Contributor Amida writes for Journey into Unschooling
I used to love reading. One of my fondest memories in school was hanging out at the library during my lunch or break times with Judy Bloom and Laura Ingalls Wilder. As a child, I owned very few books and the ones that I did have (Harry the Dirty Dog) were very precious to me. I even had discarded textbooks that I’d read over and over again!
So it was no surprised that I ended up as an English Lit major in college. What was surprising, however, was how that ultimately zapped all the fun out of reading! Jane Austen, Norton Anthology, Joy Luck Club… I hated it all. It was simply too much of a chore to read through and analyze selections that weren’t my choosing. In the end, I dropped the “Literature” and switched over to “Creative Writing”, which I found much more rewarding.
After I had kids, I rediscovered long ago forgotten stories and found joy in sharing them. I was reminded of how much I actually enjoyed reading. Unfortunately, with each child, I also found that I had less and less time to read my books, especially with the younger ones, who always ask for “just one more” story.
Through the years, I did manage to get in a few good reads during meals or late at night, after the kids had gone to bed, but it wasn’t until I bought an e-reader that my appetite was truly satiated. I must admit, I was skeptical at first and for weeks, only used my tablet to play games.
I’m for technology as much as the next person but by golly, I loved printed books and the feel of paper in my hands. Somehow, the image of one sitting in the dark and staring into the the eerie glow of a 7-inch device was synonymous with being a, well, loser. How could reading off a screen possibly give the same sense of satisfaction as reading from an actual book?
As it turned out, it did. I started slowly, with one book in digital form. That quickly led to another and another until I had burned through a whole series. My dear husband obliged in keeping me well supplied until I figured out how to input my own books. I started reading multiple books at a time.
Photo by kodomut
I stole many hours just reading in the dark while nursing my baby to sleep or snuggled under my covers just before bed. I discovered the convenience of slipping ten different books into my purse and pulling them out while waiting for my kids’ various classes to finish. I constantly put ebooks on hold at the library and delighted when a new title became available.
In just a few short months, I had burned through the Sookie Stackhouse novels, got inspired by Punky Brewster’s child rearing philosophy, was thoroughly entertained by Pioneer Woman’s writing style, and even reread the Joy Luck Club to see if I still hated it over a decade later (I didn’t).
The convenience of poring through multiple books at once allowed me to discover new subjects that I never would have picked up before. Who would have known science writers or medical exposés were so fascinating?
One of my favorite features of ebooks is the ability to instantly look up the definition of a word. I’ve learned thirty new words from my latest science book alone! Another convenience is being able to get new material without ever leaving home, a definite plus for busy mamas.
Before my first year’s love affair with my new e-reader was up, I had crafted not one but two nifty cases, published an ebook of my own (of my son’s stories), and undoubtedly read more than double the amount of books as the typical pre-tablet days.
Granted, I still love a good ol’ fashioned paper book. I keep a stack that I read during daylight hours at home. Come nighttime however, it’s just me and my ebooks until my eyelids droop. It’s my time to unwind and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Are you an ebook lover? How has your reading life changed with technology?