The Art of Procrastination

You know when there’s something you really need to do but you don’t want to do it? Well, that’s happening to me today. I am trying every trick in the book to procrastinate, including writing this blog post on the art of procrastination. Here’s a list of what I’ve done so far to avoid doing what I need to do:

  1. Washed my partner’s socks and hung them out to dry
  2. Emptied three different trash bins
  3. Walked to the shop to buy a birthday present for my parents’ dog (he’s 10 on Saturday)
  4. Spent at least an hour preparing to go to gym
  5. Went to gym – something I haven’t done for a very, very long time
  6. Came home and called my mum and dad – just to say hi
  7. Watched Ellen even though it was a repeat
  8. Ate lunch really slowly
  9. Read some funny Miley Cyrus memes on Facebook (Is it just me or do you feel sorry for the girl? Haven’t we all had those awkward 20-something moments when we think we are looking/acting really cool only to see photos afterwards and realise we look like an idiot? Poor Miley just happened to have her moment in front of the world.)
  10. Tried to resist the magnetic pull of Candy Crush but the urge was too strong. Unluckily for me I suck at the game and soon lost all my lives
  11. Wrote a list of books I want to download on my kindle
  12. Came onto WordPress to look at what everyone else has been up to
  13. Wrote this post and then realised that if I actually do what I need to do then I can go and enjoy the rest of my day …

 

Very Bad Reading Habits: Kindle edition

Back in May I made a confession about my very bad reading habits. Not wanting to toot my own horn, but it remains my one of my most read blog posts. Now that I have recently become the owner of a kindle, I have entered a whole new reading experience. I thought it might be interesting* to repost my original blog post and update it for the e-reader. My kindle touch observations are below in blue (*It is entirely possible that I might be the only one interested in this.)

 

I have a confession to make … I have some very bad reading habits. In a perfect world, I would be a perfect reader – the kind of reader who buys a book, dutifully reads it from cover-to-cover and reads in total silence. I am not such a reader.

My Bad Reading Habits are as follows:

I’m a skipper: I regularly take peeks at the pages ahead of where I am at in a book. I do this for several reasons:

  • to see if a slow book is going to get any more interesting;
  • because I like to pre-empt where the plot is taking me and want to confirm my suspicions (I do this a lot when I’m reading crime or mystery books);
  • if I am really enjoying a book where the heroine has a couple of choices for love interests (because I like to know which love interest I should be supporting from the start); and
    because life is too short to waste on a book that isn’t reeling me in. If it starts getting better mid-way, I know to persevere and keep going.

Note: If I love a book, I usually refrain from doing this and will let the author take me on a journey where the destination is unknown. Even though I can barely stand the surprise!

Kindle POV: I am doing this less with my kindle – if at all. The reason being that I still don’t know how to work it properly and the couple of times I have tried to look ahead, I ended up losing my place and having to flick through the electronic pages trying to remember where I was. Skipping is so much quicker with a real book!

I’m an abandoner: I buy the book. I start it. And if it doesn’t suck me in, I abandon it. This makes me feel incredibly guilty. It’s like buying an item of clothing that you never wear. Some women have a shoe habit, I have a book habit. The abandoned book sits beside my bed, looking at me reproachfully. Then it gets exiled to my bookshelf when another book takes its place in my heart. I think to myself that ‘one day’ I will pick it up again and read it. I seldom do. It sits there and eventually ends up being donated to a charity shop in pristine condition. I like to think that someone else will give it the attention I never gave it.

Books I have abandoned and should have read include: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts and A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin.

Kindle POV: Maybe it’s the novelty of downloading an electronic book but so far I haven’t abandoned any of my e-books (though I cheated my way through Jane Eyre Laid Bare by skipping ahead –  just to get the book over and done with). I don’t think there is the same amount of guilt associated with abandoning an e-book. Perhaps because it is but a line on a menu screen, unlike the big chunky book that sits beside your bed, staring you in the face.

Also, e-books are mostly cheaper so it’s a bit easier to abandon. But if you decide not to read it, you can’t re-gift it, pass it on to a friend or give it to charity. And that is a great shame.

I’m a devourer: I read books like I eat cake – too quickly for my own good. I should take more time to savour the words instead of gobbling them up so fast I forget what I’ve just read. Just think of how long some poor author has slaved away over one sentence and I’ve probably missed its beauty because I’m whizzing by.

Kindle POV: kindle is making me more a devourer than ever. Maybe because I like smacking the screen with a finger to turn the page. A quick scan read – next page. Hmm … don’t think this is a good thing. Could it be that my ownership of an e-reader is making me an even worse reader? Perhaps a prolific reader but that’s no good if I can’t remember the plot of the book I just read.

I’m a judger: I tend to turn my nose up at snobbish books. You know the ones that are published dripping with literary praise and are accompanied by reviews that use words you’ve never heard before. If I can’t even decipher the review, I know the book will give me trouble. These books scare me. I fear that I will need a dictionary, thesaurus and a PhD to get through each sentence. They also stop me from doing my usual speed reading which then causes me to abandon them. I distrust books or authors who place themselves above the teeming reading masses.

But I feel I need to read more of these books. I need to get outside of my comfort zone and find out why the literati are raving about the kind of books you will never find for sale in Target. As long as it’s not a case of ‘The Emperor’s New Book’ where people think it’s cool to like something because no one wants to admit they have no idea what it’s about.

Kindle POV: kindle was made for the mass-market reader. Just look at how cheap all the ‘paperback’ e-books are on Amazon. Yes, I am trying to read snobbish books but I don’t want to spend over a certain amount for e-books as I think I might as well buy the physical book for that price. And is it just me or are the ‘literary’ books super expensive as e-books?

I’m a non-sharer: It’s MY book! All mine! My precious! No, you can’t lend my book because 9 times out of 10 you’re not going to return it … I don’t like to lend books unless you’re family and I can raid your shelf afterwards to get my book back. But if I am moving and need to offload 6 boxes of books then you’re welcome to take your pick!

Kindle POV: Hee..hee… well the kindle is perfect for a non-sharer like me because you can’t share. But I’ve gotten better with my sharing since writing my original post so it is a bit sad not to be able to pass a story on.

I’m a multi-tasker: I admit to reading two books at the same time. I usually do this if the current book I am reading is in danger of becoming abandoned and there’s another exciting book waiting behind it, ready to prove its worth. I also have a nasty habit of reading whilst performing other tasks. I read on public transport and listen to music at the same time – usually to block out noisy commuters. I read during TV ad breaks so I can get in some reading time. (It’s difficult to find time to read.) And I read whilst eating lunch or dinner (often to the poor book’s detriment).

Kindle POV: It’s so easy to have multiple books on the go with kindle – and to carry them all around at the same time. Geez, I really do have terrible reading habits. Not to mention sounding like a walking advertisement for Amazon.

I’m a follower: I happily admit to jumping on many book bandwagons. Sometimes books are bestsellers and hugely popular for a reason – ‘cause they’re so good! I don’t mind being sucked into a massive marketing vortex and spat out the other side. Hell, I’ve even worked on book marketing campaigns and believed my own hype. While there’s something nice about discovering a good book or author before the masses and declaring ‘I liked them before they were popular’, as long as you enjoy the book, who really cares how you came by it.

Kindle POV: An e-reader is great for jumping immediately on a reading trend. I can download a book in less than a minute. But it doesn’t always work that way. I recently saw a book in the bookstore that I really wanted to read. I went online to Amazon only to discover that the e-book version wasn’t going to be available until next year. But I wanted it now! So I bought the book. When I want to read something, I will read whatever edition I can get my hands on.

Last confession … sometimes, very, very occasionally, I dog-ear the pages. And it makes me feel very, very bad.

Kindle POV: Can’t do that on this device but I am managing to smear all sorts of things on the touch screen. Still, that is not as bad as dog-earring a book.

Conclusion: It seems that my kindle may be giving me a whole new set of bad reading habits. But it doesn’t seem to matter as much when you are using an electronic device. I feel much worse mistreating and disrespecting a physical book.

A Fun Meme to Try

Jessica over at the blog The Bookworm Chronicles recently did a fun meme called ‘A Day in Books’ where she wove titles from books she had read in 2012 into a story. Jessica’s story was about one day. I started playing around with the titles I have read this year and ended up writing a short story (my own take on this fun writing activity).

The Soldier’s Wife

The Soldier’s Wife was called Rebecca Wentworth – though lately her friends called her Bossypants behind her back. She was a little out of sorts lately as her husband was away on his third tour of Afghanistan. Some days this felt like The Betrayal of a century (or at least of their marriage vows). It was pretty tough to live without the man she loved.

Rebecca’s husband wrote letters and emails about the little bits he could tell her. He was a good writer. She told him the letters should be published and called Captain Wentworth’s Diary. He described seeing The Light Between Oceans when on a plane to some unknown destination. He spoke over hurried skype calls about helping the locals and seeing new babies born into a free country. He called them The Children of Liberty. She suspected that he was using all his powers of storytelling and Persuasion to make her see that his long absence was worthwhile.

But as much as she supported her husband, she was bored. Most of her army wife friends had kids but so far that hadn’t happened for her. She was tired of being alone and confided this to a friend not known for empathy (nicknamed Mockingjay). Her friend said, “I will tell you How To Get Your Mojo Back. Did you see The Casual Vacancy sign outside The Red Queen pub? They are looking for bar staff. Didn’t you do that in your uni days?”

She had, but somehow her fancy Arts degree had never amounted to much more than a crummy admin job or two.  Rebecca went and checked out the local newspaper and saw the ad. Reading Between the Lines it seemed like a good opportunity to get back into the world.

She drove to the pub to apply in person. On the way there she felt her ambition Catching Fire. When she got out of the car, a nearby dog was The Witness to the spark returning to her eyes.

She got the job! Months went by and Rebecca was loving The Perks of Being a Wallflower behind the bar. (Or should that be a bar flower?) She got to meet all sorts of characters. There was The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society that met to discuss books on the first Tuesday of the month. The group of dieters who came in once a month, sipped on low cal vodkas, and played The Hunger Games (a game where they competed to see who had lost the most weight in the past month.) They told her “All We Ever Wanted Was Everything that dieters wanted – to shed those excess kilos.” At their meeting the other day, the winner for the month shouted out, “It’s Gone Girl. I reached my goal weight.”

Then there was the pair she dubbed “The Old Married Couple.” They didn’t talk much and when they did it was about mundane topics of conversation. One day they spent an hour bent over a colour chart looking at Fifty Shades of Grey to paint their mail box. She almost went mad listening to them. In the end they didn’t even choose grey –  instead they chose a colour called Bitterblue.

She wrote about all these characters in long emails to her husband. It made him feel closer even though he was so far away. “This is Where We Live together,” she wrote in one email “in the words we put down in our letters and emails.  Every day I see something that makes me laugh and I think I can’t wait to tell you.”

Then one day after work, she Deadlocked the heavy pub doors, walked towards the car, and there he was – her husband – home at last.

*Just go to this blog’s search bar and type in the title you’re interested in if you want to read my review. Gone Girl and The Perks of Being a Wallflower are upcoming reviews.

Rekindling the reading and blogging spark

I have been a bit slack with my reading and blogging routine lately. I started with 2 posts a week, which went to 1 and then dwindled to a post every 2 weeks. I’ve been slow with my reading, downright disgraceful with posting and I’ve been a terrible fellow blogger. I have missed out on so many of my favourite bloggers’ posts. There just hasn’t been time.

You could say I have been distracted by the happenings in my life. Seven weeks ago I went from being so single I was considering joining a nunnery to being in a relationship. Now I can use the c word “couple” and the b word “boyfriend.” Too soon you say? Well, I have lived with him for 9 months. Without wanting to say too much more, turning a flatmate into a boyfriend has worked out very well …

Now it’s time to take my head down from the clouds and get back on track with this blog. Helping to rekindle my reading habit is my kindle.

I have just finished my first e-book Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It was a truly twisted thriller that I loved so much so that I read it in 3 days – I will review it shortly.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

 

Now I am reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. The story of a very awkward 15-year-old boy who yearns for friends. I can’t wait to see the movie version as well!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chboksy

 

And because kindles make it very easy to read naughty books without anyone knowing, I have Jane Eyre Laid Bare by Eve Sinclair waiting in the wings. Jane Eyre is one of my favourite books of all time. I wonder if I will be appalled by this saucy version?

Jane Eyre Laid Bare by Eve Sinclair

 

How has your reading/blogging habit been lately? Are you on a roll or just limping by? How do you stay on track?

 

Read anything good lately?

What to read next?

What books have you read lately? What are you going to read next? If there is one thing that connects all readers it is our never-ending quest for the next best read. Every unread book has the potential to be added to your favourite books list.

For every few duds, there is a gem waiting to be discovered. And the cool thing is that your trash may be my treasure. Nothing unites or divides like a book. Just ask a member of any book club. Or read one of the thousands of articles about Fifty Shades of Grey where some people love it and others loathe it.

Right now, for my 40th post, I want to tell you about what I’ve just read, what I’m reading now and what is next. I have to say I’m going through a really good book patch. I’m loving everything I’m reading.

Just read: Between the Lines by Jodie Picoult and Samantha van Leer and The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory.

Reading now: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

To read next: Bossypants by Tina Fey and A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.

What are you reading? What’s on your reading list? I’m always on the look-out for the next great read. Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments section.