Virginia Heffernan of The New York Times finally falls in love with the Kindle ebook reader. It's not pretty. But it's great for people who travel, read a lot of books and yet don't want to carry a lot of books with them. And it's not a phone, so no one keeps calling you as you're trying to read.
In short, you get absorbed when reading on the Kindle. You lose hours to reading novels in one sitting. You sit up straighter, energized by new ideas and new universes. You nod off, periodically, infatuated or entranced or spent. And yet the slight connection to the Web still permits the (false, probably, but nonetheless reassuring) sense that if the apocalypse came while you were shut away somewhere reading, the machine would get the news from Amazon.com and find a way to let you know. Anything short of that, though, the Kindle leaves you alone.
And alone is where I want to be, for now. It's bliss. Emerge from the subway or alight from a flight, and the Kindle has no news for you. No missed calls. It's ready only to be read. It's like a good exercise machine that mysteriously incentivizes the pursuit of muscle pain while still making you feel cared for. The Kindle makes you want to read, and read hard, and read prolifically. It eventually makes me aware that, compared with reading a lush, inky book, checking e-mail is boring, workaday and lame.
Version 2.0 of the Kindle isn't coming out anytime soon, so new purchasers can be reasonably sure that Amazon.com won't pull a Steve Jobs on them and roll out a new model just after you've bought one. You can see the Kindle in all its glory at Amazon.com.