How Would You Like Your Reading, Ma’am?

I’ve had to travel for work once more, and such is my fear that I will be left without reading materials that I charged up my laptop and my tablet with a couple of books each (advanced reading copies), plus took a few paperbacks as well.  I even planned ahead so as not to run out of battery.  However, this time I did not take the Kindle with me.  It’s not really my Kindle, but my husband’s (I gave it to him as a Christmas present fifteen months ago, but have far more books on it than he does – I read faster! What can I do?). 

So what are the results of this reading whilst on travel experiment?

1) It certainly stopped me buying stupid magazines and far too many newspapers at train stations and airports.  Previously, I would overdose on those for fear that I might be left with nothing to read!!! A fate worse than death, I’m sure you’ll agree.

2) I had 2 non-fiction and 1 fiction paperbacks, plus 4 books in electronic format, yet I still nearly managed to run out of reading material.  Because the non-fiction were suitable only for work purposes: they helped to put me in the mood for the course I was presenting.  I finished 3 fiction titles, and discovered that I was not quite in the mood for ‘Le Rouge et le Noir’ or ‘The Three Musketeers’ in French (which were the free titles on my Google Nexus 7).  I ended up having to play a game for the last half-hour or so of my journey.

3) If you are in a boring location with no fabulous restaurants and you feel very tired after working all day, you can get a lot of reading done.  Variety is important, though, otherwise all the books start blurring in your head.  I think three international conspiracy thrillers were probably not the wisest choice.

4) The easiest, most convenient way of reading? Still paperback for me.  Much kinder on my eyes, interfering less with my sleep and I don’t need to worry about all those cables, chargers, cases, dropping things, getting them wet…Image

16 thoughts on “How Would You Like Your Reading, Ma’am?”

  1. Marina Sofia – Thanks for sharing the results of your experiment. I find that the best way of carrying one’s reading along is (for me anyway) having a variety. Paperbacks are convenient and they don’t run out of battery power as a Kindle does. But I must say I love the flexibility and the portability of my Kindle. Fortunately, one doesn’t have to choose one or the other…

    1. Well, I was hoping that a Kindle would replace paperbacks when I am travelling at least, but it seems I just can’t quite bring myself to rely entirely on one or the other.

  2. I totally identify with your observations, Marina Sofia. One of the WORST things that I can imagine is to be stranded somewhere without reading matter. I think taking a mixture of different reading modes is wise. I do always take my e-reader. I’ve had cause more than once to give thanks for it on long train journeys that have been delayed; a big bonus then is having dozens of types of books to choose from, so you can find something to fit your mood and/or frazzled brain.

  3. I’m still a paperback person by choice too. Though I’m thinking I’ll have to go electric at some point as my home is getting taken over by books to the point that there’ll be no room for me soon!

    1. That is certainly my case, too, Holly. I try to take a big bag of books regularly to charities or libraries in the local area, but my husband is mistaken if he thinks we will ever end up fully electronic in our house!

    1. I just haven’t developed yet that ability to quickly flip forward or back to find the exact page or quote or character name that I am looking for. I seem to have an innate ability to do that with paperbacks, far better than the search facilities on e-readers. (Or at least that’s what I like to think!)

  4. The book will never die – the printed version that is. I have, many travel journey’s ago, learnt to pack a book just in case – when the kindle packs it in – and it finally packed it in just before last weeks visit to London, so a few lightweight (as in kgs) books necessary.

    Even now, home and safe, with many great books to read on my new kindle, I called into the library yesterday just in case : ) and came home with Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior, impressed to find that on the few English language shelves – because sometimes only a physical book will do.

    The new kindle I bought for myself and splashed out on the 3-year-warranty, these things are nowhere near as robust as a book or even a bookshelf!

    1. It is true that when you live abroad and don’t have easy access to English books, it can be much easier to get hold of them via e-reader. However, the constant hassle of ‘your Kindle is from France, so you cannot purchase these books from UK or Germany’ or vice versa is SO annoying. Why oh why can’t there be at least an EU-wide agreement on these things, even if the US might not be accessible?

      1. I agree, even replacing my kindle purchased in the UK was difficult, they offered a discount to replace it, only to say they couldn’t deliver it to France – effectively offering something they couldn’t deliver.

        I often shop around and end up not buying because of the gross differences in availability and cost – sometimes asking the local bookshop to order something in is the best option here, they seem to be able to work magic!

        The kindle is great for reading galleys and classics though.

  5. I don’t travel much, but I have been reading books on my kindle for some time now. What I’ve realised I really miss is having those books I’ve read on my shelves at home. It’s not that I will necessarily re-read them, but it’s just nice to be able to flick through them and dip into them from time to time. This is far harder to do on a kindle and it’s not so easy to remember what you’ve read when you don’t have the physical reminder of a book on a shelf. It may sound trivial, but these things matter! I am now reading a book in paperback and it’s a lovely experience. I think I will have to mix and match more in the future.

    1. Exactly – whenever someone mentions a book in a blog or email, I can go to my bookcase, search it out and find the page I was looking for (or remind myself of some aspect of it). Plus it’s so much more interesting to check out someone’s bookshelves and ask to borrow books when you go visiting, isn’t it? Much easier than asking: ‘Can I see what you have downloaded on your Kindle?’

  6. What an interesting experiment in reading! I’d wondered about an e-book reader too, but I’m prone to motion sickness, so when I travel I always try to have some audiobook handy, plus a paperback for the evening. I don’t think I will take the leap just yet.

  7. I use my Kindle a lot for holiday reading – saves so much space in the suitcase – but have a deep and abiding love of paperback books, well, any books, and for me, especially if I need to research, there’s nothing like paper.

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