A New Wrinkle on a Lifelong Love Affair

School-study-person-10504-lI've been a reader all my life.  I'm sure you have, too, since if you're reading this blog, it's because you're interested in writing.  And if you're interested in writing, odds are good that you came to your love of writing through reading.

Maybe you, like me, usually have something like five books that you're reading at one time.  (I always have at least one novel going, maybe two.  And probably for sure something on spirituality.  Maybe another on self-help, and often a business or other non-fiction book as well.)

Perhaps you, like me, enjoy nothing better than an afternoon spent reading a juicy novel by the fire, or a late night when you're kept awake turning the pages of a mystery.

I wonder, too, if, over the last few years, you've not had as much time to read.  It's been the case for me.  Life got busy with children, then grandchildren, career, friends, housework, you name it.  And my lifelong love affair with reading was threatened.  It wasn't that I wasn't reading, because I always, always, always have a book going.  It was just that I wasn't reading as much.

But all that has changed.

Because I bought a Kindle. And it has revolutionized my reading world.  Already, since just last week, I've finished one full novel and am halfway through a second.  Plus, I've read sample chapters of two others and begun another one.

I've done more reading in the past few days than I've accomplished in the last month.

There's something amazingly simple about picking the little tablet up, turning it on, and reading a few pages when I have a spare five minutes.  The device makes me read faster.  I'm a visual scanner, meaning I take in a whole paragraph or sentence at a glance (which is why I'm worthless if someone spells a word or reads me a string of numbers–I need to see the whole), and something about the size of the Kindle's screen enables me to inhale words in huge gulps.

I love it.

And it is good for my writing, as well.  Reading is part of the job description for any writer, and it is an excellent way to teach yourself to write.  You could do worse than to begin your education by sitting down and reading 100 works in the genre you wish to write in.  When I read, it's almost as if the words I inhale rearrange themselves inside me and spit themselves back out on the page.  I think I've written more on my novel in the few days I've had the Kindle than I have this entire year.

Words in, words out.  It's magic. 

It puzzles me why the publishing world is so threatened by the digital revolution.  Anything that makes people read more should be considered a good thing, right? One would think so.  Another benefit to the Kindle or its pals is the ease with which you can order books.  One click and there you are, ready to read.   This is a fantastic, thing, people.

I bought the absolute cheapest Kindle available, the one with special offers and ads on it, because I wasn't sure I was going to like it.  Turns out I even love the ads, which have introduced me to a new author already.  For the record, the special deals generally feature classic authors like Paul Bowles or C.S. Lewis, so its not a bunch of crap by any stretch of the imagination.

One caveat: think hard about what you want your tablet to do.  After much thought, I realized that what I really wanted was to read on the device, period.  Which is why, despite the siren song of the Ipad, I didn't bite.  And now I'm glad, because if I had a full-fledged Ipad, I'd be checking my email or reading HuffPost.  I know myself.  I am weak.  I succumb to such temptations easily.

So that's my story about my new love affair.

How do you read–on an Ereader or with a traditional book?

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14 Responses to A New Wrinkle on a Lifelong Love Affair

  1. Melissa Marsh 03/12/2013 at 08:04 #

    I haven’t succumbed to an e-reader yet, but I have thought about it. I still enjoy carting a book around with me. I think what I like the most about the e-reader is that I can download a book in an instant instead of waiting for it to come in at the library or if I order it online, waiting for it to come in the mail.

  2. Charlotte Dixon 03/12/2013 at 08:13 #

    Yes, the instant download thing is great. And I like being able to have several books downloaded and ready for me to read at any time. I’m telling you, I have the zeal of the newly converted! It’s one of the best tools for writers around.

  3. Heather Jenkins 03/12/2013 at 11:58 #

    I guess I am one of the few remaining traditionalists. For me, it’s not about principle. I know there are traditionalists who insist that e-readers are the prognosticators of Armageddon. I am not one of those peeps. I see the usefulness in e-readers. I see the ease and simplicity of e-readers. I have even contemplated getting one.

    But, see, I’m a tactile and olfactory reader. I love the feel of the textured pages beneath my fingers and the blended aroma of ink, age, paper, and glue. The saying “nose in a book” literally speaks to me, since I often stick my nose in the spine and inhale deeply. Perhaps I’m hoping the wisdom and linguistic eloquence of the writers before me will seep into my pores. But there’s something comforting and peaceful about the smell of a book. I also love the visual joy of flipping through my books to see the underlined words or passages and the comments I wrote in the margins. The various colors and width of my pens coupled with my kaleidoscopic, fickle handwriting propels me into the memory of the place and time I read that passage. “I used a green pen and wrote in my fluid cursive. That was when I focusing on my spiritual and physical health.” Or, “Yikes. Narrow black pen, block letters…that was when mom was going through chemo.”

    So, yes, I’ve contemplated getting an e-reader. And until publishers quit printing books, I will relegate the idea of purchasing one to the background of my thoughts. For now, I will relish in the tactile, olfactory, and visual smorgasbord of a bound book.

    But that’s just me…and I can be a strange bird. :)

  4. Don 03/12/2013 at 12:21 #

    Wow, I’m so glad you love your Kindle.

    I have a friend who has a Nook and he said that it was one of the absolute best investments that he had ever made.

    However, as an Apple ‘junkie’, I don’t think I could ever buy anything other than an iPad. As much as I love the full-sized iPad, I’m waiting for the next iPad mini which is about the same size as a Kindle. I love the size of the thing, and like a Kindle you can slip it easily into a bag or jacket pocket making it much more like a regular book. The next iPad mini will have a ‘retina’ screen which makes its fonts as easy to read as the fonts in a regular printed book, you can’t tell it from a regular printed book.

    I’ll let you know how I make out when I finally get my grubby little hands on one, and, hopefully, that’ll be real soon.

  5. Charlotte Dixon 03/12/2013 at 13:07 #

    Heather, I love your description of flipping through your books and seeing the different hand writing. I do that with non-fiction as well. The Kindle does have a highlighting feature but I haven’t used it because so far all I’ve read on it are novels. And yes, I agree, there’s no substitute for the sensory experience of real books, but for now my Kindle is a great option for me to get a lot of reading done.

  6. Charlotte Dixon 03/12/2013 at 13:09 #

    Don, yes, please do let us know! I was really tempted by the Ipad mini, as I do like the size, but I decided that all I really wanted was to read on the device so I went with the Kindle. I think that size would be a lot better. I picked up my sister’s Ipad and it felt heavy compared to the Kindle, which is easy to hold and manipulate with one hand. I know you’ll enjoy your mini when you get it!

  7. Charlotte Dixon 03/12/2013 at 18:21 #

    Sue, I am so sorry about the comment issue! Some of them are going into spam which I am moderating and publishing any that land there. So glad you're a basic Kindle lover also! I did not know that you could see all the notes in one place. Too cool! 

  8. Sue Mitchell 03/12/2013 at 16:34 #

    Argh! I just wrote a long comment and when I clicked Preview, it disappeared!

    The gist of it was that I too love my Kindle and prefer the non-Fire versions. Also that I love marking up the text. You can go to http://www.kindle.amazon.com, sign in, and see all your notes and highlights. Then you can copy and paste them into Evernote or wherever you like (for your own use only, of course). It’s great for research.

    Okay…this time I’ll just click Post. 😀

  9. Heather Jenkins 03/13/2013 at 06:50 #

    I have heard from so many people how much faster they read on the Kindle. That’s an awesome side-effect. :) In my book (no pun intended), anything that gets people reading more is a GOOD thing. Just sayin’.

    Thanks again, Charlotte, for being an inspiration. Perhaps some day I will try out the Kindle for a weekend. See what kind of mileage I can get…

  10. Charlotte Dixon 03/13/2013 at 08:49 #

    I am shocked at how much faster I can read on the Kindle.  I've had it a week today and I'm on track to finish my second novel by the end of the day.  That's two novels in a week and the last novel I read was a library book that took me several weeks to finish.  Not sure why this  is, exactly, but I totally agree–anything that gets more people reading is a good thing!

  11. Beverly 03/13/2013 at 15:38 #

    I read both printed and e-books. I don’t really have a preference. I use the Kindle app on my iPad, and I love that I can read in bed without having a light on. I spend a lot of time cruising the stacks at my library, which yields me a lot of physical books to read. I love the portability of the e-reader though–it enables me to pack far, far lighter than I used to. I do tend to write in my own physical books, but I haven’t gotten in the habit of adding notes to the e-books yet. So I guess I’m a hybrid reader? I’m glad you’re loving your Kindle!

  12. Charlotte Dixon 03/13/2013 at 16:11 #

    I have to say that I also love the library.  I still marvel that such an institution exists, especially now that you can go online and reserve the books you want to read.  I also do what you do–just roam the stacks and find books.  And that's so much fun that I can't foresee ending that.  I'm pretty sure this first blush of love for my Kindle will fade a little bit!

  13. Leslie Dixon 03/19/2013 at 08:06 #

    I’m an accidental rebel, so when I get a library book and know I’m suppose to be done with it in a couple of weeks I lose interest in getting it read quickly. Lol
    I really love actually having a real book as well, but my e-reader has revolutionized my reading experience.

  14. Charlotte Dixon 03/19/2013 at 08:14 #

    Leslie, you accidental rebel, you.  I love that!  I'm one, too, and I sort of have the same problem.  I bring library books home and then don't get to them until a few days before they are due.  Yes, I agree, the Kindle has revolutionized my reading as well–I am inhaling books so fast I can't believe it.  Thanks for dropping by and commenting.

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