After all, Butler’s novel plays with the various meanings of “kin,” and Amazon’s Kindle inspires some of those associations in me.
I saw one up close during December, when a friend received one as a Christmas gift. Kindle didn’t kindle any warm thoughts in me, though, with its gray machinery disguised in an equally nondescript black book jacket. (Guess you can jazz up the jacket.)
Its type was easy enough to read, but I was surprised that the book “covers,” such as they are, weren’t in full color.
But this is not a review of Kindle; rather, it’s a contemplation of the gadget’s name.
Kindle is an ingeniously sly name, because it’s designed to connote a variety of “warm” feelings, including “kin” (for cozy associations; Kindle’s one of the family—that cyborg cousin from your father’s side); “kindred” (think of Anne Shirley and Diana Barry, kindred spirits!); “kindling” (ahh—a natural reference: kindling wood to start a fire, and wood also makes paper); and “kindle” itself (to illuminate [knowledge?]; to light).
There’s even “kind,” which denotes being sympathetic or gentle (Kindle is user-friendly!); or type (You’re one of my kind, a quaint recognition of PLU [People Like Us]).
Kindle thus seeks to dredge up warm, cozy feelings of sameness, simplicity, gentleness, family (happy family), and nature (wood, paper).
But despite all these banked-upon notions of community and warmth, the feeling that Kindle generates in me is kinDread. I prefer my books in paper, with full-color covers.
Do you want to take a match to Kindle or curl up with it on a cold winter’s night?
P.S. Don't forget to vote for the most fashionable blog in the 2008 weblog awards. My vote's going to WendyB, who is known to read a stylish book or twelve . . . (Click on Wendy's name to find a voting link on her page.)
*Top image by Ulrike Hahn
*Middle image of a "colorized" Phillis Wheatley; frontispiece to her book of poetry