Better living through e-Books

01/05/2010 at 9:20 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Books, books, and more books. Seems like everyone is talking about books, contributing to books, and/or feminism this week. Maybe it’s because it’s right after the holidays, so people are receiving new books as gifts? No? Well it must be just me then.

The most exciting gift I received over the holidays was an Amazon Kindle. A slightly used Kindle, but a Kindle nonetheless. (Funny story behind that slightly used part; my partner & I have some kind of Gift of the Magi thing going on.) I know that e-book readers have some inherent flaws & limitations, not the least of which is a limited selection of books available, and DRM technology on the books that are electronic. I know that the price of e-books isn’t always much cheaper than ordering a hard copy online. I know that if Amazon goes out of business, theoretically, all my e-books could get wiped out. I know all this. I’m willing to accept those risks. I have a couple of goals I intend to reach using this Kindle – and my own in-print collection.

I’ve been meaning to turn over some hard copies of old books & replace them with digital copies. Lord of the Rings, The Prince, Plato, Freud, etc… classic books & authors such as those are often available for free on the Kindle anyway, or for a nominal price. I’m tired of those books eating up my shelf space. Now that I can replace the classics still in my possession with electronic versions, I can toss the hard copies & make room for more fun titles.

Another goal is to hide some embarrassing/controversial books on the Kindle. Currently I have to keep my erotica & detailed sexual health books hidden from plain view. I’ve been getting some flak for owning so many sexual health books – my mom has asked me, “K, why do you keep ordering books about vaginas? Don’t you have enough books about vaginas already?” No, I need more books about vaginas! And books that aren’t about vaginas!
There was also that time one of my girlfriends came over and saw that I had a book about Candida Yeast on my bookshelf… and she confided to me later, that when she saw it, she thought, “Okay, K has a book about Candida Yeast on her shelf… that’s a little different…”

My version of “Hiding” these books isn’t very effective – I just hide the titles of the books by making the pages face out on a shelf, instead of the spine of the book. And if I’m reading something sexually charged – for example, something by Violet Blue – I have to hide the book while I’m still using it. I can’t just leave it on my desk. I wish I didn’t *need* to hide my books, but if I leave them out I know that I’m going to deal with more flak.
So even though it means spending money on the same book twice, I’m going to try to replace some of my paperbacks with electronic copies.

The thing is, what do I do with those paperbacks now that I have them in e-format? I’m sure a public library would accept the classic titles. Would a public library also be interested in women’s sexual health books and erotica?

And of course, I’d like to get some new books on the Kindle – and I’d like to actually read them.

I’m a bit disappointed, I haven’t sat down and read a book in months. I tried to! I want to! I still have several books that I did finish reading, months ago, but haven’t reviewed here. More recently, I started to read a book by Violet Blue and an almost 20-year old book all about Vaginismus – and somewhere along the lines I got distracted.
The main distraction is the blogosphere itself, which is good to read too! Lots of interesting points of view & educational materials are available online! And it’s neat to interact with other feminists online – it’s dynamic. You can ask questions & change your mind, maybe even change somebody else’s mind.
Unfortunately that interaction also opens you up to the dark side of the internet too so there’s that to think about… it’s not all peace, geek & love all the time.
But it’s becoming clear to me that, in order to continue forward with my feminist & sexual health learnings, I’m going to spend more time reading Ye Olde Media in print form. That’s where some of the loudest voices & biggest figures are. If nothing else, I need to read these loud big figures in order to hear what the opposing viewpoint is.

So here’s some titles that I’ve loaded up onto the Kindle…

Sooner or later, I am going to need to chip away at Dworkin’s Intercourse. I can delay for only so long; it seems that I can’t get around it. I understand that this is a very difficult book to read. It may very well break me. But I’ll try it. At least I can say “I tried.”

To balance out the head-breakyness of Intercourse, I’m loading the Kindle out with something more fun – The Bottoming Book :3 Well that’s quite a mix isn’t it! I may attempt The Bottoming Book first, THEN Intercourse. Or vice versa…
I know what you’re going to say to me – “K, feminism and sexuality is not a zero-sum game!” I know. But I think better when I stagger the difficulty levels of what I’m reading.

I know i said I was going to get this next title used, but I changed my mind & got it on the Kindle, because it was there: Sex is Not a Natural Act and other Essays. I’m not fond of this author when her quotes appear in articles about sexual dysfunction, and judging from her table of contents, my opinion will remain unchanged upon concluding with this book. But I’ll see if there’s anything redeemable here. Maybe I’ll love it.

And then to balance out the head-breakyness of Tiefer, I also got The Topping Book.

There’s a couple of other Kindle titles I’m still on the fence about, and there’s others that can wait a little while. There is no rush. I have my whole life ahead of me to learn. Of course there’s still other books I’ll definitely have to get and keep in print.

And there’s other books I’m getting that have absolutely nothing to do with feminism or sexual health. Because believe it or not I have a life outside of those two realms too. Sadie Kay pointed out some FREE BOOKS to me over at a thread on FWD, so that’ll potentially help me save some cash. And maybe if you got a Kindle too, that’ll save you some cash now that you know such an online library exists.

And that’s some of what I’ll probably be chipping away at in 2010. Hopefully, reading. Fun stuff, hard stuff, challenging stuff, silly stuff, etc…

And I mustn’t forget about all the other books I have read which I still haven’t posted reviews for… I don’t know though, do books like Heal Pelvic Pain and The Camera My Mother Gave Me even need reviews? They should be required reading re: vulvar pain. They don’t always lend themselves easily to a feminist critique though…


The other nifty gift I received over the holidays that I’ve been using every day is much cheaper – a plastic water bottle. It’s BPA free! And it fits in my purse! If I take my makeup bag out… I may need a smaller BPA-free water bottle. To make room for the Kindle, if I want to carry it in my purse.


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  1. “I’m sure a public library would accept the classic titles. Would a public library also be interested in women’s sexual health books and erotica?” – I’m librarian by day, and it just depends on the library and the condition of the books. Check your local library’s website or call them first; they likely have a policy about what they accept and checking ahead will save you the trouble of lugging them there if they won’t accept them (for whatever reason, such as already having the titles, the condition of the materials, etc.).

  2. Try a local college. I know my poetry teacher in college also taught all the feminist classes – I went to a women’s college so there were a large number of feminist slanted classes to choose from – had shelves full of books on, well, vaginas and other female things.

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