I can’t remember when I first fell in love with books but I know that it was early, and that I fell hard.
I read all through elementary school. I sat at my desk, a book tucked on my lap, and as the rest of the class learned fractions and state abbreviations, I paced my way through the Little House books and “Little Women.” I still can’t divide fractions but if I close my eyes, I can envision the cabin by the woods in one of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books.
My own houses have always been filled with books. In fact, I have very little furniture but I do have bookshelves. My idea of a perfect living room includes a sofa, a soft rug and bookshelves jammed into every available space.
So of course I resisted buying a Kindle. I wanted little to do with eBooks. I was sure that nothing could compare to the heady feeling of opening a new book (a new book!), burying my head inside and sniffing the scent of the ink. Of the words.
Then my sister bought me a Kindle for Christmas and brought it up when she visited Alaska in February. I opened it, held it in my hands. I thanked her, and then I set it down. I willfully forgot about it. I was scared, you see, scared it might rob me of my love for books
My Kindle lay on the coffee table for almost a month before I picked it back up again. I downloaded a few books and, one night as I staggered to bed so late that it was almost morning, I smuggled my Kindle under the covers, dimmed the screen and read.
I read for over an hour and really, it was like being a kid again and reading with a flashlight beneath the covers. There was that same fugitive feeling of mystery, that same awed sense of wonder as I sank down inside another world.
Since then, I have been reading like crazy, reading two to three books a week. My work schedule is still friggin’-damned-busy and since I write and edit all day at my job I’m not writing/editing my own work to the extent that I’d like. Instead of stressing out about this, I pull up my Kindle and read. I might not be able to write much during this small phase of my work life but I can keep up on my reading, can devour books, can see what works for other authors and what doesn’t, can examine writing styles and plots, character development and voice.
What I love the most about reading eBooks, though, is that it’s prompted me out of my comfort zone and over to genres I normally avoid such as sci-fi and fantasy and historical novels. When a book costs 99 cents a pop, it’s hard to resist, even if it doesn’t match my normal tastes.
Books I’ve loved and enjoyed so far:
The Gift, by Rachel Newcomb
Sleep Donation, Karen Russell
Rapunzel, Molly Greene
Confessions of a Shopaholic, Sophie Kinsella
I won’t mention the books that were just so-so or that I didn’t like. Reading preferences are so personal, much like romantic interests: One person’s dislike is someone else’s great love.
Talking about love, from a reader’s point of view a Kindle is a great and beautiful thing. Yet a writer’s perspective is a little bit different. In my next post I’ll list some of the pros and cons of eBooks from an author’s point of view.
A must read: I don’t usually plug other people’s blog posts but this guest post on Nathan Bransford’s blog from Steven Salmon on writing with cerebral palsy deserves a read.
A shameless plug: Bloggy pal Kevin Brennan’s novel Yesterday Road is the Indie Author Land’s 50 Self-Published Books Worth Reading in the literary books category. Follow this link and give him a vote, okay? Yesterday Road is a damned good, and funny, and warm and tender and wonderful read