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An act of literary penance

September 20, 2010 - Deb Gau

Isn't it funny how there are always new things to feel shame over in life? I was thinking about that this weekend, noticing how many of my pastimes I consider "guilty pleasures." For instance, I've always felt a little awkward acknowledging that I am a grown woman who plays with a Nintendo DS. (Translation for the more mature: the latest mutation of the Game Boy. It pops open like a clamshell and has two screens, one of which is touch-sensitive.) Worse yet, I actually own a Pokemon game. You could write a whole "kidult" trend story around me right there.

So maybe that's what was going through my head this weekend when I impulse-purchased a Nintendo game from the clearance bin titled "100 Great Books." Some marketing genius somewhere realized that a DS held sideways is about the same size and weight as a thick paperback book. Add in some public domain novels and plays, and you've got yourself a crude e-book reader.

Now granted, the book nerd in me did see this and go, "Sweet! A truckload of reading material for under twenty bucks!" And the selection is pretty good, covering everything from Louisa May Alcott to Oscar Wilde. But underneath the excitement, I've got a sneaking suspicion I was just looking for a way to justify the video game habit.


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