Tag Archives: Ebooks

Kindling the Imagination; a Kindle Edition!

seasonsNearly twenty  years ago I went on a retreat with the aim of discerning, and then distilling into a single sentence, what I thought it was that God had put me on earth to do. This is the sentence I came up with:

I am here to use my love of language and my delight in poetry to kindle my own, and other peoples imaginations for Christ.

Its not surprising therefore that the verb ‘to kindle’ crops up quite often in my poetry. It occurs, for example, five times in my collection of seventy sonnets Sounding the Seasons. When I reached for that word kindle, on retreat in the early nineties of the last century I had no idea that the word would one day be a noun to describe a kind of Ebook that could be made instantly available to anyone anywhere. Now I have some issues with Amazon over their tax avoidance here in the UK, but I think their choice of name for their Ereader was inspired, for kindling a fire of light and longing, one light kindling and lighting another, the flame leaping from mind to mind across the world and over the generations, is just what reading, at its best, is all about.

So it is with some pleasure that I can say that today my book of sonnets is released on Kindle!

It should be easy to find and download via Amazon in any country but here are the links for the kindle edition for the UK, USA, and Canada:

Sounding the Seasons UK

Sounding the Seasons USA

Sounding the Seasons Canada

Finally here is one of the sonnets from the book in which I use the word kindle; this one is a celebration of all God’s unknown saints

All Saints

Though Satan breaks our dark glass into shards

Each shard still shines with Christ’s reflected light,

It glances from the eyes, kindles the words

Of all his unknown saints. The dark is bright

With quiet lives and steady lights undimmed,

The witness of the ones we shunned and shamed.

Plain in our sight and far beyond our seeing

He weaves them with us in the web of being

They stand beside us even as we grieve,

The lone and left behind whom no one claimed,

Unnumbered multitudes, he lifts above

The shadow of the gibbet and the grave,

To triumph where all saints are known and named;

The gathered glories of His wounded love.

8 Comments

Filed under imagination, Poems

Fahrenheit 451 and the opposite of Ebooks

The Folio edition of Fahrenheit 451

The Folio edition of Fahrenheit 451

A few posts back I mentioned that I had “been reminded recently in three very concrete ways of how precious and irreplaceable real books are with their tang, tinge, smudge and wear, and most of all their tangible personal history.” Well the first reminder was that Family Bible, here’s the second. I recently received a beautiful book, in its own slip case from the Folio Society. If you know the Folio Society you’ll know they produce beautiful editions of books the way they used to be, the way they should be, beautifully bound and printed on good paper with pleasing typefaces, a pleasure to handle and made to last and hand down the generations. Well I have a few of their editions but so far they’d all been classics from an earlier age; Shakespeare’s Sonnets, The Canterbury Tales, the poems of Coleridge. But the other day I got a modern classic. It was Fahrenheit 451.

Now I can remember vividly the first time I picked up and read that book. It was a cheap ‘pulp-fiction style paperback with a lurid green cover and already-yellowed paper which I picked up as a teenager from a charity shop in downtown Hamilton. I couldn’t tell you where it is now, maybe I lost it or gave it away, but I never forgot the story.Indeed as so many of its predictions began to come true (the interactive entertainments, the dwindling attention spans, the ubiquitous ear-pieces and flat-screen TVs, the persistent dumbing down of the public sphere, the distress of others made a spectacle to titivate the jaded, the concerted attack on memory and learning) I began to realise how deeply that cheap disposable paperback had shaped me and sharpened my take on modern life.

But the deepest influence of all was the terrible image of burning books, burning books as part of an orchestrated assault on the past, a collective amnesia. And memories of that book came back when I first got involved in the current debate on the merits of ebooks versus paper books.

Now I have lots of ebooks and I find their searchability and portability very helpful, but alarm bells rang when I discovered that they could be centrally altered or even deleted whenever I logged in, that the e-medium was essentially transient and manipulable. Ever since then I’ve made sure I have a real, hardbound paper copy of every book that matters to me.

Which is why, when my beautiful folio society edition of Farenheit 451 dropped through the door it made such an impact. Of all the books they could have chosen to print in such a sumptuous and beautiful way surely this was the most appropriate. To present the book which was itself a defence of the power and permanence of the printed page, in such a beautiful and permanent form was itself to validate and amplify the meaning of its contents.

If in some future dystopia the cyber-firemen of a totalitarian state delete every e-copy of Fahrenheit 451 I’ll be reading and sharing this copy in secret with the other die-hard old-age survivors!

4 Comments

Filed under Current affairs, literature, politics