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.

The Booker Award and Random Books on My Shelf Quiz Time

A long, long time ago (hey, isn’t that the start of a song?) Literary Tiger nominated me for The Booker Award. This is an award for blogs whose content is at least 50% about books. So an award from one book lover to another.

A big, belated thank you to Literary Tiger for passing this award on. If you haven’t already stumbled upon her blog, make sure you visit now!

The Rules are:

1.  Nominate other book loving blogs.

2.  Post the Booker Award picture.

3.  Share your top 5 books of all time.

And The Booker Award goes to ….

My problem is that I follow a lot of book bloggers who have already been nominated for this award. Obviously us book lovers all stick together. I will still name some favourite book blogs of mine. It is up to the recipients if they want to accept it or not. No returns 🙂

In no particular order:

1.  Book’d Out

2. 1001 Children’s Books

3. Lea at Sea

4. That Book You Like

5. One Book, One Movie

6. easyondeyes

7. The Bookworm Chronicles

I’ve already mentioned my favourite books in previous posts, so I will bend the rules a little and do a Random Books on My Shelf Quiz. Let’s see if all you book lovers out there can guess the names and authors of 5 books on my shelf:

Book 1: Boy meets girl on last day of college. Boy and girl decide to be friends. Years go by – day by day. Maybe they will get together eventually.

Book 2: Little sisters can be annoying. But what about a little sister who likes your boyfriend and then lies and tells everyone he committed a terrible crime? It’s enough to drive you to war.

Book 3: Four walls, a roof and a floor, a mother, and a scary man. Is there more to life?

Book 4: And you thought your childhood was bad, it’s no wonder this girl looks and acts like a rebel without a cause. That’s until she finds a cause helping a journalist uncover lies and corruption in a very cold climate.

Book 5: Diet, work, friends, relationships, mothers … it’s hard being a thirty-something single woman in a world full of smug married couples. Here’s hoping she will find her Mr Darcy.

Feel free to post your guesses in the Comment box below.

One Lovely Blog Award and The Versatile Blogger Award

I’ve been a bit slack acknowledging a few award nominations. The reason for the delay was because I had just recently been nominated for some awards and I wanted to space out my posts a little bit. The best thing about receiving nominations is being able to acknowledge blogs you enjoy.

The very lovely Lea at Sea and Literary Tiger both nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award. Thank you so much. I really enjoy reading both your blogs.

The rules:
• Link back to the blogger who nominated you.
• Paste the award image on your blog.
• Tell 7 facts about yourself.
• Nominate 15 other blogs that you would like to give the award to. (I’m going to reduce this number.)
Contact the bloggers that you have chosen and let them know about the award.

I’d like to nominate the following blogs for the One Lovely Blog Award because they truly are lovely – word-wise, visually and I just love their writing styles. If you are looking for new blogs to follow, check these blogs out:

1001 Children’s Books 
Bitsnbooks 
Emeline Morin
The Book Jotter

Seven Facts About Me
I must be boring because I’ve run out of 7 things to say about myself. So I thought I would recommend 7 books that I like.

1. Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier is a lovely read. Daphne du Maurier is one of my favourite ‘classic’ authors. Dona, a rich and bored English housewife, is staying at her husband’s estate in Cornwall and discovers that a boatload of French pirates have been using a creek on the property as their hide-out. What’s Dona to do? Fall in love with the French captain, disguise herself as a cabin boy, and go out on a raid with them. But then Dona’s absent husband comes to visit … Also check out Jamaica Inn by the same author.
2. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett is an epic fictional saga about the building of a cathedral in 12th century England. It also explores the lives of people during this time – from stone masons to wool merchants. This book encouraged me to go and see some of Europe’s most famous cathedrals.
3. The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons is one of my favourite ‘romantic’ reads. This is book one in a trilogy about Tatiana and Alexander, two young Russians who meet in Leningrad during World War Two and fall in love. Alexander is an officer in the Red Army – and it turns out he is also the boyfriend of Tatiana’s sister, Dasha. Cue star-crossed, war-crossed lovers and plenty of drama and angst.
4. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell is a classic read set in 19th century England. It explores the great divide between the agricultural south and industrial north. Margaret Hale moves with her parents from the tranquil green south to the northern town of Milton. Her father, a clergyman, has given up his parsonage and turns to teaching workers. One of his students is John Thornton, a Cotton Mill owner and a self-made man. Margaret dislikes him and his uncouth ways on sight. She likes him even less as she starts to make friends among his ‘poor’ factory workers. Amid a backdrop of strikes and owners verses workers, Margaret and John clash over social issues. Little do they know that their fates are soon to change …
5. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell is one of my favourite books. Was there ever a more selfish character than Scarlett O’Hara? But for all her faults, she is a character you can’t help but admire. And Rhett Butler is perfect as a scoundrel with a conscience. I also love all the historical detail about the American Civil War. It made it so much easier to study this period of history in high school after reading this book.
6. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis was one of my favourite series when I was a kid. I thought it was so cool that there was a fantastical world that could be reached through a wardrobe and I loved Aslan the lion. It was interesting to read this series again as an adult and interpret the books in a whole different way. This series fired my imagination then and still does now.
7. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is a story that never bores me. I will gladly watch all the different TV and film adaptations. It seems like the classic Cinderella story – a poor, plain governess catches the eye of her employer the very rich, eccentric, Mr Rochester. The two fall in love despite all social barriers. But then comes the big twist in the story. (I wish I had read this for the first time and not known about the twist.)

The Versatile Blogger Award
Thank you to Amanda at amandameetsbook for nominating me for The Versatile Blogger Award. This is my 2nd time accepting this award.

The rules are:
• Thank the person who gave you this award. (Thanks Amanda!)
• Include a link to their blog. (Done)
• Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.
• Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.
• Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself. (Please see 7 things about me in the post above.)

As I already nominated some great blogs at the start of this post, I will just nominate a handful of blogs that I have recently discovered. They are all a fantastic read.

The nominees for The Versatile Blogger Award are:

The Adventures of Me
The Bookworm Chronicles 
Dating for Dinner 

Stats Appeal: My New Obsession

Hit me baby one more time …

I haven’t just been bitten by the blogging bug – I’ve been seduced by stats. That’s right, WordPress statistics. They’ve become addictive. I publish a post and then sit back to see who it will reach, using the stats that are built into WordPress. I love watching the column of the graph climb and climb from one hit to three, maybe four if I’m lucky!

I check it before I go to bed and then rush to boot up my laptop as I’m getting ready for work, hovering over my keyboard whilst spooning cereal into my mouth. Who’s been reading my blog while I’ve been sleeping? How many hits did I get overnight? Where are they from? Did anyone like me? Did anyone feel compelled enough to leave a comment or follow me? How did people find me: through WordPress, a link on someone else’s blog, after I’ve visited their blog and left a comment, or through a search engine? It’s all completely fascinating.

Now I get why it’s called the web

When I first started blogging two months ago, I likened this experience to being a drop of water in a very large ocean called the blogosphere. Now I feel more like a busy little spider, spinning a web. My tiny web gets a little bigger with each post, reaching out over the internet. I am connecting to others, busily spinning their own webs. We link to each other’s webs and so we help each other grow.

Flogging and Lost Mojo bring people to me

I get a kick out of the random search engine terms that bring people to my blog. It’s funny that at least one person a day is typing in ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and ‘flogging’ which leads them to me. I really hope they aren’t too disappointed that my Fifty Shades of Grey post isn’t actually a ‘how-to’ guide. There are also quite a few people searching for their lost mojo which again brings them to this blog. Even a spammer told me that’s how they found me. I guess spammers can have mojo issues just like the rest of us.

Hey, do you think I just increased the likelihood of even more people who are googling ‘flogging’ and ‘mojo’ coming to my blog? I think my next book purchase will be Search Engine Optimization for Dummies

Blogging All Over the World

I love seeing which countries visitors are from: USA, Canada, Australia, India, Italy, UK, Turkey, the Philippines, France, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, Iceland, one lone hit from New Zealand etc… Words and books really can unite the world.

If you build it, followers will come …

I enjoy checking out the blogs of people who ‘like’ one of my posts. I’ve found some really cool blogs to follow this way. And it just feels nice that someone out there paused long enough to click the ‘like’ button. Hopefully, they read the post as well!

It’s also exciting to see my followers grow from 1 to over 60 in the past 2 months. Of those, only three of them actually know me in real life (hi sisters and dad). I get a real thrill when someone decides I am worthy enough to follow. I can only hope that they will come back now and then to say hello.

BTW, I always feel like a cult leader when I talk about ‘my followers’. Now if only I could get non-WordPress people to follow me as well …

But the way I measure my blogging success is not through followers, it’s through comments. Out of all the stats, comments are what give me the biggest high. I like it when someone has read the same book and feels compelled to respond to something I said. Or people just drop-in to say they liked a post or they share the same thoughts as I do on a particular subject. This two-way communication is really what it’s all about for me. I guess it also gives me a bit more confidence in my writing ability. Maybe one of these days I’ll actually call myself a ‘writer’ or a ‘blogger’ instead of a dabbler. But there’s still so much to learn …

Are you an avid stats watcher? What funny search engine terms bring people to your site? How do you measure your blogging success?