The Changing Art of Reading
Do you read? I love to read.
My libraries consist of business books, novels, biographies, old books, reference books, non-fiction.
Back on The Bookshelves!
A recent move has provided me the space to bring my umpteen boxes of books out of storage and put them back on bookshelves. It has been quite an adventure.
I have kept my business books nearby for the last two years as they provide insights, incentives and inspiration. I unpacked my novels with a smile as I recollected the adventures I went on and the people I got to know and love even as they deprived me of my sleep with stories I couldn’t desert no matter the hour. Best-seller titles have been impactful if not always enjoyable – they made me think and often kept me humble. The biographies (some auto-) fill me with admiration at lives well- and strongly-lived, role models and guides if my focus or drive should falter. Reference books and non-fiction can be heavier fare but are both thought- and conversation-provoking.
Which brings me to my old books. I came to appreciate old books growing up with my mother’s collection ever-present… even if I wasn’t allowed to touch. I have since collected many of my own, some dating back over a century, some undateable. I haven’t really been discerning with this collection, which is fine as it has allowed me to gift books if a friend showed more appreciation for a title or subject than I did. Some of these books, however, are pretty amazing and I have decided they are going to get read. Read in no particular order, for no particular reason… but read.
The Changing Art of Reading
These recent acts and decisions have had me ponder the changing art of reading.
Books – real, tangible, hold-‘em-in-your-hands books continue to be churned out at an incredible pace.
E-books seem to be offered up at an even faster pace. Apparently writing that was formerly called an article can now be presented as an e-book. The ‘rules’ here seem pretty relaxed.
Audio books have become the go-to resource for many – perhaps because it allows the listener to multi-task (whether driving, doing the laundry or jogging), perhaps because the oral tradition was where it all began.
All Sorts of Pros and Cons
With the variety of formatting available now, all sorts of pros and cons have become subjects for debate.
Hard copy books: can be expensive, can be heavy, can be inconvenient BUT they allow the reader to immerse him/herself into the pages, the characters, the stories, there is a feeling of an old friend when pages become dog-eared or high-lighted or loaned to friends.
E-books are pretty convenient even if you do have to buy a device on which to store them, you can carry dozens of books with you without increasing your load, you can highlight without staining anything else with ink and you can often pick e-books up for a fraction of the price of hard copy books BUT you have to be aware of the EMFs of your device and the blue light that can hinder sleep and affect vision.
Audio books are wonderful for anyone who has good memories of being read to when younger, or anyone who has vision problems BUT if you are multi-tasking you certainly aren’t retaining as much of the story as possible… unless you are engrossed in the storyline at the expense of your attention to your driving or work project.
Full Circle Now…
This brings me full-circle now to my book collection and the passion I have always had for reading.
Audio books have not been a part of my life as I have tried to use them on road trips only to realize I had no recollection of the last half hour of the trip – I was the driver so this was a little scary! That said, they were worth their weight in gold when my children were younger and we had long road trips to get behind us – they gave me a rest from entertaining them or settling sibling bickering, and the children loved them.
I think by now you know how I feel about my hardcopy books. They bring me joy and I can’t imagine anything will replace the lovely feeling of a book in my hands and cosying in to a big easy chair or my bed. There is an intimacy that blocks out the rest of the world and feels not unlike sharing secrets with a close friend by firelight.
That leaves e-books. I have been collecting e-books of interest for several years now. Some were offered as promotions, some were advance sales for a whopping 99¢. Almost all of them are business books. They were stored on my laptop which was not always easy to read from. With my most recent location changes and the options of re-writing my calendar (and implementing some of the habits I know to be beneficial) here are some of the “reading” habits I have decided on developing:
- On my morning and evening walks with my dog, usually 45-60 minutes each, I am plugging into an audio business book. My dog and her nose have their own agenda and she is happy to have me a little distracted. I’ve missed a few words here and there but generally this is proving a success.
- I am forcing myself away from my office at lunch so, in this lovely Summer season, I am settling myself into a comfortable spot in the yard with my newly acquired tablet. It’s easy to ready from, allows me the larger font size I prefer and I can still highlight those important parts of my business books to refer back to later. So far, so good.
- My real books are my love, of course, and I have two always on my bedside table. I will read only one at a time so that the people and their stories stay true in my brain but, if I should finish one before my lights are out, I have another to call on before sleep. This time late at night allows me to wind down away from my business, protect my eyes and my sleep, and cosies me in so sleep does come quickly when I turn out the lights.
What’s Your Attachment to Reading?
This post has become longer than I intended and I would love to hear about your attachment to reading – whether for pleasure or personal improvement – and how you assimilate it into your life.
And… what is your favourite genre?