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Using a Kindle to Review Books

September 16, 2011

After lots of “research” (also known as dithering), I decided to get a Kindle about a month ago. I never thought I’d be this hooked on it. It is good for many things:

  • Travel. My Kindle had almost 20 books on it, but barely took up the space of one paperback on the way to Scotland. Though, my family did manage to fill a suitcase with books to take back home!
  • Light enough to take everywhere as I bounce around during the day. Helpful on long lines and subway rides.
  • Encouraging me to read giant books that would otherwise be cumbersome to tote around. George R.R. Martin! Discovery of Witches!
  • Encouraging me to read the classics. They’re free. (Honesty: I’ve downloaded quite a few… but haven’t actually read the Dickens or Wharton or Dumas. Though I’ve read some Sherlock Holmes.)
  • Looking up words while I’m reading. Just a click and I know things!

But actually writing a more systematic book review… feels a little weird. I’m reviewing a book for BlogHer Book Club and decided to get an e-book copy through NetGalley to try it out. I had a few hitches because it was my first time using NetGalley, and I got confused. There are a couple of steps between “click on book” and “beam to Kindle” for a first time NetGalley user.

And here’s another thing I’m noticing: Taking notes does not work as well as I want to. I can bookmark and highlight easily. I’ve been doing that, to mark passages in fiction, where I enjoy the language.

But the book I’m reviewing is nonfiction: <a href="Lunch Wars: How to Start a School Food Revolution and Win the Battle for Our Children?s Health""“>Lunch Wars. So I want to underline and take notes, to make sure I understand the main arguments and track the supporting information. Underlining? No problem. Click! Toggle toggle! Done! Taking notes– feels kind of poky. Using the Kindle keyboard is a bit hunt-and-peck. And I can’t do my favorite review thing: write on tons of sticky notes and plaster them to the pages.

On the plus side, if I need to search the text for a specific thing, that will be easier than it ever is in a paper book.

Going to try taking notes on paper alongside reading the Kindle, to see if that feels less poky and strange, and helps me organize thoughts for the review.

It may be that paper books work better as review copies for nonfiction, for me. Still figuring things out.


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