At night, I find incredible pleasure in my Kindle. I pick up all 7.8 ounces of it, palm it, turn out the lights. Then, the only physical act required is a small swipe of my finger across an index-card-size piece of glass. I can choose to go almost anywhere, as long as I am willing to pay.
The Kindle offers the purest form of immersive reading I have ever experienced. There is something narcotic about it. As scholar Alan Jacobs writes, “Once you start reading a book on the Kindle—and this is equally true of the other e-readers I’ve tried—the technology generates an inertia that makes it significantly easier to keep reading than to do anything else.” The compulsion to keep reading stems partially from the lack of distractions: E-books, thin, gray, and under-designed, shear off the blurbs and author bios and test-marketed book-jacket covers.
But when I am reading on my Kindle, I am not alone.
It's hard to imagine the two-story house on East 86th Street in Cleveland's Fairfax neighborhood ever becoming a tourist destination. Pizza crusts, empty bags of spicy potato chips, and wrapping papers litter the green carpet. Huge holes dot the walls where the fixtures have been ripped out. The back door is open. "People will spend all day trying to get 10 cents worth of copper," says Jay Gardner, the community-development director for the Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation, as he picks up an old grate and puts it across the door latch to prevent another break-in.