When I found that my bookshelves were groaning I asked my children for an e-reader for my birthday. 'You won't be able to work it,' was their response - such is the faith they place in their mother with regard to new technology. And okay, I admit that the DVD player has me foxed on a number of occasions and I have often expressed the view that whole point of having children was that they were born with an innate ability to programme all manner of equipment without resorting to the manual, but I had recently built this website, I am computer savvy and I was the first person I know to order groceries online, so I figured that a Kindle was something I could just about manage without their patronising guidance. And I was right. It was love at first Kindle. I'd heard all the arguments about the joy of holding a book in your hands, reading in the bath; the portability of the book; the smell and feel of books; nevertheless, I was an immediate convert. It's not that I won't ever buy books again, I will. But they will be books that I actually want to own, books that I will return to time and again, books that I have fallen in love with. Much of my reading is transitory, books for research; novels that I would vaguely like to read; novels recommended by friends; self-help books, a recent Kindle purchase is on decision making, I am currently procrastinating about where I want to live, coast; country or city. What I didn't expect was that the Kindle would change the nature of reading. If, like me, you are a busy freelance and unpaid personal assistant to two unfledged children, reading tends to be slotted into the chaotic routines that are the warp and weft of family life. Often this means reading in bed, last thing at night. This is a bad time to read. I tell my students that this is a bad time to read, but still I do it - we all do. 'Give your reading its proper place in your life,' I have stated more than once. To that end, last year I gave myself a reading week; it had an interesting impact on my children. I announced I was having a reading week. Then I did just that, I sat and read. Visibly, downstairs in the living room, not the study, not the bedroom, but there right in front of them. 'What are you doing?' they asked, having forgotten my plan. 'Reading.' I said. As the week wore on they began to emulate me; they began reading. The TV remote stayed where it was on the coffee table and all that could be heard was the gentle turning of the page. It wasn't quite the reading room in the British Library, but we were all reading. I realised then that after we stop reading to our children we should begin reading in their line of sight. We wonder why they gravitate to the Internet or the X-box, but they rarely see adults reading anything other than a newspaper. Reading should be visible. I wondered what impression the e-reader would have on them? Would the lure of technology make them read more? Would the immediacy of the download alter their reading choices? And what about my reading habits and choices? Kindles don't have page numbers, they have a slide bar at the bottom of the page this shows you what percentage of the book you have read and it has had an interesting impact on the length of time that I read for. I don't know what it is about page numbers, but on the Kindle I read for longer. Free from the constraints of the page number I read on and on. I read until I genuinely want to break off from reading; this might be a natural pause in the narrative, a chapter end or Part 1 completed, but more often it is because I have read my fill, I may want time to digest what I have read. In the past I think I have rationed my reading - forty pages or so many chapters - I reasoned I had better stop now and do something, bound by this strange notion that reading is an indulgence that must by necessity fit into a small gap between real jobs, important work. Another alteration is the type of book that I now read. In the past I read a classic or two in winter. I found classic novels suited the dark winter months, the weather in such novels being conducive to sitting around the fire; there is some awful weather in the classics. Now, discovering that I can download a collection of Thomas Hardy, Anna Karenina and the like at no cost, I have a huge stable of classic reading and I am not waiting for the nights to draw in to enjoy them. My son has downloaded great tomes on Roman history. He is currently devouring 'The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire' Gibbon and has 'Ancient Rome...' by Simon Baker, 'Troy' by David Gemmell as samples to tempt him further. Had I taken him into a book shop I doubt these would have made their way to the till. These days I have to wander round the house and track my Kindle down, it isn't mine anymore it's ours. The verdict in this household is that the e-reader is a force for good, quite simply, we read more and we read a wider variety of fact and fiction and this, dear reader, can only be a good thing. In whatever form, long live the book!