I was an e-reader holdout for a long time. I’m pretty sure I used all those tired arguments about how they were killing “real” books and how I liked the feel of a paperback in my hands. But then Amazon released the $79 Kindle and I relented. And you know what? Now I’m reading more than ever.
I read a lot as a kid. The phrase “you can only get three books” was frequently uttered by my parents during our semi-regular Barnes and Noble outings. I had to be forbidden from reading in the car on the way home because I devoured my new books so quickly. Somewhere along the line, however, that changed.
Maybe it was a matter of free time, too many other hobbies, a shortened attention span or the Internet, but as I went through high school, college and grad school I was reading for pleasure less and less. It’s kind of sad to think about. Sure, I’d pick something up for a long airplane flight or when I heard of a book that sounded really interesting, but I wasn’t consuming them as rabidly as I had when I was a kid.
I didn’t even realize how much I missed it, either.
In November, I finally bit the bullet and got myself a Kindle. I’m still not sure why I thought that was a good idea, since I had hated reading off the screen on my mother’s Nook. But I did. I felt drawn to it, and once I had the idea that I should buy one I couldn’t get it out of my head. Seeing that they had come so far down in price, realizing my Amazon Prime account made me eligible for the Kindle lending library, and rapidly running out of space for books in my tiny bedroom finally added up and it happened.
And suddenly I’m reading like I did when I was 10 once again. I don’t know why it makes a difference. Maybe because it’s portable; the model I have weighs less than any book I have encountered since I got out of the Dr. Seuss stage. I toss it in my purse to read on the subway and it doesn’t weigh me down like a paperback would. Maybe it’s novelty. I have a new toy and I want to keep playing with it, though it’s been a couple of months and I’m not slowing down. Maybe it’s convenience; once I finish reading something, as long as I am near a wi-fi signal I can download another book. I can also load it up with several before a trip, something that served me well over New Years when I spent a grand total of 22 hours on an Amtrak train. Whatever trouble I had with the Nook screen doesn’t seem to be a problem on my Kindle*.
Whatever it is, I’ve become voracious again, so I decided to challenge myself. I noticed the 2012 Reading Challenge on Goodreads a few days ago and decided to set a goal for myself. I went with 50, which is just shy of one book per week. Now, I have a habit of taking on some seemingly awesome year-long task at New Years and abandoning it around March or April (last year it was the Project 365 photo challenge), so I hope writing about it here will keep me honest.
Post-high school and pre-Kindle, this would have been highly unlikely, but now it really feels like something I can do. I’ve already set up a special shelf on my Goodreads page with a list of what I want to read this year. Many are already either in my Kindle or on my overcrowded shelf in tangible book form. I’m hoping I can get several out of the way early as I get caught up with Rhys Bowen’s Molly Murphy mysteries, which will leave me more time for some of the longer books on my list**.
So far I’m about one-and-a-half novels into my 50 book goal. I think I’m going at a good pace to get a bunch out of the way before something inevitably happens in my life to prevent me from reading. Is anyone else challenging themselves this year? What do you think is a good number to shoot for? And are there any other e-reader holdouts that caved and became devotees?
*I don’t recommend it for textbooks, however. I’m taking a language class and got the book on my Kindle and it’s kind of annoying. For one, Kindle uses percentage instead of page numbers. For another, this particular book is not separated into chapters so I have to go page by page to skip ahead. If I take the next level of Spanish I’m buying the hard copy.
**You will see that Atlas Shrugged is on there. I do not subscribe to any of Ayn Rand’s political philosophies, but I feel as though I should have read it (I read The Fountainhead in college) in order to be educated in my disagreements. Also I bought the book several years ago and I might as well just read it already. I feel as though I need to make that clear. This has been a disclaimer.