Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Reading bigger books

I’m a slow reader.  I don’t think it was always that way.  When I was a child I would take 5 books a week out of the local library and they would all be finished by the weekend, after which I would walk the 2 miles into town and spend all my pocket money on three paperbacks.

Somehow, as I got older, my reading became slower.  As a result, I was put off by the physical appearance of a doorstep of a thick paperback, the sheer weight of the object, and anything with “epic” in the blurb was an immediate turn-off.   I had a psychological response which revolved around, “It’ll take ages to read,” or “I’ll never finish it.” I lost confidence, so I missed out on some wonderful stories.

Of course, when you download a book to your kindle, you can’t visualise the size and length, so you don’t have that tangible obstacle.  In fact, I’ve surprised myself recently when I’ve seen the print equivalent of books I’ve completed and enjoyed.  For example, I loved The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters, which is over 500 pages; if I had seen the paperback in a bookshop I wouldn’t have bought it, not even tried.

To some readers, 500 pages is nothing, the words to be devoured in a single sitting.  I tend to fit in reading with everything else, only occasionally allowing myself the luxury of spending an afternoon with a book.  A heavy paperback won't get taken out with me in the way that my kindle, which can be fitted in my handbag, does.  I take it to work, and I can dip in during breaks for half an hour here, ten minutes there, and before I realise it, I'm 300 pages in.

So reading bigger books feels like an achievement, and my confidence in my own reading ability has been boosted. This has, in turn, changed my reading habits in positive ways, allowing me to escape my self-imposed limitations.  Another way in which the kindle has opened my mind and challenged my assumptions. 

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