Don’t forget the Saint’s Name Generator if you want a saint chosen at random to be your patron for the new year! Leave a comment and let me know who was picked for you. (Note that you have to click twice to get the name — I’ll fix it to make it one click as soon as I have time.) Last year my saint was St. Francis de Sales, and he’s been a great source of inspiration for me in 2011. Also, check out the comments to this post for neat stories about the significance of some of the saint’s names folks drew.
For 2012, my patron is St. Ferdinand III of Castile. He’s the patron of large families, poor people, and prisoners. So, umm, I’m kind of wondering what, exactly, God has in store for us this year — especially since my husband drew St. Justin Martyr.
My husband got me a Kindle for Christmas. “I guess I might use it for the occasional fiction book,” I thought. “But I’ll never do regular reading on an electronic device.” To put it bluntly: I COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG. This thing has become like an appendage of my body. It’s my favorite gadget I’ve ever owned. Here’s what’s great about it:
- You can create highlights and make notes — and they’re available online. First of all, I was delighted to discover that you can highlight sections and make notes with e-readers. Then, when I logged into my Kindle account on Amazon and saw all my highlights and notes right there, I almost passed out from the awesomeness. (It has been pointed out to me that you can only do this with books you buy through the Kindle store. Which is definitely a downside. But whatever! Because then there’s this:)
- It lies flat. The other day the baby was unusually fussy and insisted on being held all day, and in the moments when she’d finally doze off I was able to get a lot of reading done. I had to use both hands for the ninja techniques required to keep her happy, and so it would have been hard to hold a paper book open. Being able to just glance down at my Kindle, then press a button to turn the page, made hands-free reading a breeze.
- It doesn’t require a monthly data plan. I was under the mistaken impression that you had to buy a monthly data plan in order to download books on e-readers. I was delighted to find that I can use my Kindle on my home wireless network to get my purchases.
- The screen is like reading on paper. I’m amazed at how similar the look of the screen is to a regular book: It doesn’t glow, it’s not glossy, and it’s easier to read the more light you shine on it.
I will still buy some books in paper form, but count me in as e-reading’s newest convert.
So now you’re convinced. You’re sitting in front of your computer saying, “Jen, you’re right. I thought my life was complete, but now I see that it is a mere shell of an existence compared to what it could be if I owned an e-reader. I am going to purchase a Kindle as soon as I finish reading your astoundingly insightful Quick Takes. However, I am going to go all out and get a Kindle Fire!” No. Do not do this. Go with the low-end version. Here’s why:
One of the reasons I thought I wasn’t an e-reader kind of gal is because my mom has an iPad, and I could never get into reading books on it when I’d borrow it. First of all, I don’t like reading a lot of text on glowing screens. Second, there were too many distractions: I’d sit down with the intention of getting into Scott Hahn’s latest title, but would somehow end up in a heated debate about nuts in desserts on Twitter. It was just too tempting to do something interactive like surf the web or check my email and social media accounts. What’s wonderful about the basic-model Kindle (and presumably the basic models of other e-readers as well) is that there’s no temptation to do anything other than read a book.
So, I think I was right that I don’t like reading on electronic devices; what I was missing is that the basic Kindle is more like a book than an electronic device.
What are your New Year’s resolutions? To keep it simple and doable, I’m going to choose just one thing to work on this year. But I haven’t decided what that one thing should be, so I’m looking for inspiration.
Winter Solstice was December 22 and, as usual, it bummed me out that the days will now start getting longer. I think I have some kind of summer version of Seasonal Affective Disorder: I always feel happy and excited when sunset comes earlier and everything is dark and cold, and I’m sad when I see the first signs of Spring at the end of each Winter. It could have something to do with the fact that I live in a climate that’s inhospitable to human life during the summers, but I do recall feeling the same way when I lived in places like Denver or Bismark too.
To kick off the new year, here are Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin singing Auld Lang Syne: