The new Nook from Barnes & Noble has this funny little trick: I keep on reading on it. In fact, despite my best efforts otherwise, I’m often reading the very book I planned on reading, or the book that I was reading moments before I tried to escape into some OS Wonderland that simply doesn’t exist here. Sometimes I wonder what else is going on in the world — but I’d have to set down the Nook and pick up another device to find out, so I just read the book instead. It’s kind of like… reading a book.

For Barnes & Noble, the new Nook is a perfect compromise between the unintuitive dual-screen original Nook and the super ambitious Nook Color — which is really more like a tablet computer than a reader. E Ink keeps the device cheap, both on price and on battery life ($139 / two months), and everybody loves a touchscreen. The question is: in a bid for simplicity, has Barnes & Noble kept the best parts around, or thrown out the baby with the complicated bath water? Let’s dive in and find out.