When we were on our trip, I often found it difficult to get my hands on English books. When they were available in bookstores, they were horribly expensive (I paid 20 Euro or $30 CAD for a paperback book!). This was in the time before kindle, so there were limited options for eBooks – Scott had a bunch of eBooks of varying sorts on his Nokia handheld (mostly classics and fan-fiction sci-fi), but I didn’t have an eBook reader and the types of books I normally read were not available as eBooks at that time. Its actually hard to imagine life before Kindle!
In planning for our vacation to Africa this spring, I’m finding that what I long for most is the opportunity to sit on a beach (or by a pools or someplace quite) with no time pressures and read a book or two, just for fun. Interestingly, when I look back our trip, I have the fondest memories of the random books I read– the books of opportunity – ones that I likely would not have picked out on my own, but that I read because they were the only think available at the time.
Now that I have an eReader (iPad and Kindle), I can bring whatever books I want. But I find that I am missing the serendipity of the random books. The choice of books is paralyzing me – I can have any book, so how can I possibly choose! To help me recover the serendipity, I’ve decided to limit my vacation books to free eBooks. I’ve subscribes to pixelofink and free books for kindle, and over the next few weeks I’ll scan the free options and download some random books to read. From those, I’ll still have lots of choice, but I’ll be choosing from about 100 books rather than the 100s of thousands that are available on amazon. Who knows what I’ll find!