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Kindle

The word "kindle" is a term usually used in the context of starting a fire. It specifically refers to creating a fire from a small spark. But it has become a metaphor so general that it is frequently used as a verb indicating any small event causing a larger event. Yet "kindling" is not considered to be a haphazard act. Normally it is done with the purpose of causing some kind of conflagration, whether it be to warm someone's heart or to start a world-wide revolution. Kindling is usually a human generated event. A forest fire is seldom thought to be kindled, (unless arson is suspected). In this case kindle is used as verb. It is an act; it shows action.

The origin of the word "kindle" is obscure. It may be Old Norse, and first appeared in English around 1200 AD.1 Now kindle has also become a noun. Amazon.com has created a book-reader they call the "Kindle". The Kindle 2, the current manifestation, can download books directly from the internet. Books are ordered and downloaded directly from the internet.

The device can carry over 1500 books. A large variety of books are available at prices most often lower than the cost of an actual book. It is also possible to subscribe to newspapers and magazines. For example, a reader can get a subscription to the Wall Street Journal for steep discounts off the retail price. The technicians at Amazon took considerable pains to create a device that has the look and feel of a book. It has a no-glare screen that reads like paper, even in sunlight. It is thin, but sturdy. The kindle is only about 1/3 of an inch thick, and weighs the equivalent of a paperback book.

Unless the option has been disabled in a particular work, the Kindle 2 can read directly to the owner with speech that sounds surprisingly fluid. Another remarkable feature is the ability to annotate passages in the same manner as a reader might write in the margins of a book. Kindle is an advance in book publishing that just may make paper books obsolete.

By the way, a kindle is also a group of kittens. Which begs the question. What were the Amazon people thinking when they named the Kindle? a spark to start a fire - or a bunch of kittens.?


  1. Etymology of Kindle


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