I hated Amazon’s first Kindle as much as my dad, an avid reader, writer and collector of books, loved it. For him, it was delivery on a very old promise. For me, its monochrome screen, beige plastic body and single-mindedness represented a technological regression.

I grew up in houses with book-lined walls and stacks of newspapers in every room. There’s a romance and nostalgia to the printed page, but my distaste for the Kindle was as much about my love of gadgets.

“It’s not backlit!” I whined. I’m old enough to remember when laptops weren’t, either, and I didn’t want to go back. The buttons were asymmetrical and clearly favored right-handed people. That’s usually a deal-breaker for me and this was no exception. Waiting for the page to flip took an eternity and felt like an insult to the very idea of a page-turner. Worst of all, the Kindle only did one thing. What a drag.

Another couple of Kindles came and went without much notice, and then something amazing happened: They cut the price. Then they made the Kindle even better and cut the price again. Smaller, cheaper, faster, lighter, constrastier … $139. Sold.

The buttons are mirrored on either side and they feel great to use — almost like you’re bending back the page. It’s still not backlit, but it’s a dream to read on, especially in daylight. The text pops off the page and refresh has gotten so fast only a meth head would complain.

I get it now. The Kindle does only one thing, but it does it really, really well.

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