© John Gilchrist (http://www.flickr.com/photos/johngilchrist/)

For everyone in Scotland, this is one of those days where you want to be curled up in bed with a good book.  In Edinburgh a 60 second walk along Princes Street had me looking like a drowned rat earlier; the zoo and the castle  both closed early because of the weather; and according to twitter someone on Blackford Hill measured the wind travelling at 76 miles an hour.  Truly autumn is here – if by ‘autumn’ you mean minor apocalypse.

Naturally this incentive to stay indoors leads to indoor type pursuits, such as downloading book samples to other people’s kindles because you promised you would read something ‘proper’ (ie costing more than 49p).  Unfortunately, much like a visit to a bookshop or the indie comics section of Forbidden Planet, all this does is result in a plethora of indecision.  Today I’ve read bits of The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson, The Map of Time by Felix J.Palma, and Death of a Ladies Man by Alan Bissett – all of which I would cheerily finish if time were no object.  Unfortunately time is an object, a rather blunt one that is angled against me as September chugs along and I discover I have only written about 2,000 words of book 9.

I have to admit it’s a useful tool though.  You get at least as much of the book to read as you’d get away with in a bookshop before a disillusioned salesperson sidles up to tell you that there’s a library on George IV Bridge and they have seats.  It let me have three chapters of The Map of Time, which is presumably deemed the right amount to pique the reader’s interest without giving away what happens.  I didn’t get three chapters of the other two though, so I can only speculate there are some kind of literary Oompa Loompa figures at Amazon HQ whose job it is to read everything and determine where that cut off is – what a great job.  I am well jel, as the kids say.

I would point out though that if I owned a kindle, this function would exponentially exacerbate the problem of my massive pile of stuff to read.  I wouldn’t even have to leave the house for the second hand bookshop next door to pick things up and read the blurb – I could sit on the sofa in all kinds of weather and read not only the blurb, but part of the book.  That is a dangerous precedent to be setting.  I’m pretty sure any kindle of mine would fill up pretty quickly, but it’d still take me an age to read it all, just like with my big ol’ pile of paper books.  It would end up a text based version of my iPod, which has 80GB of memory most of which is used, yet the song that comes up most is probably War (hurgh, good god…) cause shuffle seems to really like it.  Kindle doesn’t even have a shuffle function, and if it did it’d probably keep telling me to re-read chapter 14 of Shadowmagic.

Shuffle functions are a little bit annoying that way.

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