Taking the e-reader plunge

Well, I’ve decided to buy an e-reader.  Shelf-space is what finally pushed me over the edge, to be honest.  As I begin to think about packing (the hubby and I have bought an apartment and will be moving next month!), all I can think of is how horrible it will be to deal with the mountain of books I’ve accumulated.  There’s so many of them, and they’re so heavy.  Have they been breeding and snacking when I wasn’t looking? And where will we put them all in our lovely new place?

Maybe a tiny electronic device that holds thousands of books ain’t such a bad idea after all.

So, which e-reader do you think I should get?  I don’t want to break the bank (I already spend enough money on books as it is) and want something simple and straightforward that provides the best reading experience.  I’m currently leaning towards the new Nook Simple Touch Reader.  But I humbly request your advice in the comments.  What factors are most important to consider and what have your own e-reading experiences been?


Library cards are for the birds

So, a fellow writer and blogger, Amy Sundberg, has started a new series she’s calling the Backbone Project.  The idea is to assert opinions and viewpoints without apology, to be unafraid of stating things others might disagree with, and generally to say “no” to writing bland blog posts.  Amy has also enlisted all of us to help her out.  Because I love Amy’s blog and think I could probably stand to be a bit less wishy-washy myself, I’ve decided to chime in with a back-bony post of my own.  So, after reading, feel free to share your outraged disagreement in the comments!

My opinion for the day is as follows:  I think library cards are for the birds.

I’m a prime candidate for a library card.  I read a lot (I mean REALLY a lot – usually upwards of 6-9 books a month).  I’m not rolling in cash, so forking over for every book I read is far from financially prudent.  I live in New York City, which (unlike many other places) still has a moderately functioning library system.  Also, our apartment is very small and shelf space is not to be squandered.  Everyone is always telling me “ooh, you really should get a library card.  It’s such a good thing.  You’re such a fool to pay for books” blah, blah, blah.

I ain’t gettin’ one and nothing you can say will change my mind.

Here’s why:

1. I’m the most impatient person alive. 

I often find it hard to wait for a book to arrive from Amazon (and we use Amazon Prime, so the wait is generally less than 2 days).  I want my booky-books, and I want them NOW.  The library never seems to have the books I want, or if they do there’s a wait of like 10 million years to get them.  Thanks, but no thanks.

2. The hoops the library requires me to jump through drive me nuts (I mean actually, hair-pullingly nuts). 

An example: I did, in fact, sign up for a library card when we first moved to Brooklyn.  I eagerly went home and fired up the computer to search for all the books I wanted to read.  The online system was impenetrable, a veritable maze of branches and rules and forms.  I was slavering with irritation by the time I finally finished navigating the darn thing.  I found like two of the 10 books I was searching for and gave up in frustration (see #1).  About a year later, I went into my local branch to check out some books for research and was told that because of the inactivity on my account I had re-apply for a card.  Not renew.  Reapply.  Really?  Yes, really.  I had to start all over, producing a piece of mail proving my local address and everything.  Forget you, library.

3. I love being the first person to crack open a new book. 

I love having rows and rows of all the books I read lined up on my shelf like trophies.  I love being able to pass books I enjoyed on to my friends and family.  You can’t do any of that with library books, which often (let’s be honest) smell like cat pee.

4. As a writer, I think it’s a reasonable thing to support authors. 

I know how hard it is for authors to make a living and I see no reason not to pay for the works they labor so hard to produce.  If I didn’t dislike the library for reasons 1-3, I would espouse the view that readers should pay only for the books of authors they really love, or for the books they can afford, and get the rest from the library.  But I do dislike the library for reasons 1-3.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I think libraries are wonderful things.  Just because I don’t want to use them doesn’t mean millions of other people shouldn’t.  Just because I can afford (barely and arguably) to buy books doesn’t mean other people can’t.  I am NOT OPPOSED TO LIBRARIES.  I just don’t want to jump through so many stupid hoops, navigate confusing and poorly laid out online systems, and then wait and wait and wait just to read a book.  Hence, my opposition to the acquisition of a library card.

So, library-lovers, let me have it!

Wish you had more time to read?

Two words: recumbent bike.  No, stay with me here, because this is pretty much the most beautiful thing ever.  The recumbent bike (that one at the gym where you sit with your legs out in front of you) is one of the few cardio machines that make it easy to hold a book.  Because you aren’t bouncing up and down (stairmaster, treadmill, or elliptical) or weaving side to side (a regular exercise bike), you can easily focus on the page.

So, the recumbent bike is a good place to read at the gym.  But wait, there’s more!  If you’re like me, when reading at home there’s all sorts of pesky distractions.  There are family members looking at you puppy-dog-eyed, wondering why you aren’t paying attention to them.  There are chores, tsking from the kitchen and laundry room, making you feel bad for not being productive.  And there’s the evil television, luring you away to zombie-land.

But the gym has none of these distractions.  You can sit on the bike and pedal away and feel NO GUILT about reading.  In fact, you can feel virtuous (and who doesn’t like that?).  After all, you aren’t just reading, you’re getting fit – and the books help take your mind off all the unpleasant sweating and so forth.

Now, it’s true, the recumbent bike does not provide the most rigorous workout ever, but it’s low impact and a great supplement to other exercise (I ride it 3x a week and run 2x a week)…or, even if it is the only exercise you do, it’s a heck of a lot better than doing none.

I’ve read ten books in the last two months, all on the recumbent bike.  I’ve also lost a few pounds and feel more energetic (which means I’ve got more get-up-and-go juice to write, do chores, work, and pay attention to my family).

I told you it was beautiful.