Just like that, last week I flirted with acquiring a new addiction. One that could seriously compromise my credit card. A one-step click that could turn expensive.
But let me back track. I’ve worked hard over the years to combat my one major addiction: wedding cake. The cake thing started when I was a kid; my folks—my dad being a minister—attended many weddings. As the youngest and tail-ender of five, my older siblings were long married, and I was often left home alone. But my folks always brought me home a piece of the white layered wedding cake, doused with a generous supply of shortening-based frosting, and wrapped in the ubiquitous white cocktail napkin with silver lettering and scalloped edges. At some point, I think I equated cake gifts with their love.
Years later, I told my nursing students about my cake addiction. I even owned up to taking my own wrapped piece at a wedding, and my husband’s, and, while walking out, another piece from a table at another wedding in the same banquet hall. And, years later, one of my nursing student clinical groups gave me all-things-cake as a gift in our final clinical conference.
So I know I have an easy propensity to be hooked on something. And now that something is my Kindle. I got it over a year ago and, until last week, I’d read only a smattering of books on it, mostly free. But last week, I discovered I could attend the last meeting of my book club before summer break. I’d taken a self-imposed sabbatical to free up time for the classes I was taking in the Basic Program at the University of Chicago. I knew I’d not have extra time to read novels when I was plowing through the likes of Thucydides and Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations.
With only three days before the meeting, I turned to my Kindle store for Rebecca Sloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, found it and, with one-click shopping, owned it, then sailed through it. Wow. Enlarging the print made reading so smooth. And, with just a flick of my finger, I flew through every page and every word of the detailed references in the appendices. I loved the science behind the HeLa cells, the personal story of the Lacks family, and the ethical debate about using a person’s tissue for research without their knowledge or consent.
Continuing my reading rampage, I repeated the one-click shopping with the previous month’s selection, Kevin Powers’ The Yellow Birds. I lost (or gained, depending on perspective) a day and a half immersed in Powers’ novel of the Iraq War and its effects on our soldiers. Equated by some with Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, a novel describing horrific experiences in the Vietnam War, reading the The Yellow Birds made me wonder anew why anyone would want war, would go to war, would support a war, would even think war. You just can’t stop after the first sentence, “The war tried to kill us that spring.”
Before I could get to the previous month’s book club selection, I’m now reading a book on the suggestion list for next year: Ka Hancock’s Dancing on Broken Glass. I was drawn to this book because the author is a psychiatric nurse (my background) and her characters live with bipolar illness and breast cancer. What a combination! With insight that only someone who intimately knows these topics, Hancock makes her characters real, vivid, and, at times, heart breaking. And her start in the Prologue, “I met Death at a party” is a natural grab to continue.
So, I’m afraid my flirtation with the Kindle has turned me into an addict. And all those freebies, many classics, I’ll be able to read forever. But, it’s Monday morning, and, as my mother would say, it’s time to do the washing first. But then I’ve made plans for lunch out with a friend… I know, however, that my Kindle will wait for me; my last page is book marked, so I’m ready to flick pages at my next sitting. I know, also, that I will enjoy this new, more learning-oriented addiction than wedding cake and just hope my credit card will enjoy it too.
Photo Credit: English Wedding Cake – Wikipedia
Note: You can search for the above books by clicking on the Kindle link.