pda

The most gifted item this past year? The Amazon Kindle.

Years ago, I bought a Palm Tungsten C, which at the time was on the forefront of the technology frontier. It was a fantastic little device that could connect to the internet, manage a calendar, play videos, listen to music, play video games, and had more than 10,000 other little applications that programmers made for it. It could also do one other thing: read ebooks. This was long before the PDA smartphone really got going, when netbooks were just a dream.

I loved that little device and one of the best things about it was the ability to use it as a book. In seconds I could download George R.R. Martin's entire "A Song of Ice and Fire" series. Then I could pop out my Tungsten on the road, on the train (which at the time I took every day), at home, in the office, in bed at night and get completely lost in another world. I could flip between books with a single stroke, pop it on and immediately be at the same page I had finished reading the night before. I loved it until the screen broke.

This is why I am not surprised at Amazon's success with the Kindle. Ebooks are very convenient. But I am a little surprised that the Kindle doesn't do very much besides deliver and store nearly any book that you want. The Tungsten C did that and more and was smaller to hold.

Still, it is not the Kindle I am interested in. It is in the fact that ebooks are so popular right now. I love them. But I still love holding a physical book in my hands. I like the rough feel of the page between my hands and hearing the pages scratch against each other as I turn the page. I love looking at the covers and stacking then on top of each other. I like knowing that at any time I can walk into my den and pull my favorite book off the shelf and not have to worry that some electrical catastrophe or accidental misplacement will lose my beloved books.

It does make me wonder what the future holds for the physical book in twenty years, in a fifty years. Will book companies still print physical copies or will they do away it to cut costs and boost profits and make their selections even more diverse and more available? I thought they would always have free TV and radio. But those things are beginning to disappear. Will physical books disappear too?

It is kind of ironic that as an editor I get so many submissions that take place years in the future where physical books are museum pieces worth more than a car's weight in gold. I used to think those submissions were dire futures where something terrible had gone wrong. But now, I see that they may just be a sign of changing times where technology renders much obsolete. Who would have thought that landline telephones would disappear? But they are.

I am glad I live in this time though. It is an exciting time where every day brings something absolutely fascinating. It is a time when I can walk into the airport or into the mall and pick up a book. And it is a time when I can pick up a piece of plastic and get almost any book in seconds. I have both realities at my fingertips and that choice is great.

With all this said, here is my reading list for 2010 (partial of course - I plan on reading much more than 10). These are the books I am choosing to invest my time in.

1) The Bible: Nothing comes close to this classic. It has truth for every conceivable area of life.
2) The Law of Nines-Terry Goodkind. A departure from The Sword of Truth, but still great writing.
3) The Gathering Storm - Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. It will be bittersweet reading this.
4) Night Angel - Brent Weeks. The first couple pages are so promising that I hope the rest of the series is as good.
5) The Principle of the Path - Andy Stanley. Excited to read this, because I fall into this trap so often with my best ideas.
6) Napolean's Pyramids - William Dietrich. From the bargain bin, but looks like an Indiana Jones or Davinci Code type.
7) Saving Fish From Drowning - Amy Tan. She is just great. Great character development.
8) The Lies of Locke Lamora - Scott Lynch. Another book with a great beginning.
9) Easy Recipes for Wild Game and Fish - Ferne Holmes. If you know me, you know this is like gold.
10) Tuck - Stephen R. Lawhead. My favorite author and his latest. Have to read it.

© Seth Crossman