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eBooks and Reading for Fun

June 2, 2010
Notion Ink Adam

I'm really saving myself for marriage to the Notion Ink Adam

I’ve toyed with the idea of getting something like a Kindle. (And then, when I heard about the iPad [but before I heard about the iPad’s price], I toyed with the idea of getting something like that.) Fortunately, I’m not so much of an impulsive buyer, but I’ve found my reasoning for getting one of those things curious.

If I have an ebook reader, then I’ll be motivated to read more.

This sounds like notoriously poor reasoning. “If I have a gym membership, then I will work out more.” Yet, I keep thinking in terms like this.

Many people have criticized the movements for ebooks because 1) LCD technology, so far, has been substandard for long-term reading and 2) because ebooks cannot replicate the tactility of a physical book.

I don’t get it.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m not really that much of a reader. I say that because I don’t really read for fun like a lot of people who consider themselves readers do. I mean, I am reading all the time, but not books. Stuff on the internet.

It’s been rare that I really get into a novel or something of the sort, and many novels just turn me off. (I think it’s because I tried to read Lord of the Rings when I was young. I just don’t get what people see in that. LotR turned me off of books for at least five years.) Fortunately, I have given other novels shots, so I can say that I enjoyed some books.

I like the first three books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. I can’t even get through the fourth because the characters are so foreign (although, I guess I’ll trudge through it, and when the fifth comes back, I’ll be mighty grateful.) But you know what I must say?

The only reason I read the first book in the series, A Game of Thrones, is because I had an ebook of it.

I didn’t find it to strain my eyes (my eyes are tired and bloodshot because I stay up late at night and then still wake up early in the morning, not because of a laptop screen); I didn’t miss the tactile feel of a book, none of that stuff. It was great. In fact, when I went out and bought the rest in paperback, they annoyed me. They smelled like paper. And they were bulky. Blech.

After I got “stuck” with the fourth, I guess I got turned off of reading for awhile. But now, I’ve found another series: Dan Simmons’ Hyperion.

And guess how? eBooks.

I’ve gotten through the first two books in the series, and now I’m on the third, but now, I’m recognizing the familiar feeling — I just can’t get into this one. Certainly not like the other two.

I have been thinking recently about what it takes to be a good writer. One concept that comes up constantly is: you have to write a lot. (Could you live without writing? If you could, then put down the pen, because you will never be one. If you couldn’t, then you are a writer. Etc.,) The second is: you have to read a lot, to be able to tell good writing.

So, I feel like I have to keep reading, especially the acclaimed “good” books, even if they (Lord of the Rings) kill me. Nevertheless, I do not feel all that inclined to go to a library or go to a bookstore and start buying books.

(Another thought struck me. I should probably not be neglecting short stories…especially since long, multi-novel series takes quite a bit of time for me to digest. So I’m thinking that reading some of the classic/good “short” works would help.)

This post is ultimately a stealth request for reading material — short stories, long novels, series, whatever. I actually have a nonfiction reading list too (it mostly includes a lot of philosophy, so I can talk about it with more understanding that wikipedia and various other summation sites), but at this rate (e.g., old dead European guys) it’ll probably never happen.

For your information, Lord of the Rings didn’t kill old dead European writing for me. That was Oliver Twist.

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5 Comments
  1. One of my favorites is Watership Down.

    And the problem with e-readers is that they are murder on your eyes. A book is much gentler.

  2. I tried reading Watership Down once.

    I wouldn’t say it was as bad on me as Lord of the Rings, but I didn’t get very far in. Maybe I’ll pick it up again.

  3. I also read a ridiculous amount of material without self identifying as a reader. I like non-fiction, the internet and comics, but novels just don’t seem to do it for me. In saying that I still try to read a lot of them, just so I can try to understand what the big fuss is about. Sometimes I feel like I get it, most of the time not. I think the only novel that I truly love is Fight Club, but you probably need some pretty warped taste to enjoy it. Of Mice and Men was very good (and short, even better). American God’s by Neil Gaiman is worth a read too. At the moment I’m reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy, if you like post-apocalyptic settings that involve cannibals, dads and sons battling for survival and walking heaps, then this one’s for you. On the non-fiction front there are so many, anything by Malcolm Gladwell is excellent.

    I think e-readers and e-books are awesome. They’re cheap (the books) and don’t take up much space. I think the eye strain thing is a little overrated, I surf the net all day on LCD screens and mine seem to hold up fine. I’ve got the kindle app on my iPhone, highly recommended.

  4. Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey was a pretty good read.

  5. I write all over my books. When that is easily possible and one can search one’s notes, I will buy one.

    Siddhartha – by Herman Hesse (very short)

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