How best to read?

I just spotted the Musing Mondays prompt over at Should be Reading which offers a list of possible reading-related musings for a Monday post.  It includes an option to blog about one of your reading habits.  So here’s one of mine . . .

When I blogged about there being no great divide for me between choosing to read fiction or non-fiction I did notice that there is, nevertheless, an important reading divide for me.  It’s a divide about how I read my books these days.  Like any good book-lover, I have a house full of books made of paper, and the shelving challenges to match.  But I’ve also been a Kindle owner for the last year or so and that has quite a lot of books downloaded onto it too.

This year I’ve read books in both formats but – and it’s a big but – unlike many other people I just don’t get along with my Kindle. Sure, it’s really handy for taking a heap of books away on holiday, and there’s nothing I enjoy more than devouring a heap of books while I’m away.  This last summer, having an E-reader for the first time, I took a whole bunch of books along with me without running up a huge bill in excess luggage costs.  But, if truth be told, I just don’t enjoy the e-reading experience. It’s made me realise how much I appreciate covers and contents pages, and the simple act of browsing through a book, flicking the actual pages. It’s just not the same on a small electronic device.

Photo credit: Unsplash

Photo credit: Unsplash

More importantly, in terms of reading experience, is the fact that I just don’t read as well when the book is on my Kindle.  I find myself reading so much more slowly and I tend to lose track of the story. I really can’t explain why.  It’s just what happens with me.  And yet I’ve loved all of the books I’ve read electronically, so it can’t be explained away by poor book choice.  In fact, the long TBR list of downloaded but yet-to-be read e-books contains numerous titles I can’t wait to read.  But a little voice inside my head just wishes I had them as hard copies, in glorious paper with proper pages.  And then I know I would get around to reading them so much sooner!

I’m tempted to think it’s an age thing.  Perhaps I’m struggling to change my reading format after half a century of paper books during which I even worked for several years as an editor in a book publishing company. But I know it’s not as simple as that.  I know that because I have plenty of older friends who love their e-readers and devour books on them, while my teenage daughter, without knowing my views, says all the same things that I do.  She recently struggled to finish a book (yet is normally easily a book a day reader) because it was downloaded onto my Kindle.  And yet she is in all other ways a typical digital native of her generation!

So it all got me thinking – how many other people out there in the blogosphere struggle to adapt to e-reading. Or is it just me and my daughter and it’s something in our genes?  What do you think?  How do you prefer to read your books?

5 thoughts on “How best to read?

  1. I’ve had a kindle for four years now and switched over really easily despite it being foisted upon me. That said there are times when I choose a physical book (although it is harder to read in bed this way) over an equally good one on the kindle purely because there is something different about the experience. Unlike you though I find I read faster on the kindle although it took me a little while to stop myself clicking the page over too soon. I think I encountered this problem as when I read a book I start turning the page before then end whereas if you press the button it is instantaneous. Great choice for a MM post!

    • Thanks for this comment. I find it really interesting that you read more quickly on a kindle. Perhaps I just need to persevere with a few more e-books and I might get to that point too – it just hasn’t happened yet. The problem with that is having such a long TBR list in both formats – the paper books always seem to edge out the electronic copies so I never get the practice!

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