R is for Reading
Every writer knows the mantra – every good writer reads. A lot. Reading the genre you are interested in writing within is one worthwhile task (pleasure), but once you begin to seriously read as part of your working life, finding the time and initiative to continue on reading and finish everything is a different issue all up.
I visited the library yesterday for the second time. We have a few local to us, which is nice to see and support. We signed up the daughter not long ago, because she’s always been an avid reader, and in the hope of finding some of the books on her school reading challenge list for this year.
Books are incredibly expensive over here in Australia compared to the U.K. which also has the good fortune to have a national Amazon and therefore free shipping on large purchases. Here, every book purchase is a decision against something else.
So far my daughter has read and reviewed three out of her thirteen challenge books, and read many other books. But the last week of her Easter school holidays has been very wet, which contrarily means that she’s now coming up to a point of resistance to any more reading. There is such a thing as being over-read, it seems.
I signed myself up at the library also, and arrived home with four books from the crime section of the small library. I’m currently just entering the world of an ex-forensics officer who worked for many years for the New South Wales police. It’s gripping if horrific reading, and a real insight into the real world of the horrific crimes that our fellow human beings are capable of, and the stress and sheer humanity such crimes can cause in all the police and emergency workers who face those scenes every working day.
As a contrast, I also have a book written on the American BTK killer, and another on another killer who operated here in Australia. These are all true crime books, rather than my own fictional genre of crime thrillers.
On the kindle app on my iPad I have around seventy books all at various stages (kindle gives you a percentage) of being read.
Free ebook giveaways by thriller writers have loaded me up on genre reading. There are various ‘how to write’ books also open part-way.
Additionally, I have a good swag of non-fiction to read on there also – psychological forensics textbooks of hundreds of pages of dry reading, books on crimes, books on psychology, books on how to write with correct forensics or psychology, and at the moment – books on how to create claymation – stop animation movies (my daughter’s latest passion thanks to a holiday workshop she recently attended). There are also several YA and fantasy books I would really like to read, to keep up with what my daughter is reading, and for the escape from a more sober genre found in crime thrillers.
There used to be a time when reading meant sitting down on a chair with one book, and reading it until it was finished. A sign of a good book was if that sitting was all in one session – the non-putdownable.
Now everything has changed. Ebooks have changed the way I view reading – the percentages tell me how much of each book I have read, and if they sit like that for too long, then obviously my interest in picking that book up to continue has waned. Books on kindle can be archived off the device and onto the cloud with a touch, never to make me feel guilty again. So many are free, that at the least struggle to continue, I simply move on to the next one. That feeling rubs off on the more expensive tombs and manuals that I forked out a lot of money for. If I can’t get through them, I get rid of them, hey presto. I can always retrieve them later, I think. But do I?
In real life I have four large wooden bookshelves of books. Books and shelving have travelled 12,000 miles across the world from one home to the next, then back again. I’ve cleaned out as many hundreds of books as bought new to fill those shelves again, several times over. Books are the heaviest things when moving. We were never popular with moving companies. Those shelves are just always full – of classics, favourites and memories. We can’t fit more than another ten on there, which is sad for our daughter who is now collecting her own library.
For my daughter’s reading challenge, we went with a large list to three different large bookshops in an effort to purchase them, only to find that even many classics like ‘The Wind in the Willows’ or ‘Anne of Green Gables’ or some of the local awarded books weren’t stocked in the bookshops. We attended book fairs to find some bargains too. The library didn’t have many of them either. This became particularly difficult with series – where bookshops don’t hold shelf-space for No.1 and 2. in a series of twelve anymore. Which means the library didn’t have them either.
So, despite our best efforts, several of her reading challenge books are now in ebook form – she has to borrow a tablet to read them. At least some of the missing books were available on Amazon’s kindle store, to save the day. The library of ebooks we own appears a never-ending story.
Ebooks have become as much a solution to our reading in the family, equal only to the bane of having a much bigger library of ‘currently-reading’ books. Two years ago, maybe even one year ago, it was all very different.
How has reading changed for you over the last few months?