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'Dear Abby' Paved the Way for Advice Givers

Curling up with a Good Smartphone

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I love reading more than almost anything. It started when I was four and it’s continued unabated every day of every year since. I have way too many books that overflow every bookcase I’ve ever added to accommodate them.

So when e-readers appeared five years ago, did I look at them as a welcome opportunity to reduce the clutter around my house? I did not. I was contemptuous. Reading and physical books were inextricably linked in my mind. Curling up with a good book required an actual book, right?

As e-readers multiplied and their sales grew, it became apparent that millions of people didn’t see it that way. Still, go out and buy yet another gadget? Not necessary, thank you very much.

And then I got a new smartphone that came with the Kindle app preinstalled. I ignored it for months. Months. How could I read on something so small? I’d be turning the pages so often, it would completely distract from the experience. But they’re crafty at Amazon. They preinstalled a few public-domain novels including one of my all time favorites, Pride and Prejudice.

One night, on a crowded, unmoving subway train, I bit. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

Was I distracted by the page turning? Ha! I nearly missed my stop because I was so engrossed. Since then, there’s been no turning back for this girl. My phone is always with me. I can even download Robert Massie’s brilliant 656-page biography of Catherine the Great without adding an ounce of weight to my bag.

The only problem I’ve discovered is that my commutes just don’t last long enough anymore.

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