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.