So I broke down and bought a Kindle. As usual, I tend to be open to trying new technologies, but don’t like being at the bleeding edge (where people get hurt). There’s no doubt that electronic reading devices have a long way to go, but there’s also little doubt that they’re the wave of the future, or at least a sizable part of it. And the technology seems to have reached a point where Kindle editions of books are a non-trivial part of the market. My own decision to get one was definitely influenced by the number of queries I received about whether my own book would have a Kindle edition. (Answer: yes.)
And now it’s arrived! So the question is: what’s the first book I should buy? An obvious choice would be Infinite Jest, as the Infinite Summer project is underway and (as I have learned) toting a thousand-page book around on a cross-country flight is less than perfectly convenient. But, of course, I already own that book. And, as Matthew Yglesias points out, you don’t want to buy Kindle versions of impressive books that you can prominently display to buff up your credentials as a person of culture. And the worst would be to display a giant, impressive book on your shelves, but one that was clearly unread and in pristine condition, even though you really did read it, only you read it on your Kindle. Worst of all possible worlds.
The idea, then, is to find a good book that I haven’t yet read, but not one that is too good — not good enough that I’d rather have the dead-tree edition. Any suggestions?