My name is Fernando and I’m a bookaholic.
I started impulsively buying books a long time ago. When I was 16 and backpacked around Europe, I bought books. They were a bad idea because I had to carry them with me for the rest of the travel, but I could not resist the temptation. Since then it has gone worse. Soon after that came the internet… and Amazon. I live in Spain, but as soon as I heard about Amazon I was hooked. I ordered books quite early and paid the extra shipment costs. Being able to wander around in such an amazing collection of books was magic.
Kindle made things even worse. At least with physical books you had to choose between a short collection with instant gratification –book store– and infinite collection with delayed gratification –Amazon–. With ebooks you get the best of both worlds. I even love the format. Hundreds of books in a small device, highlighting without damaging the book, having your notes in a central repository, multiple ways to access… And they are even cheaper most of the times! It’s paradise.
The bad things about bookaholism aren’t the direct consequences of the addiction. What’s the worse that can happen? Knowing too much about noodles? (yeah, I once bought a few books about that). The worse is the guilt and anxiety that comes with every pile of unread books, be them physical or a file somewhere.
But not everything is lost. Less than a year ago Amazon launched a new format/collection that lets me indulge in the impulse buying of books AND allows me to keep up with my reading. Almost. Enter the Kindle Singles. They are just short books, nothing really new. The great thing is that there are selected and there are a few really good ones. Some are so short that could almost be inside a magazine, but they are books. Fellow bookaholics know that magazines can’t compare to a book! And being liberated of the obligation to develop a full book, with at least a couple hundred pages, the authors write more to the point. I’m having a great time.
Kindle Singles won’t cure me. I still buy full books and my unreads list is huge, but they let me finish more books and explore more subjects, which is great. I have only read non-fiction ones because my fiction quota is still filled with a few unfinished classic science fiction sagas I want to conquer someday. But I’m sure that there are great stories being told in this format and that more will come.
Obviously, I can only finish with some recommendations:
Homo Evolutis by Steve Gullans and Juan Enriquez. Published by TED Books. Loved it! The authors expose their arguments to defend the hypothesis that humans are experiencing speciaton, the development of a new hominid. Authors promise to turn this into a new book. If only I could preorder it!
Lifted by Evan Ratliff. A must read for every thief stories aficionado. A money wharehouse in Sweden is assaulted and police investigates. It’s a real story happened in 2009.
Lost in Kandahar by Alex Berenson. War chronicle by a journalist with the troops in Afghanistan. Very interesting and well documented.