even make a comment if appropriate. I will not be seeking to make a case for anything, more just sharing.

 

I suppose, this much in the spirit of one of my many mentors as I've moved along through the years........

 

In religious terms, this is simply a matter of accepting life, and everything in life as a gift, and clinging to none of it, as far as you are able. You give some of it to others, if you can. Yet one should be able to share things with others without bothering too much about how they like it, either, or how they accept it. Assume they will accept it, if they need it. And if they don't need it, why should they accept it? That is their business. Let me accept what is mine and give them all their share, and go my way.

 

All life tends to grow like this, in mystery inscaped with paradox and contradiction, yet centered in its very heart, on the divine mercy..........

 

(Thomas Merton)

 

So here is the very first clipping I put into my file, drawn from some commentary by Eknath Easwaran on the Hindu Upanishads.

 

From one point of view the world is God; from another, there will always be a veil of difference between an embodied human person and the Godhead. Both are true, and neither is the whole truth. Reality is beyond all limitations, and there are paths to it to accommodate every heart.

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hi tariki,

like you, i always have loved the experience of a new book, and never thought i would enjoy an ereader - but i absolutely love my kindle! very transportable, plus if you have a couple of books on the go you can easily switch between them. also i like how people cant see what you are reading!

only down side for me is that it's oh-so-easy and tempting to buy new books with one click. if you have any recommendations from those cheaper ones i'd like to hear them!

Jonny

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jonnyb,

 

hi to a fellow kindle lover! I know what you mean by the temptation to click the button and put a few more £'s on the credit card. I have developed the method of clicking the "Wish List" button instead............then later, when temptation has subsided, look through the Wish List and delete as appropriate. If the book stays on the Wish List for any length of time then it may just be worth spending the money.

 

Not sure about recommendations as I have no idea where your interests are. Fiction or non-fiction? Classics or pot-boilers! Must admit that others non being able to see what you are reading is a plus when indulging in the latest pot-boiler - so easy to put a smug and literary look on your face as if reflecting upon the essence of Being when actually reading of the latest escapades of the latest hero.

 

If you like the type of thing by written by those such as Wilber Smith or James Clavell (Shogun etc etc) you could look up Thomas Hoover on Amazon. His books are free and worth a look, and he has also written a few Non-Fiction which are also free. Many classics are free, and I have actually made my way through "War and Peace" (yes folks!) The secret is that instead of having to pick up a heavy weight door stop and open it to see a huge page of small type - very intimidating - there is just one screen of accommodating large type to read through at a time. Actually it was great read, and we even got the DVD of the BBC Costume Drama made in the 80's starring Anthony Hopkins as Pierre afterwards.

 

But as I mentioned before, many "Complete Works" are available from Delphi Publications, all at under £2. They really are complete, with biographies of the authors, the letters they may have written, any non-fiction, plus photos of various associated things to do with their lives and output. The point is that at such a price you can afford to download without feeling the need to read the lot! Just browse at odd moments. Good old Oscar Wilde is a case in point - any time spent browsing through his output can be rewarding - plays, poems, the novel, short stories etc etc.

 

Well, better go, but not without another clipping from the file. This from the works of Honen, one of the "fathers" of Pure Land Buddhism who said, appropriately enough.....

 

The moment a scholar is born, he forgets the nembutsu. (i.e. the expression of gratitude)

 

From "Honen The Buddhist Saint; Essential Writings and Official Biography"

 

Which shows - looking back at Merton's words quoted before - how those from east or west can recognise that all of life is a gift and gratitude is fundamental.

 

(By the way, thanks Joseph for your encouragement)

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only down side for me is that it's oh-so-easy and tempting to buy new books with one click.

 

And, un-loanability.

 

I also find it more difficult to navigate a book - look back and forward, scan, find my place, etc. However, I realized that I had crossed the line when I first refrained from buying a book until it came out in e-form. All in all, I much prefer the e-form to 'treeware.'

 

George

Edited by GeorgeW
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And, un-loanability.

 

 

Hi George,

 

Well, not quite true on the Kindle. Amazon have a "Prime" service where you pay £49 a year and then can download many books for "free" and delete them when read. Not really my cup of tea but the offer is there.

 

Anyway, moving on through various "clippings" I find with some that the "moment has gone" and I wonder why I made the clipping. However, here is one that still has bite........

 

Those that claim to "know" too much detail about God must rely on lies, distortion and illusion to construct their visions of Deity. The facet has turned away from the jewel and called itself, its prejudices and desires, God. To try to define God is to attempt to BE God.

 

From "Quantum God: A Study of Reality and Theology from a 21st Century Perspective." Guy DeWhitney

 

Which finds illumination in another drawn from "War and Peace", where Tolstoy says of Pierre that he could not see an aim, for he now had faith - not faith in any kind of rule, or words, or ideas, but faith in an ever-living, ever-manifest God.

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Well, not quite true on the Kindle. Amazon have a "Prime" service where you pay £49 a year and then can download many books for "free" and delete them when read. Not really my cup of tea but the offer is there.

 

With the 'Prime' service, one can loan a purchased book to friends? Are you sure about this?

 

George

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With the 'Prime' service, one can loan a purchased book to friends? Are you sure about this?

 

George

 

George.

 

I was understanding your "un-loanability" as regarding the Kindle owners ability to loan a book- or not - from the initial seller, not as loaning a book to another kindle owner.

 

I would think that though one can download from one device to another (this according to a computer geek I know) , I would assume books loaned on the Prime system would have some sort of "block" built in to prevent this.

Edited by tariki
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I was understanding your "un-loanability" as regarding the Kindle owners ability to loan a book- or not - from the initial seller, not as loaning a book to another kindle owner.

 

Sorry that I was not more clear. Yea, I was thinking of book owner to another person which many of us have done extensively with hard-copy books. Although I am sure it is technically possible with e-books, I don't think Amazon or the other distributors allow it.

 

George

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You raise a good point George. As I see it, everything has been done to simulate on the EReader the experience of a real book. So why should we not be able to download (i.e. loan) any book we have purchased to another? No restriction is put on the loan of any "real" book to another. Once bought, surely it is ours to do what we like with? I see no difference between letting another have a real book I have bought and downloading an ebook to another except that in the latter case two copies then exist.So perhaps that is it?

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Here's a quote that spoke to me from War and Peace, a book I also highly recommend. Pierre has been captured by French soldiers.

 

 

"Ha-ha-ha!" laughed Pierre. And he said aloud to himself: "The soldier did not let me pass. They took me and shut me up. They hold me captive. What, me? Me? My immortal soul? Ha-ha-ha! Ha-ha-ha!..." and he laughed till tears started to his eyes.

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Browsing again through the various "Clippings" I find another drawn from "War and Peace"..........which seems to draw upon the "ha ha ha" (now called "insanity"...... :D ) in AnnieG's quote.......

 

Pierre's insanity consisted in not waiting, as he used to do, to discover personal attributes which he termed "good qualities" in people before loving them; his heart was now overflowing with love, and by loving people without cause he discovered indubitable causes for loving them.

 

Just musing on such words, what has come to mind is a sermon by the Christian mystic Eckhart where he speaks of "all creatures being the Word of God". Which leads to another clipping, this from "A Book of Hours" which itself is a selection from the various writings of Thomas Merton (or words written about him, as in this case)......

 

Merton knew well that the Word of God is not only being uttered in the sacred scriptures, but more primordially in creation, more existentially in history, more imaginatively in works of art, more immediately and personally in human experience. Because he perceived the dimensionality of the Word of God he understood how to read it in all its myriad forms.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have had an enforced absence from the forum due to my laptop imploding on me! There was a splattering buzz, the screen went black and all the lights went out. A PC doctor at work has told me that the fan got jammed, plus there were loose connections on one or two memory blocks...........which sounds familiar in other circumstances...... :D

 

Anyway, I have invested in a brand new Laptop and have got it up and running - which seems very easy these days, you just need to press the power button and the PC tells you what it is doing! So it is back to my Clippings file and I have found the following, drawn from a little book by Jane Hirshfield called "The Heart of Haiku" where the author speaks of the spirit of the Haiku, and speaking further of one of its most famous exponents, Basho, says.......

 

A wanderer all his life both in body and spirit, Basho concerned himself less with destination than with the quality of the traveller's attention.

 

Which for me has much to teach concerning how we live our lives.

 

As a taster, here are one or two Haiku's drawn from a small anthology I have on my Kindle. I dip into it at odd moments.

 

These are by a guy called Issa (1763-1827) and immediately I get a connection of sorts with another human being who lived far away in both time and space.....

 

 

Ah, the butterfly!

flying as if the world

had no purpose

 

 

 

In the flowers

they play hide and seek

- the little sparrows

 

 

 

This morning - no doubt! -

a solitary leaf fell

into silence

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Browsing again through the various "Clippings" I find another drawn from "War and Peace"..........which seems to draw upon the "ha ha ha" (now called "insanity"...... :D ) in AnnieG's quote.......

 

Pierre's insanity consisted in not waiting, as he used to do, to discover personal attributes which he termed "good qualities" in people before loving them; his heart was now overflowing with love, and by loving people without cause he discovered indubitable causes for loving them.

 

 

Tariki,

This 'insanity' could bring such a sane world into being..

I'm glad you've got your computer problems sorted out.

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Tariki,

This 'insanity' could bring such a sane world into being..

I'm glad you've got your computer problems sorted out.

 

Annie, thanks.

 

Well, looking again at the Clippings there are some words from Rainer Maria Rilke, from "Letters to a Young Poet". A young man had sent Rilke one or two of his own poems, asking for advice. Quite a few exchanges followed which have all been gathered together in the book of letters.

 

Works of art are of an infinite loneliness and nothing can reach them so little as criticism. Only love can grasp them and keep hold of them and be just to them. Always trust yourself and your own feelings as opposed to any such analysis, review or introduction; if you should be wrong, then the natural growth of your inner life will lead you slowly and in time to new realisations. Allow your judgements their own quiet, undisturbed development, which like all progress must come from deep within you and cannot be forced or hastened by anything. The whole thing is to carry the full time and then give birth; to let every impression and every germ of a feeling consummate itself entirely within itself, in that which is dark, inexpressible, unconscious and unattainable by your own intelligence, and to await the hour of the delivery of a new clearness of vision. That alone is to live an artistic life, in understanding, as in creating.

 

For me, such relates to all life. An over conscious attempt at control, relating everything back to the centre of a perceived "self" is for me a life that is faithless. Faith rests in the Divine, however understood. Just as many talk always of the need to "accept Christ", an act of the self that has "made its decision" and thus, among other things, can now see the way clear to condemn those who have chosen otherwise!

 

Yet we are told that we have been chosen before the foundation of the world (Ephesians); it is we who are chosen, we do not choose - only recognise that which already is if we just allow it to be/become.

 

That seems to be the way of it, "east" or "west". The more we seek to be in control, the more that we think we are, and the more of our own choices we rely upon, then the more conflict between us all.

 

When we rest in such a way the choices we then make take on a certain spontaneity.

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A more lighthearted clipping (if "lighthearted" be the right word....... :) ) comes from "Wuthering Heights" where a particular character is described as follows......

 

He was, and is yet most likely, the wearisomest self-righteous Pharisee that ever ransacked a Bible to rake the promises to himself and fling the curses to his neighbours.

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Time for another couple of Clippings, these from "Who can Stop the Wind" by Notto Thelle.

 

This was the first time it dawned upon me that faith could separate me from life, or rather, that speculations and pious explanations could build walls that shut out reality.

 

Judging by many of the introductions on this forum, such an awareness has dawned on many here.

 

And.......

 

The voyage into another faith is also a voyage into one's own faith.

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With the 'Prime' service, one can loan a purchased book to friends? Are you sure about this?

 

George

 

The Prime service allows certain books to be "checked out of the library." The down side is the selection and only one book per month. However, the Prime service also has very inexpensive book offers and of course the free 2-day shipment of many items.

 

Ron

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Sorry that I was not more clear. Yea, I was thinking of book owner to another person which many of us have done extensively with hard-copy books. Although I am sure it is technically possible with e-books, I don't think Amazon or the other distributors allow it.

 

George

 

I have 4 devices registered on my Kindle account; my Kindle, my wife's Kindle, my Acer 10.1, and my iPad. I believe I can load each book in my library to each device. I consistently "loan" books to my wife's Kindle this way. If desired, each device could then be loaned to one of my immediate friends or family. That constricts loanability but allows some options.

 

I also believe a book can be transferred to another's Kindle library. The process is a deletion from your library and loaded into the transferring library. Never done this and would have to be verified, but something in the back of this old man's mind believes he's read it somewhere.

 

Ron

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The Prime service allows certain books to be "checked out of the library."

 

Apparently, there is no way of lending purchased books to friends. I have become a confirmed Kindle reader (although lately by iPad app rather than Amazon device) to the detriment of my friends. We can only now recommend that they purchase a book we liked rather than make a loan. In the :good ole days" we could hand them a paid-for and wholly-owned hard copy. But, then I couldn't sync my place across multiple devices, get a book within 30 seconds of desire, do word searches, carry a dozen books around in one hand, etc.

 

George

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My library here offers an electronic book (and audiobook) service where just like hard copies, you can loan them for free for a certain period. Just download them and return by the due date or they cancel anyway. Perhaps your libraries may offer a similiar service?

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Is this thread the 21st century version of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance with its discussion of kindles and random mystical clippings. (I don't remember the book well and could be wrong.)

 

:D

 

hi glint,

 

In the distant past I read the book mentioned myself but like you have only vague memories of its content - only that it had little to do with zen or maintenance, motorcycle or otherwise!

 

Anyway.....................back to the "random mystical clippings"......

 

:)

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......so................from "Sons and Lovers" by D.H.Lawrence,

 

Paul loved to sleep with his mother. Sleep is still most perfect, in spite of hygienists, when it is shared with a beloved. The warmth, the security and peace of soul, the utter comfort from the touch of the other, knits the sleep, so that it takes the body and soul completely in its healing. Paul lay against her and slept, and got better; whilst she, always a bad sleeper, fell later on into a profound sleep that seemed to give her faith.

 

Which, at least for me, conjures up some lines from Auden, from "Lullaby".....

 

Lay your sleeping head, my love,

Human on my faithless arm;

Time and fevers burn away

Individual beauty from

Thoughtful children, and the grave

Proves the child ephemeral:

But in my arms till break of day

Let the living creature lie,

Mortal, guilty, but to me

The entirely beautiful.

 

So possibly we can reflect upon the loudness of snores, or how our beloved always seems to grasp the lions share of the covers in cold weather............or rest with the "living creature".

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