I Only Want An E-Reader When I Travel

Reading on plane

Reading on plane

I do this every time I fly on a plane. I debate on purchasing an e-reader.

Even though I’m an early adopter when it comes to technology (hello, social media!), I’m still old school when it comes books. I still prefer print copies. I love shuffling through my cityscapes of books in search of my next read. I had a revelation a few weeks ago about my aversion to e-books. I stare at a computer for many hours of my day. For work, not playing Farm Heroes Saga on Facebook (ok, maybe a little of that too). I don’t always feel like staring at another screen to read a book.

E-books have been slowly slithering their way into my life. I read e-galleys from NetGalley. Authors send me PDFs of their books. When it comes to e-books, I usually read them on my smartphone via the Kindle app. Sometimes I read on my iPad but only if I’m lounging in bed. The iPad just feels to unwieldy. Plus, who wants to wipe off sticky fingerprints every time I sit down to read on it? My kids use the iPad more than I do.

Now when I travel, the benefits of owning an e-reader are glaring. I can fit piles and piles of books in a device that will fit in my purse, all without the new book smell of course. It won’t weigh me down and I don’t have to worry about running out of something to read. I could use my phone, but reading on app drains my battery pretty quickly. The only downside of an e-reader when flying on the plane is the 15-20 minutes “no electronics” rule at the beginning and end of the flight. I still need to bring a print book for that. I can get a lot of reading done in twenty minutes!

So hear I am again, considering purchasing a Kindle Paperwhite (affiliate link). I’m going on several trips in the next four weeks, which makes a dedicated e-reader more and more attractive. Especially since Amazon has the Kindle Paperwhite on sale: $20 off with the code KINDLEPW, making it only $99. (Code might not work for everyone). If I order today, it’ll arrive in time for my trip on Thursday. Hmmm.

How do you feel about print books versus e-readers?

Photo by Fiona Harding via Creative Commons.

Reading Book Blogs Is Dangerous

Reading book blogs can be dangerous

Yes, I know that this is a book blog. No, I’m not telling you to stop reading it. Personally, I have lots of book blogs in my feed reader. I love reading them but there’s always a catch-22.

Here’s why I think reading book blogs are dangerous:

1. I find more books I want to read. Every time I read another book blogger’s review or author Q&A, I think That sounds interesting. I want to read that book! So I add it to my list. I haven’t even looked at my “to-read” list on Goodreads in ages. I’m skeered to. It’s probably miles long. But I keep adding books to it. I’m sure if I ignored my kids and husband and read every waking minute, I just might finish reading half of the books on the list. IF I don’t add any more to it.

2. I spend all morning chatting with said book bloggers on Twitter. Let me warn you, book bloggers are funny. BookBender‘s tweets crack me. I like connecting with other book bloggers on Twitter but it’s putting a serious cramp in my reading time.

3. I laugh out loud hysterically at my desk. I work from home and late at night so this is usually not an issue. Except when my husband’s home and is sitting in the next room. If my laughter is loud enough, he comes in to ask why. Then I have to show him posts like the Top It Off Tuesday meme.  (Warning: Half nekkid men ahead.) Sometimes he gets it, sometimes I have to explain things (but not the Top It Off Tuesday, thank goodness). That slows down my productivity, which cuts into my reading time.

4. I find even more book blogs to read. Rinse and repeat the above 3 right? I could be reading more books instead of more book blogs!

See a theme there?

All joking aside, I really do love reading other book blogs. I like hearing about books I probably won’t have time to read. I can see what the newest trends are in books and reading. (I still manage to read 1-2 books a week.)

The best part of all? I get to meet some pretty awesome folks who love books as much as I do.

What are some of your favorite book blogs? Cause, you know, I need even less sleep.

My Favorite Bookmark is a Receipt

Sticky bookmarks

Sticky bookmarks

My favorite bookmark really is a receipt. It’s not a particular one or the one I received for purchasing the book. It’s whatever I happen to find next to me that is flat and will fit in the book. Those are my not so classy requirements when it comes to bookmarks.

Last week, I grabbed a unused wood craft stick that was leftover from my kids’ craft project. It was flat. Ish. It did the job. Long ago, before my kids deprived me of sleep, I could remember exactly where I left off in a book. I could just flip to the appropriate page and resume my story.

I’m between books at the moment so I have no bookmark. I’m sure there will be a magazine subscription card nearby when I have to stop reading to feed the kids or something.

What kind of bookmarks do you use for your print books?

Photo by dav via Flickr

When Do You Break Up With Your Book?

Abandoned book

Abandoned book

Starting a book is akin to dating. I read book blurbs like singles ads in the newspaper. It has to strike my interest right away for me to invest money to purchase it or time to track it down at my library. As with any first date, first impressions are important. Those first pages help me decide if the book and I would make a great couple. Do I want to take it out for coffee or tea? The first few pages set the tone for the rest of the book.

Or do they?

Sometimes I can tell right away that this book is not for me. It’s not because it smells funny or has mommy issues. It’s me book, it’s not you, I swear. Ok, sometimes it is you. If the writing is horrid, well, our relationship cannot be saved.

Other times, it’s not so clear cut. My book and I come back together for a second date, maybe a third. Still I can’t figure out where our relationship is going. Am I invested in the characters? Do I want to know what happens to them? Do I want to take my book home to meet my friends?

When is the time to break up with my book? I don’t waste my time with Mr. Okay when I could search for the book that makes me ignore my kids as I curl in bed devouring it. Sleepless nights are a sign of a great book. With piles and piles of books waiting for met to crack their spines and take them speed dating, how much time should I invest in a so-so book?

I posed this question to fellow From Left to Write members. It turns out the answer isn’t so clear cut. Here’s what our members had to say:

  • Ariane from The Force Expansive reads at least 100 pages before she gives up on a book. Is that considered a second or third date?
  • Catherine of everyday epiphanies believes “Life is too short and there are too many good books to waste time on one that’s not!”
  • Emily at Naptime Is My Time gives the book three chapters to win her over since it’s easier to track by chapters rather than pages on her Kindle. (I don’t read a lot of ebooks so I find this very interesting.)
  • Ever the optimist, Julie from A Good Joe believes she’ll find a redeeming quality about the book, so she keeps reading, usually until the end.
  • Rebecca from Life of an Army Wife imposed a 100-page rule even though she sometimes feel guilty for abandoning a book.
Personally, I don’t really have a hard and fast rule when it comes to giving up on a book. My 75 page rule has recently been increased to a 100 page rule. Sometimes I’m like Julie. I keep reading the book, hoping it will get better or the end will make up for the lackluster pages. I still feel a teeny bit guilty. Though not that guilty. I created an “Abandoned” shelf on my GoodReads account. Thankfully there’s only one book on it so far this year.
How about you? When do you kick that book to the curb (literally or figuratively)?
Photo by Flipfully via Creative Commons

Nordic Thrillers

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

My husband and I had an interesting discussion over the weekend, as I was immersed in a novel he recommended to me.   We talked about Nordic authors, and specifically the Nordic crime fiction genre.  If you think you’ve never heard of any, chances are you’re wrong. Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy  is a worldwide blockbuster in print and on screen.  The novels are complex reads; they are populated by a large ensemble cast of characters.  To follow the story requires that the reader pay attention to seemingly small details and keep track of multiple plot lines.  Larsson deftly brought each character to life; each person feels real.

The Snowman by Jo Nesbo

Based on our mutual appreciation of Larsson’s novels, my husband recommended Jo Nesbo’s books to me.  I do not usually read crime thrillers.  In fact, I actively avoid them.  I gave him the benfit of the doubt, and started The Snowman late last week.  I finished the very next day – I could not put it down.  Much like Larsson, Nesbo introduces a complex and diverse cast of characters with richly detailed backstories.   The novels demands the full attention of the reader; you could not pause for a few weeks while reading this book and simply pick it back up.   As soon as I finished, I went to the library and checked out another of his books, and I plan to fill out my Nook library with the others in the very near future.  I have also checked out another thriller, Harbor by John Ajvide Lindqvist.  This author as billed as a rival to Stephen King (who I love).

What this lead to was an interesting conversation about the relatively unchallenging landscape of popular American fiction.  I am in no way saying there are not wonderful novels being put out by American authors.  I am just sharing an observation about the marked difference in the way a reader is expected to participate in the books.  My husband thinks this is due to authors’ responding to American’s short attention span.

Have you read any of these novels?  If so, did you notice a difference in their execution?  Do you like books that require you to be more involved as a reader? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Monthly Roundup: What’s in My Stack

The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon

The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon

I am making an effort to regularly take stock of what I have going on, book list-wise, so that I don’t forget about what I want to read, or what I have checked out of the library (I have rechecked books out countless times, because I plain old forgot I brought them home). I am pleased that so far in 2012 I have polished off twelve books so far – that’s an impressive dent in my goal of 75.  I am actually considering bumping my goal up to 100.

What am I reading right now?  Well, my Nook Color is on a business trip with my husband (that is why I have ordered him a Nook Tablet for our upcoming anniversary/Valentine’s Day), so I have put on hold two of my books, Don’t Know Much About Mythology and The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Vol. 1 .   I am about a third of the way through The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon, and it is fantastic.  Originally released in January 2011, I somehow let this book fall off my radar (see – this is why I make lists!).  It is a riveting read about love and loss, and I cannot wait to pick it back up again!  Also in my stack are two Jo Nesbo books, The Leopard and its predecessor The Snowman.  Both come highly praised by my husband.  Following those (and in theory after I finish the Sherlock Holmes novels – would you believe I’ve never read any of them?) I am looking forward to The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel by Anthony Horowitz.  This novel marks the first time ever that the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle has authorized a new Sherlock Homes novel, so I am really intrigued.  I am also planning to reread the first two novels in Diana Gabaldon‘s Outlander series, so that I can then read the final five in the series.   And of course, I am rereading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver for our upcoming book club.  It is one of my all time favorites.  For the Teen Lit Rocks book club, I have Born Wickedby Jessica Spotswood on deck.

Those books just represent what I physically have in my hands (or on my Nook).  Next up on my “must list” is The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht and Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo.  The second one just came out this week, and I cannot wait to get my hands on it.

So, what is in your stack right this minute?  Share with me what you have going on!