Lately, I have been on a binge of sorts. I have the Kindle app on my iPad and I have been scouring Amazon for free and near-free (99 cents) publications. For anyone who hasn’t used Kindle, you should know that there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of classic books that are free or near-free for download on your favorite mobile device. Just about anything you can think of (philosophy, scientific works, fiction, poetry, history, etc.) that was published over a hundred years or so ago is available.
I have been collecting classic works in the hopes of expanding my range of influences and perspectives, and I feel the strategy has been working. Occasionally, I run across a phrase or passage that I would like to incorporate into my work or keep handy for a future citation. But here’s the kicker: Kindle won’t let you copy text directly so you can paste it somewhere else. It will let you highlight your favorite passages; it will even let you look up specific words and phrases in Wikipedia and Google. But it won’t let you copy the text so you can paste it somewhere else.
Luckily, we live in an era of sharing and social media. Kindle might not let me copy my favorite passages so I can paste them somewhere else – but it will let me share those passages via Twitter. I can then go to my Twitter account, click the Amazon link in my tweet, and – presto! – a citation I can copy and paste to Evernote, Notability, Adobe Reader, wherever I want. All mobile.
Of course, I could use the My Highlights feature in my Amazon account to do the same thing but I like the idea of sharing the fruits of what I’m reading, while also saving that text for later use. Using Twitter this way also lets me chart my readings differently than using bookmarks. The dates on my tweets leave chronological record of thought and progress that let me remember when I was reading what… and possibly what it means for what I’m reading now.