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Book/Kindle Update

January 1, 2010 2 comments

I still haven’t entirely sorted out when I prefer to read a book on my Kindle and when I prefer to read a physical book. But I have just had what may be the perfect Kindle experience. Two days ago, the current New York Review of Books arrived in the mail. As always, on inspecting the table of contents, I was eager to read many of the articles. I began with Jonathan Raban’s review of Sarah Palin, then continued with the next article, James Salter’s review of William Langewiesche’s recent book on the crash landing last January of the US Airways flight in the Hudson River.

I had read about the book — Fly by Wire: The Geese, the Glide, the Miracle on the Hudsonin the NYT and elsewhere, but I hadn’t anticipated wanting to read it. Salter’s review got my attention. I’m interested in airplanes and flying. Who isn’t? And I realized the book is much more than an account of the flight itself. The larger theme is Airbus’s decision over 25 years ago to design the A320 as a fly-by-wire airplane, one controlled by computers and electronics rather than cables and hydraulics, and one whose programming would limit errors on a pilot’s part, with no option for the pilot to over-ride the computer settings. The story of US Airways Flight 1549 is interwoven with both the history of the A320 and gripping accounts of famous airplane crashes or near-crashes. These accounts highlight the role of pilot error and the benefits of limiting the pilot’s range of options.

Anyway, after reading Salter’s review two evenings ago, I thought this is a book I would enjoy. And it’s short — just 200 pages. Minutes later, we headed off to a party. We were back a little before 11:00 PM, and while I was catching up on some news on my computer, I realized I could be reading the book. All I had to do was download it for my Kindle. I went to Amazon.com, found the book, clicked that I wanted the Kindle version downloaded, and when I headed upstairs, the book was waiting for me.
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Categories: Books, Technology