Kindles, iPods and Lent

I bought a Kindle last October and loved it instantly. I’ve read a number of books, including the few reviews on this site since then. In fact, all of the books I’ve read since October have been on the Kindle.

Until now.

Amazon Kindle
photocredit: flickr/tompagenet

I love books. I love having a bookshelf full of books. I admitted to myself when buying the Kindle that I would still buy the physical book if it was something that anticipate wanting to add to the physical library. In this case, I purchased The Emerging Diaconate by Deacon William Ditewig, PhD. My interest for the diaconate and my thoughts on this book are for another post, but I thought that I’d want to keep this one in physical form.

I realized I enjoy reading on the Kindle much more. With the Kindle, I can’t flip forward a few pages to see how long until the end of a chapter. I saw this as a defect; however, it is a benefit. While reading the book in the quiet of our room while the girls were sleeping on our retreat, I would be ready to take a break. While reading the previous book on the Kindle, I’d finish that “screen” and the remainder of that paragraph, put the book down and go. With the physical book, I wanted to reach the end of the chapter.

My reading comprehension crashed. My goal wasn’t to read anymore; it was to finish the chapter. I could say that I read the last two pages of the chapter, but I failed to retain any of it. I caught myself doing it again on Monday night. When buying the Kindle, I thought that I would read more, but I never thought it would help me to be a better reader.

That’s a sign of a great piece of technology. It may have flaws and critics will have issues, no doubt, but it enhances something to make your life truly better.

For Lent, I am hanging up my iPod Touch.

I’m still using the same one that was a Christmas gift in 2008 and it has served me well. While working as an insurance agent, I loved being able to update my electronic calendar on the road. I’m not certain it enhanced my scheduling experience, though. I remember apologizing many times while waiting for the iPod to load my calendar. A paper calendar may have actually been more efficient.

Now though, why do I need an iPod Touch? I get away with checking e-mail and Twitter throughout the day, but I don’t need to be consuming that content at that moment. Olivia comes up to me and says “Daddy, stop checking e-mail!”. Usually, I do it when she’s playing by herself and I seemingly have nothing to do in that moment. Truthfully, I’m trying to do two things well at the same time: be with my girls and keep up with the outside world.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to have dedicated blocks of time to do that? Do I carry a book with me everywhere and read a paragraph every time there is a two-minute lull? No offense, but do the 500 people I follow on Twitter actually say anything that I have to read right that moment?

Would I be a better father by being present when I’m present? Would it stretch me to have to figure out how to do activities during the day that entertains/educates both me and the girls? I bet they get bored too sometimes and don’t have the luxury of pulling out a magic device that always gives me something new to look at.

What about you? Are you using Lent as a chance to take away what doesn’t enhance? What helped you decide what you will be doing for the next 40 days?



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2 responses to “Kindles, iPods and Lent

  1. Christian R. González Avatar

    I’m going to use my Kindle to read “In Coversation with God” and the Liturgy of the Hours.

    1. Brandon Kraft Avatar

      I’m a fan of the old-fashioned book for liturgy of the hours; not sure why I find ribbons and page-turns conducive to prayer. I do have the Kindle export from the Universalis program as a LOTH-on-the-road option.

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