I have already related the lamentable tale of the loss of my Kindle. I now have an update. I didn't buy that Kindle with my own money: there’s a very generous research budget associated with the chair I currently hold at Wheaton which I used for that purchase, and I recently learned that the college’s insurance covers the loss. Which allows me to get a replacement. So I did. My Kindle 2 arrived a couple of weeks ago, in a much more compact package than the original had. I opened the box, pulled the clean new thing out, and . . . dropped it on my hardwood floor. Yep. Before I had even turned it on. The original Kindle had a rubberized back that made it easy to grip. I knew that the Kindle 2 was differently constructed — though I didn't know exactly how — but I think that at that first opening I was subconsciously handling it the way I handled its predecessor. Which, it turned out, wasn’t firmly enough. I picked it up, plugged it in, turned it on . . . and yes, the screen was damaged. Just in the upper-right-hand corner. The wonky area is small enough that it doesn't prevent me from reading any text, though, as I quickly discovered, it keeps me from seeing my battery charge. I looked into my options, and decided that the second-cheapest one would be to buy a two-year extended warranty for $65, which allows for one exchange of a Kindle you;ve damaged. I can do that if I’ve had the machine for less than thirty days — so it’s actually still a possibility. But I’m not going to do it. Even though it wasn’t my money per se, I’ve now given Amazon nearly eight hundred bucks for Kindles, and that’s enough. I can use the one I have perfectly well — though, as I have noted in earlier posts, I’m not as enamored of the thing as I once was, and the DRM issues are making me increasingly itchy. Incidentally, while the Kindle 2 is an improvement in some ways — better resolution, a more logical way of putting it to sleep and waking it, etc. — I find it more awkward to handle. I really miss the rubberized back, and would even if I hadn’t dropped the damned thing.