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I am very much tempted to dump this picture of coffee over this picture of a Kindle.  That's how I'm feeling right now.

I am very much tempted to dump this picture of coffee over this picture of a Kindle. That's how I'm feeling right now.

Do you remember when I told you that the people at Amazon told me they were doing their best to get me my free Kindle?  Remember your joy?  Remember how, as a loyal davidliss.com reader, you leapt out of your seat and ululated in triumph?  Remember how you had to ring for your butler to bring you a glass of sherry to steady your nerves?  You were that excited, right?   

So, where the hell, you may be wondering, is my free Kindle?  The people at Amazon have said they would “do their best.”  You know what People at Amazon, your best isn’t good enough.  The time for tough talk – mine, not Amazon’s –  has come.  It is now.  Right now.  I’m not joking.  This is me, talking tough.  I’m seriously thinking of posting links to the Sony ebook reader.  And what of the forthcoming Apple iBook ebook Reader.  Amazon, is this a joke to you?  Don’t push me.

Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes

Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes

With no Kindle at my disposal, my delicate and very soft hands had to be sullied with paper and ink in order to read Richard Holmes’s The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science.  As many of you know, the research staff here at davidliss.com is busy cooking up all kinds of juicy tidbits on the romantic era for our next, collectively-written novel.  Holmes’s book was one I wasn’t quite sure would be useful for my research.  And it wasn’t!  I was right.  But it was still a great book, well worth reading just as, you know, a book.  Not everything has to be about the research.  Live a little.

Holmes’s basic point is that the romantic era was not, as is commonly supposed, opposed to science, but rather inspired by it.  This was a world of blossoming scientific inquiry and discovery, as well as one of exploration that opened up, as the title suggests, a world of wonders.  The title suggests a single wonder, really, but there were several.  Holmes writes about exciting times, and you can feel the excitement of his subjects in his prose as he moves from Tahitian exploration to astronomical discovery to exuberant French ballooning.  Each chapter takes a particular subject’s life, and uses the biographical inquiry as means of examining not only this person’s area of inquiry, but the historical, philosophical, and cultural background of that inquiry.  Fascinating discovery mixes effortlessly with human anecdote.  Plus there are pictures.  Anyone with an interest in the romantic period, the history of science, the turn of the 19th century, or just great, narrative non-fiction would be a freaking idiot to miss this one.  Don’t let it be you.

5 Responses to “”

  1. Eileen says:

    This just a theory since, technically, I’m not famous… but I think the problem could be that your demands are too modest to be taken seriously. ONE free Kindle? That’s almost in the neighborhood of being reasonable. They probably get that sort of thing all the time. Demand 5 gold plated ones and then the suits at Amazon will see what’s what and who’s who, etc.

  2. “Demand 5 gold plated ones…” Not nearly enough.
    Where is the audacity and verve we’ve come to expect from you, David?
    Demand to be proclaimed King of the Kindle, to have your jacket photo as an immutable startup screen, and to have Amazon name its next version of the Kindle after your son!
    Should any, or none of these things occur, and you also happen to get an extra Kindle, please send me an email, as I grow weary of turning pages and wish for the leisure of pressing buttons.

  3. You might think twice about wanting a Kindle. We bought one. We tried it. We returned it. Enjoy, and there are 9 more where this came from: http://thegreenapplecore.blogspot.com/2009/08/book-vs-kindle-round-7-storytime.html

  4. P.Trott says:

    Thank you amazon!

    I am a mac user and i suffered through 1 1/2 years of using the sony reader. The reader now seems slow, antique and nearly useless since i got my kindle 2. I have over 100 books from the public domain on my kindle and have read several books bought from amazon. I get the NY Times every day and find i read more than ever. The speed of page refresh, contrast, and usability are amazing. I also use the iphone app and amazon syncs between devices so i can read on my phone in line at the bank and pick up where i left off later that night reading in my favorite chair with my kindle. If it was waterproof, i would read it in my hot tub 🙂

  5. Arriving this afternoon, our two Kindle 2’s are delightful, easy to use, much improved over the old Kindle (and we loved our two of those, also). The directions are straight forward; the design slim and easier to use; the images great; downloading our content was simple. We’re very pleased. AND, hearing a book read any time, any place – that’s so great. Thanks. A terrifically good buy.

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