First. I got a Kindle Fire. Yes, I got a Kindle Fire. An electronic reader; or, an “e-reader,” as the kids are calling it. Something I swore never, ever to do, something that undermines all the values I hold most dear and strikes at the very core of who— I— am.
That’s not true, it’s actually not that big a deal. In part, because I will always retain my love for books, the physicality of books, their tangible existence, but also because the Kindle Fire is less a reader and more a mini tablet, with email and internet and photos and apps and games and etcetera. In fact, what I’m loving most about it so far is the brilliant screen with its high definition and vivid colors. Fruit Ninja looks phenomenal. My Southwest photos look editorial.
And what I’m discovering (though my relationship with the Kindle may change—it’s still early) is that, principally, I think this little guy* will make an excellent magazine reader. I already signed up for a subscription to Vogue (a sign of the medium’s potential salvation?) and the photo spreads and layouts are, no exaggeration, freaking gorgeous. I actually think they might look better in digital than on the page. The white glow emanates always outward, from the spread itself, a superior luminary arrangement to the glossy page’s tendency to reflect large crinkled spots of daylight that in passing obscure the ink.
This admission of digital superiority is an implied blasphemy on my part, coming into conflict with my core tenet that the page always trumps the screen; but I think as long as I limit that blasphemy to magazines, as interactive and visual and occasionally tawdry as they are, I can still belong to my church. (Not that one. The bibliophile one, that holds congregation at used bookstores.)
*He still needs a name. Idea: Pantalaimon?
Moving on. A few months ago, I made an impulse buy at an architects’ bookstore in Berkeley: Paris in Color, a photo collection by American-in-Paris Nichole Robertson. Having recently been to Paris, and having some of my favorite movies set in Paris (Amelie, Moulin Rouge, Paris, je t’aime), and aspiring to be an American-in-Paris, and just, generally, being a Francophile (or maybe, more accurately, a Paris-phile), I thought that a visual hodgepodge of the city would be perfect for my collection, even though I tend to avoid art books: the ones you don’t read but just awkwardly look at from time to time.
Awkwardness aside, this lovely little offering from Chronicle Books (awesome San Francisco-based publisher that focuses on art-related and visually appealing books) is slightly unusual in that its representation in Paris is, well, so colorful. Separate sections devoted to purple, pink, blue, yellow, orange, display every chroma Paris has to offer; even though the city tends to be associated with black, gray, beige, red, and, I suppose, the gold-yellow of its lights. The photos also eschew touristy or landscape-y views for closeups: chairs, signs, bicycles, awnings. My favorites are the patisserie menus, written in chalk cursive. Very evocative of the being there.
But I still associate Paris with those aforementioned moody colors (just like I associate London with browns, whites, reds, and royal blue). Maybe that’s why my favorite sections are the black and the white. So pretty!
And to my aunt, if she’s reading this— thanks for the Kindle (a.k.a. Pantalaimon)!