Sunday, August 25, 2013

Silver Linings: For the love of reading, and my Kindle

As a child, reading was one of my favorite pass-times. I bonded with one of my best friends as we discovered we both liked the same author. During the summer holidays, I could easily sit in the garden all day long,reading a book.

And then I went to university, and something I called "letter-fatigue" struck me. After finishing reading in a course book, my eyes were tired of seeing letters and I couldn't bring myself back to reading. I'd only read during a week in summer, and that'd be all for a year.

I gradually started to pick up the pace again during my time at Georgia Tech, and afterwards, as I was flying back and forth between Europe and the US more frequently. I started to trade in the in-flight movies for books. I discovered some contemporary satire that I deeply enjoyed. I started to track my reading in Goodreads, and browsing for suggestions.

And then, about 4 months ago, I got my Kindle. At first, I was planning to only use the device during trips abroad in airports and during flights. I'd still carry paper books for the part of the flight during which electronic devices can't be used.

However, I started reading tons on my Kindle: fiction, papers, my own writing as a second screen now that I am only using my laptop, e-books and more. My Kindle is hands-down one of the best purchases I've made in a long time. Not just for my personal enjoyment, but I comes in useful for my research too.

I love books. I love the smell of books, having paper in my hand - and I was terribly skeptical of using an e-reader. My fear and scepsis turned out to prove me wrong.

For us researchers, reading is almost as important as writing - and you can't have one without the other. I've stated it before: reading sparks creativity. Or as my favorite tweet of a few weeks ago mentioned:
 One of the best features of a dedicated e-reader as a Kindle, is that it basically is just meant for reading. Unlike a tablet pc where you might want to hop from app to app, the Kindle keeps your attention to your reading. Some critics might fear that we'd hop from book to book and lose the ability to get lost in a fantasy world while reading, but my experience is that I get as much engrossed in a paper book as in a digital book - the story is what matters.

Also, since the Kindle is small, it fits my smallest purse, and I've been dragging it along to many different locations. You can spot me in waiting in line, engrossed in the Kindle.

The color of the screen doesn't seem to tire my eyes, I enjoy the option of highlighting text as I read and I appreciate the fact that I can increase the font - I am by far a very happy Kindle user.

Do you enjoy reading? Do you use an e-reader? And do you also use the e-reader for your research?

6 comments:

  1. Which model do you recommend?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm using the Kindle Paperwhite, without Special Offers. I haven't tried any of the other Kindle types, but I like how the screen looks like paper (and how it is easy on the eyes), and I like how it discourages going online (hello, super focus!) because the device just isn't suitable for that.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I bought myself a Kobo Mini as as gift to myself (particularly as it was only £29!) and have read more books in the last month than I have since I started my PhD nearly 3 years ago. More than anything, it's about having a book on hand again (when you have to cart around a laptop and other bits and bobs, a book is something you just don't want to deal with anymore). Totally agree about fiction inspiring me to write more.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes, having an e-reader has made me read 51 books so far this year (and I only got the Kindle in April) - having it handy has done wonders for my reading.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I can see how you like it, especially the small bits of time can be used reading very effectively. I've borrowed a Kindle to try it a couple of times. I really liked reading fiction on it, but for non-fiction books or papers I missed the ability to easily scroll back to previous pages once in a while. Also the ebooks are not that much cheaper as the paperback version (which I hoped would lower my spending on all those books).

    Do you takes notes while reading papers? How does that work for you on the Kindle? If would mainly be for this reason I'm thinking more about a tablet: reading benefits as well as note taking benefits and easier to go paperless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm mostly enjoying my Kindle for fiction books and general non-fiction. For engineering books or academic work, I still prefer paper. The e-book versions of textbooks are not something I'd recommend: I think the screen is too small for that, and I imagine it can be hard to make homework, wanting to have a couple of tables open and having to switch back and forth on the Kindle all the time.

      I'm still printing most of my papers, and using pencil and paper for marking up. I like sketching out things, such as forces, stresses and strains, and I haven't found a digital tool that quite suits my fancy on that as much as just plain old pencil and paper...

      Delete

UA-49678081-1