My first purchase for the new Kindle was a "set" of fifty novels by Anthony Trollope for $4.95 -- or ten cents for each spacious, digressive, leisurely book, many of which I have read in the past as three-volume baggy monsters. Initiating a 21st-century electronic device with classic Victorian novels sure does tickle me.
The Kindle fits nicely with my latter-day anti-clutter neurosis. No need to buy a new bookcase. No need, even, to dust the volumes.
It's a new way of reading, but whether for better or worse I can't yet say. The Kindle is portable and easy on the wrist. There's a built-in light for cloudy days and middles of nights. But I'm used to knowing where I am in a novel. How many pages I've read, how many to go are elements crucial to the experience. I miss, frankly, the heft of the book, the gratification of accumulating all those turned pages. (The Kindle notes the percentage of the book that you've read, which is helpful but not satisfying. And when you buy fifty novels in a bundle, the K tells you only that you started The Eustace Diamonds at, say, 26% and finished at 29% -- information which is utterly useless.)
Can You Believe Her? clearly signalled that it was coming to an end, but Phineas Finn, this time through, came to a conclusion that seemed to be far more hasty than in previous readings. I was surprised that Trollope left so much unresolved. But then, perhaps he had a sequel already in mind.
I need to remind myself that the first readers of these novels didn't read them in book form. They read them as periodic installments in magazines. The experience of reading a novel in the course of a year or eighteen months was profoundly different from zooming through 800 pages in a few days. While there's nothing "authentic" about "kindling," the kind of Trollope-reading at which I've had a lifetime of practice is equally artificial.