Getting Your English Fix: Kindles et al


The Kindle Paperwhite at


One of the things expats-to-be sometimes forget to consider is how important it can become to get a little English into your life.  Exposure to your native tongue once in a while eases the homesickness and softens the cultural transition.  Books are the preferred method, for me.

Alas, there don’t seem to be any bookstores here in the Azuero that carry books in English.  Maybe there are and I just haven’t found them yet.  That’s possible because I haven’t spent a lot of energy looking.

Why not?  Because I have a Kindle!  Oh, I love my Kindle!  My faithful companion in the evening when the electricity goes off and there is no TV. (I can read by flashlight. The new PaperWhite has a built-in light! If I had one of those, I wouldn’t even need the flashlight!)  My Kindle is my faithful companion when the internet is down, too.  Which is more often than I would like. In fact, it’s my faithful companion any time I need an English ‘fix.’

Whether I want to read a mystery, a romance, action adventure or a tome on quantum physics, it’s mine for the download and a small fee.  If I’m feeling cheap (usually the case), I go through the list of the day’s freebies.  I usually find at least one I want to read.  There are over 300 books on my Kindle now, so when the internet doesn’t work, I still have lots of delicious words ready to go.

Early on I got tired of trolling Amazon directly for freebies.  Now I subscribe to a couple of (free) services that send the day’s offerings right to my inbox.  My favorite is Freebooksy.  My next favorite is the Author Marketing Club, which is actually aimed at authors, but loves readers.

A Kindle makes a wonderful Christmas gift.  But be warned, you will need an Amazon account linked to a US address to buy books from  Or, if you are from Canada, to buy from  And so forth.  They’re quite fussy about that.