To Kindle or Not To Kindle

For years I read with a highlighter in hand. It wasn’t because I was scouring textbooks in anticipation of an upcoming exam.  Instead, I usually wanted to capture phrases and sentences from novels that were so beautifully written or inspirational that they needed to be isolated and cataloged somehow. So, I’d drag my lemon, lime, or passionfruit marker across a passage and then bend the corner of a page.  Like a biologist collecting specimens, I knew that years down the road, I could flip through the shelved novel & easily revisit that author’s captivating prose.  Some books were oozing with color.  Others received only intermittent striping–and ultimately didn’t find a home on my “keeper” bookshelf.

Then, I tried a Kindle.  

Suddenly Rural Girl on a Kindle

My highlighting hand wasn’t sure what to do with itself, but soon I discovered I was able to highlight and export all those beautifully written passages into a single csv file.  Some authors, like Lindsay Faye, Amor Towles, or William Kent Krueger resulted in rows and rows of captivating sentences in a spreadsheet.  Other authors (who shall remain nameless in this post), might only get one or two lines.

Like a treasure chest full of valuables, I’ve now compiled a binder with gorgeous descriptive language from authors whose work I admire. I now find myself reaching for my bookshelf to grab that binder when I run face-first into a writer’s block.  Talk about inspiration!  The bad news is that my trophy shelf, featuring preservation-worthy novels, has remained largely unchanged–though I’ve continued to read some definite keepers.  

Something has been lost with the Kindle, but something has definitely been gained. I’ll slowly begin to share some of my favorite quotes


Published by Hurlbert

Dann is an educator, Media & Design Guru, Author, and Public Speaker. He currently serves as Media and Design Specialist at an impressive little Midwestern College where he works directly with faculty to develop effective instructional videos. He has an MFA in Digital Cinema from California's National University, a BSED in English and Theatre Education from the University of South Dakota, and a certificate in Online Education from UW Stout. He was founder and principle owner of Little Prompter, LLC, a teleprompter design and manufacturing company until he sold the company in 2020. Prior to joining Carleton's staff, he taught communication, theatre, and video production for approximately 15 years while working as a professional actor and director--appearing in over forty national and regional commercials and directing and editing dozens of videos and musicals. Dann’s MFA thesis project involved writing and directing an original, full-length musical, filming the entire development and production process, and editing it into an educational DVD entitled How to Write and Produce Your Own High School Musical. His DVD is currently being distributed by Films Media Group.

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