Sunday, June 07, 2009

What's on YOUR Kindle?

A few people have asked me what's on my Kindle now that I have one. Here's the list as of 6 p.m. this evening, alphabetically by title (you can order them that way, alphabetically by author, or by most recently used).

  • Alongside Night, J. Neil Schulman
  • Anti-Federalist Papers, George Clinton, et al.
  • Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy, Thomas Sowell
  • Classic Philosophy: Complete Dialogues of Plato, Plato
  • The Complete Works of Shakespeare, William Shakespeare
  • Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville
  • The Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison
  • Holy Bible, New International Version
  • An Inquiry into the Nature and Cause of the Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith
  • King James Bible
  • Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
  • Red Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson
  • The Spirit of Laws, Montesquieu
  • The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Adam Smith
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • Works of Aristotle, Aristotle

Yes, it's heavy on big books and philosophy, but that's the direction my mind runs these days. I spend all day with science, engineering, and space, so I need more down-to-earth reading in my free time. At which point some of my friends wonder why I don't read lust-in-the-dust novels or something "fun." To which I would answer simply that their interests are not mine.

There's also this illuminating episode I read awhile back on philosophy. John Foster Dulles, U.S. Secretary of State and once legal clerk to the eminent jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes, came to visit the old man in his sick bed. Holmes asked Dulles to read to him from Plato's Symposium. At some point, Dulles asked why they were reading this book, to which Holmes said testily, "To broaden our minds, sonny." That's as good an answer as any.

Mind you, I might not read EVERYTHING on the Kindle, any more than I've read every book on my bookshelf. I tend to recycle or toss the unread ones when the shelves get to overflowing. However, I do suffer occasionally from "Kindle guilt" from not reading all the stuff I've bought (as opposed to "DVR guilt" that people get from saving TV shows on TiVo and then not watching them. I don't get "guilt" unless it's a rather hefty price tag. For instance, the Sowell book I just bought will most likely move to the head of the line, as it's the first Kindle purchase I've made that's over $20. Most of the philosophy books and the Bibles were all <$5 a piece and are in the pile for reference, not for immediate reading. My favorite and most useful purchase--and the one that gives me the most guilt if I don't read it--is my subscription to the Wall Street Journal, since that's now $14.99 a month.

Otherwise, my Kindle is becoming a collection of philosophy, religion, and other deep thoughts, and I'm good with that. Who knows? Someday I might find time to write something of my own and get it published for the Kindle. Of course by that time, everything will be downloaded into my head via installed chip, right?

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