Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Nook review and the Appalachian Prison Book Program

Hello darling readers!
Did you know that libraries have a limit on the number of books you can check out at one time? I learned that by the time I was in kindergarten. To say I love reading is an understatement. To me, something isn't quite right if I don't have a book that I'm progress. I always have a pile of to-read books laying around. I love the smell of books stores and the feel of a new book in my hand. Luckily for me, I married someone else nerdy enough to think that going and reading at bookstores is a completely acceptable date idea.
And so, when e-readers first came out, I was not happy. It seemed sacrilegious to me that people would carry around little tables containing thousands of books, reading their pages on a screen rather than flipping pages. Not only that, as someone with poorish eyesight, I was concerned about the eye strain. My technogeek husband laughed at me and, much to my bewilderment, bought a Kindle last Christmas while I insisted on sticking to my hardcopy books.
However, I began to notice this summer that he who reads slower than molasses was finishing more books than me. I couldn't understand it- he and I were both working full-time, with the same responsibilities outside of work, and yet he was going through more books. And the more I thought about it, the more curious I became about the answer: while I was not bringing a book with me to work because it made my purse heavier, he was carrying his Kindle around with him and able to get in more reading time.
I was a little uncomfortable with this fact and even more uncomfortable with the idea that I might want an e-reader.
So, I spent several months looking at the e-readers, with none of them fitting what I required if I was going to commit heresy. I wanted something that would easily fit in my purse, was an e-ink screen (no glare!), only did books, was touch-screen, no ads, and under $100. And of course, with those standards, nothing made me happy.
That is, until I found the Nook Simple Touch. I wanted that thing within five minutes of playing with it.
This e-reader is amazing. It has the e-ink screen, so I can read it anywhere, has a VERY easy to figure out touch screen (as well as inconspicuous side buttons), and the only ads I see are for books at the BN store. It (and its matching Vera Bradley case) fits perfectly in my purse or bookbag and turns on super fast for when I only have a few minutes to read. Plus, when synced to Facebook, it connects to my Nook friends automatically, so that I can see which books I can borrow from them. Once I purchase books, I get them within seconds, and the BN store has a copy of my wishlist right on the device. This toy is amazing and I can honestly say that I read more with it, partly because it is easier to carry around the tiny e-reader than an average-sized copy of Anna Karenina (which I recently finished, BOOYA!).
Yes, sometimes I feel guilty about having gone to the dark side, but I realize that having an e-reader doesn't make me love hardcopy books any less. I enjoy reading them just the same as my Nook, with the added bonus of them getting to stay safe and clean at home, rather than risk getting beat-up in my bags. And yes, I have purchased hardcopy books since the purchase of my Nook.

I would like to end this blog with a final charity appeal. All of my book-loving friends understand the joy it is to share a book with someone, especially when they might not have been able to get the book otherwise. Reading is super-important to me and I'm a big supporter of programs that target populations that might not be getting the reading materials they need or want. So, when I found out about the Appalachian Prison Book Program at WVU, I thought it was a fantastic idea. The organization collects new or gently used books to send to prisoners who have written in requesting materials; the prisoners are then encouraged to share the books they receive with others or donate them to the prison library. The program also accepts donations to fund shipping the books, as well as to purchase more. Not only does the program help feed their souls, there are studies that show higher reading levels in prison help improve morale and behavior. So, rather than donating your books to the thrift store, consider finding a similar program near you- you really will be helping to improve someone's life.
Here is the link to the APBP, if you would like more details on the program or how to donate:
They are also on Facebook:

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