50 Books This Year: An Ode to My Kindle

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.

By [E] Liza

PhD student. Knitter. Brooklynite. Long-distance dog mom. Reluctant cat lady. Majestic unicorn whose hair changes color with the wind.

16 replies on “50 Books This Year: An Ode to My Kindle”

I got a kindle a year ago and though I was using it all the time at first, I’ve found myself using it less and less. It was great for big thick books like GRRM’s ASOIAF. But more and more, it doesn’t seem to mesh with my reading style. I flip back and forth a lot to revisit passages when I think I missed something. And when I’m reading a collection of short stories, I rarely read it in order. The kindle’s navigation doesn’t support this quite as well as I would like. Also, since moving in with my boyfriend, I’m constantly swapping books with both him and his mom. Since neither of them have a kindle, I can’t share books I’ve bought for it with them. Plus I have a prideful desire to fill up bookshelves with things I’ve read so I can show them off.

The kindle is great for some things. I read lots of classics on it since those are cheap. I bought extra copies of some of my favorite books so I can carry them around with me. If Harry Potter ever comes out on it, I’ll snatch those up because my hard covers are starting to get rather worn. But the kindle doesn’t quite have the features I need to make the switch to e-readers completely.

I got my Kindle about five months ago and at first I only wanted to read on my Kindle and my paper books were relegated to sad stepchildren status. But lately I’ve been reluctant to pick up the Kindle, for the same reasons you mentioned. I also find I buy some books twice – a Kindle copy and a paper book to lend to those who don’t have Kindles (everyone I know).

The Kindle also doesn’t handle footnotes well and that is particularly annoying when reading the Discworld books (Sir PTerry loves his footnotes). I prefer page numbers so the percentages annoy me somewhat.

I still like my Kindle, don’t misunderstand me, but the initial rush of passionate love is over.


I was the exact same way about e-readers! I held out for the longest time. I got a Kindle for Christmas and I love it. And I have read a ton, and am reading things I probably wouldn’t have read without a Kindle, since I see them in the Kindle Store free/cheap and say oh, why not.

It’s just so easy. And much better for reading in bed than actual books (hardcovers anyway). I am so looking forward to having it on trips–I read fast so I end up carting at least 2 long books everywhere I go. No more.

Oh, this just makes me want a Kindle more and more! I nearly bought one with my Christmas money but then had to do car maintenance stuff instead, so now I’m once again reluctant to drop the dollaz on it. But I live in a tiny studio apartment and plan to move once my lease is up, and while the local library has a great selection, I have a bad habit of accruing overdue fines without actually finishing the books. And I’m out of school, which means I don’t have to feel guilty about reading for pleasure anymore!

Someone push me in the Kindle-buying direction!

You can get lots of books for free at They have almost anything out of copyright formatted for the kindle (or nook or whatever you have). By the time you pay $80 for the kindle, then download Sherlock Holmes and Jane Austen’s books it will have paid for itself (or any other classics you might be interested in)

I do a 95 books challenge with some friends – 95 because George W Bush claimed he read that many books in a year. I did it two years ago, forgot to keep track last year because of too many other commitments, but I’m trying again this year. I also write short reviews of all the books I read – partially because my memory isn’t great, partially because as a writer I find it a useful way to consistently produce short complete pieces.

I love my e-reader because of the ability to instantly download books when someone recommends them. Also, I enjoy downloading novels that I think I’ll only read once from my local library so that they aren’t taking up space in my very small, already filled with books apartment.

Loooooove my Kindle! It’s so easy to read! Being in Australia where paperbacks cost about $30 new and $17 used, I really appreciate $5-10 books from amazon. Also, I really love not getting hand cramps from holding books up. And ditto on textbooks (the same goes for Lonely Planets). The search, note, and highlight features are great but not when you have to use them all the time.

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