reading patterns

September 10, 2014

I’m behind on my reading this year.  I mean, I’m always behind on my reading.  But I try to read a book a week and I’m like six weeks behind. I started keeping track of what I read so I would actually know how much I was reading instead of just guessing.  I don’t read as much as I would like and this is a way to change that.  I’m a slow reader, it turns out, and I’m really jealous of all you 100+ books a year folks.

I’ve noticed some things this past year, as I’m slowly transitioning to e-books (mostly because it’s convenient and saves a hell of a lot of space).  My iPad has filled up with e-books from various sources — awards reading, sales, ARC’s, stuff I’ve been sent, etc.  A lot of it is not necessarily anything I want to read, but stuff I ought to read, or have to read, or might as well keep around in case I want to read it someday.  (Much has been said about the ease with which e-readers allow you to collect books without feeling any pressure to actually read them. Giving away books on Kindle is a popular promotional strategy for e-book authors — but there’s a lot of discussion about how many of those free books actually get read.)

When I see all those unread books that I’m not all that excited about staring at me, I go into toddler mode.  I DON’T WANNA, I think, mentally crossing my arms. Then I go to my stash of G.I. Joe comics and read that instead, or something.  If I’m trying to read a book I’m not that into, it will take me weeks to finish it.

But…  The other thing I’ve been doing is writing down the names of books I actually want to read.  You know, those books that people recommend, or the ones that have been lingering in the back of my brain for years — and then completely forget about when I walk into the bookstore or library.  Well, I’m keeping track now, so that when I want to read something but nothing sounds good, I go to the list.

I’ve also discovered the Front Range Downloadable Library. My local library card gets me on.  It doesn’t have a great selection, but it has quite a lot (including some of mine!), and you can place holds.  More than once now I’ve been sitting in bed at 11:30 pm, wanting to read something before I sleep but having no idea what because I’m between books and nothing I have is enticing, so I check my list, go to the library, and boom, I can usually find something.  These two tools — my concrete list and instant gratification — might just help me read more.

I’m a slow reader, but if it’s a book I really want to read, I’ll finish it in a few days.  The downloadable library is super convenient and super economical — if I don’t like the book I can stop without guilt, and it disappears from my e-reader after a week.  I’ve always been a fan of libraries, and the e-library is making me really happy right now.



6 Responses to “reading patterns”

  1. Jo Anne Says:

    Reading fast isn’t always good. It is much harder to retain anything when you read quickly.

  2. Peter Says:

    I used to have the same problem with my Kindle – I’d have a hundred books on it and go into a tailspin when I was trying to decide what to read next. I found the solution that worked for me was keeping a “want-to-read-this” list on Goodreads and referring to it when I finished a book (handier than a piece of paper, since I have the GR app on my phone, which usually lives in the next pocket over from my Kindle).

  3. Kyle Says:

    My library e-catalog lets me keep a reading list and I use an Amazon wish list for the books the library doesn’t have. Although some of the ‘should’ reads never get read and the ‘must’ reads get reserved immediately.

    On reading benders as a kid, and even now sometimes, I dreamt of a mechanical book holder that turned pages and positioned itself exactly where I wanted it to be. My arms, bad, neck would get tired and sore but some books I just couldn’t put down.

    Seems like e-readers *should* lend themselves to being part of an ‘advanced reading system’ like that I dreamed of, but I still can’t read them. I think I still want double the screen size, and two adjoining separate screens so I can have facing pages, and at physical angles to each other. Which must be a security blank of some kind to me…

  4. jennavier Says:

    I’ve been learning to give up on books that slow me down. I’ve always been big into finishing every book but I would waste weeks on a book that I couldn’t get into. It’s hard but I’ve noticed I’m reading more and I’m more adventurous in my selection now.

  5. Todd Says:

    I started keeping track of all the books I read back in 2011 in “Notes” on Facebook, writing down the title, author, and date that I finished them. The best year was 2011, when I plowed through 57 books, including two of yours. The worst was last year, when my extremely clingy (and now ex) girlfriend barely allowed me time to read 21. So far this year I’m at 26 and counting. Pretty shiny to be able to go back and see what I read, and by whom, and how long it took to get through each book. And yes, a decent portion were on my Kindle, but most were paper. Having a Kindle doesn’t mean I read more, but at least if I flick spaghetti sauce on it I don’t freak out. 🙂

  6. Carbonman Says:

    I find the books I read are governed by my stress level. If I’m really stressed there’s no way I can read a depressing or sad book for more than an hour a week. I then revert to the books I get a boost from (the ‘Castle’ books, the ‘Kitty’ books, Steven Gould’s writing etc.).
    I have a stack of books on my nightstand that are partially read and waiting for my mood to improve – ‘Dirty Wars’, ‘Slow Apocalypse’, ‘Gone Girl’ to name a few. I’ll get to them, but bet ‘Low Midnight’ will get read before the stack is done.
    I keep a list of authors that sound interesting and particular books to buy in Note Monger in my phone. It’s a great way of keeping track of books not yet released.

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