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A Kindle in my pocket

Schools are stuffed to the brim with rules ‚ you can’t do this, you can do that bla bla bla. Some of them can be broken, some not. Knowing which ones can be broken can only be learned through trial and error. SEAN BACHER wishes he had today’s technology with him so he could at least bend the rules when he was at school.

When I was in high-school, the school had endless rules, one of which was that every scholar from standard six all the way up to Matric had to have a book on his person at all times. This rule was dubbed ‚ the ‚novel in your pocket’. At the time I was not really fazed by the idea of carrying a book around. I hardly ever read unless instructed to, and I still didn’t do so most of the time. Besides, my pockets were usually crammed with more ‚important’ items such as chocolates and other goodies which were most certainly not meant to be on the school grounds.

Because the ‚novel in your pocket’ was a school rule, you got a detention whenever one of the teachers asked to see what you were reading and you couldn’t produce any suitable reading material on the spot. I even tried the ‚it doesn’t fit excuse’ but as a result I spent many a break sitting in the quadrangle counting the leaves blowing around or generally just doing nothing at all ‚ I was really good at this.

However, after I left school, I began to see the reason for having a ‚novel in your pocket.’ In fact there were a couple of reasons. Firstly the ‚novel in you pocket’ was there to keep you out of mischief. For instance, should you be standing around waiting for a teacher or something you could quite simply whip out your novel and do something constructive with your time, instead of staring into space. The other reason, which I think made a lot more sense, was that the ‚novel in your pocket’ gave you endless opportunities to improve your English grammar and spelling. This last reason was probably why comic books and the like did not really count as suitable reading material.

I started thinking of ‚the novel in your pocket’ rule when I read that Amazon announced the Kindle application for the iPhone. I have been carrying cellphones of all shapes and sizes around with me for years now and they have never really been too obtrusive. They all slid nicely into my pocket and were forgotten about until they rang or beeped ‚ the same being true for the iPhone.

When I saw the Kindle application available for the iPhone, I immediately downloaded it and started browsing the various titles available for download. There are thousands of them ‚ according to Amazon around 380 000, with prices ranging from $2 up to around $20 ‚ depending on the book in question. The best part is that Amazon allows you to download the first few chapters of the book for your perusal before forking out the money. A great idea as you really can’t judge a book by its cover.

I downloaded a few titles from authors I had already read (after leaving school I discovered the pleasure of reading) and then paid up for the rest of the book. At the end of the day I had around five full titles sitting on my iPhone. Now, at this point I am sure you can see where I am going with this.

I would love to be at school with today’s technology ‚ in particular with my iPhone, already installed with the Kindle software and a couple of thousand titles downloaded. When my decrepit, miserable old Latin teacher, Miss Nelson, who thinks Latin is far more an important subject than Maths or Geography asks me what novel is in my pocket, I will reply with ‚well it depends Ma’am, do you want fiction or non-fiction?‚ When she replies with ‚fiction,‚ I will reply with ‚well yes Ma’am, in fact I have around 10 000 fiction books in my pocket, would you like to read any?‚ At this point I would hand her my iPhone and bask in my glorious conquest ‚ I have outwitted a teacher by handing her a very simple cellphone to use. I am sure she has an abacus stowed in her classroom and is dumbfounded by the simple calculator. Granted I think I would be sent to the headmaster’s office for a headmaster’s detention ‚ worse than just sitting it the quadrangle, a headmaster’s detention means you have to sand desks! But the look on the teacher face would have been priceless and the detention would be well worth it.

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