My wife and our 22-year-old daughter Emma gave me a Kindle for my birthday and I’m sort of uneasy with the idea.

I never saw myself as a Kindle kind of guy. I saw myself as more of a hold an actual book in your hands kind of guy.

But I also never figured there would come a day when I didn’t subscribe to an actual newspaper delivered to my house but now I don’t.

Times change, I guess is what I’m saying.

Emma says I’ll love the Kindle. She has one and helped me set up a Kindle account so I can order books. So far, I have ordered one book. It’s one of Randy Wayne White’s Doc Ford novels.

I like Randy’s Doc Ford novels. They remind a little of the great John D. McDonald’s Travis McGee novels.

My Uncle Jim was the one who introduced me to Travis McGee. It was shortly after I had finished college. Up until that time most of my reading was required reading so I didn’t really have time to read for fun.

Travis McGee changed that for me. So much so that, for a while, my ambition in life was to live on a houseboat in southeast Florida, sip Plymouth gin martinis, and watch the sunset.

It was a job description without a job is what it was.

I first started reading-in a serious fashion-in third grade. We were living in Fredonia, Kansas, and my dad, who was in the army, had to leave in September for Okinawa. My mom, my-at the time-five brothers and sisters and I were to join him there after the first of the year.

It was a long trip. My mom first had to drive us from Fredonia to Oakland, California. Then she had to get us onto an ocean liner that would take us to Okinawa with stops in Hawaii and Japan. The drive to Oakland took about a week, if I remember, and the boat ride to Okinawa took another month.

That’s right. My mom drove six kids from Fredonia, Kansas to Oakland, California and then herded those kids onto an ocean liner for a month. By herself.

How did she keep us in line, you ask?

Well, she sort of had a look.

Anyway, because my mom figured an eight-year-old kid might need something to keep him from going crazy during a five-week trip to Okinawa, for Christmas, she gave me several Hardy Boys books.

I loved those books and, later, when we got on the boat, I was thrilled to discover there was a library on the boat stocked with several more Hardy Boys books. And suddenly, a five-week trip to Okinawa was manageable.

I guess that’s why I’ve always seen myself as an actual book in your hand sort of guy.

But I promised Emma I will start using the Kindle as soon as I finish a collection of P.G. Wodehouse short stories I’ve been reading. I figure, since my wife and Emma were thoughtful enough to buy me a Kindle, the least I can do is give it a try.

Besides, I’m sort of getting to the point again where I have too many books.

It happens.

One day the bookcases have plenty of room and the next day they’re full of books stacked on top of books. When that happens, I’m forced to go through them and choose a bunch to donate.

It’s always tough to say goodbye to books.

About a year ago, Emma and my wife hired our friend Amber to redecorate our living room. When Amber took a look at our living room and saw the bookcases overflowing with books, she got a look on her faced that told me they were going to have to go.

The books I mean.

And they did. I’m not sure, exactly, where they went. But they went. I think, mainly, what my wife did was farm the books out to various locations throughout our house. Some of them are on shelves behind me, in our office/guest room that really isn’t a guest room. And the rest? Well, as the nuns used to say “It’s a mystery.”

photos of mikes cluttered bookcase
My wife farmed some of my books out to a bookcase behind my desk in my office. The rest? Ask the nuns.

Hey, I just took a break to look up something about John D. McDonald and discovered I can order every one of his Travis McGee novels on my Kindle. All at once.

Hmm, maybe I’m a Kindle sort of guy after all.

But, wait. Kindles can’t get too full, can they?