Iowa Caucuses


Kobo eReader

Image by ndh via Flickr

I have an eReader now, a gift from Edie and Mick.  It tells me it can store a thousand books all by itself. Should I care to purchase it a Micro SD card, it will happily store 30,000 tomes.  So much for my room lined floor-to-ceiling with books I’d need a wheeled ladder to peruse.

When I was first teaching reading in the middle school, it was vogue to use incentives to prod the children to “free” read.  Free reading was whatever books the children read outside of class or during the silent reading periods during home room.  The lures mainly centered on candy, but we gave them pencils, junk toys of a Happy Meal nature and even tempted them to read as a collective and then rewarded entire classes with pizza parties.  Incentives, or bribery as it is more commonly known in parenting terminology, had limited life spans.  Children quickly tire of toiling for trinkets. Even the most eager student eventually reaches saturation.

But imagine my amusement when I discovered that eReaders offer incentives to adults to read more.

At the bottom of the reader’s screen, a note periodically pops up informing me I have an award I can claim and post to FaceBook. Normally, I tap a finger, which makes it disappear and I continue reading, but last night, I decided to investigate what constitutes an award by Kobo eReader standards.

The award has popped up before and is called The PrimeTime Award. When I opened it, I found this message:

Your television must be lonely because this is the fifth time you’ve read during primetime!

I didn’t know whether to laugh or fear for humanity.

For the record, once again, we don’t have cable, satellite or … until Edie gave her father a six month subscription as a Christmas gift … Netflix. We are strictly a dvd family, and even then, Rob and I return more unwatched movies to the bookmobile than not.

The once and never again reading teacher in me finds turnabout hilarious, but the literate adult sighs.  Knowing full well, as I do, that most people would rather do anything else but read, I can’t claim surprise that even eReaders must prod and cajole.  It’s hardly a sign of the coming apocalypse.  Not like Rick Santorum surging in the Iowa Caucuses is a harbinger of evil.  It’s a smaller and more subtle sign of civilization’s continuing quest against complete idiocracy.  But heavy sigh.  Just heavy sigh.