Tag Archives: reading

e-books and hard copy books: the difference between buying and reading

In case many ppl are simultaneously thirsty, a wall of drinking fountains.

I buy a greater number of books on my Kindle, but READ a larger percentage of purchased hardcopy books.

In terms of concrete numbers:
2012: 58 e-books purchased (11 read)
2011: 49 e-books purchased (10 read)

In contrast, I bought about 10 hardcopy books each year (not counting cookbooks), and read almost all of them.

My book buying habits bode well for the book industry if indeed they reflect a larger trend–buying an e-book can be done at any time of day, with nearly-instant gratification. When I was reading the Fifty Shades of Grey and Hunger Games trilogies, I found myself buying and downloading the successive books at three o’clock in the morning. And then barreling forward with my reading.

Or if I hear about a good book during conversation or while reading an author interview. Bam. Downloaded again.

So when is it that I buy a hardcopy? When the book isn’t available as an e-book (like Octavia Butler or many of Chuck Palahniuk’s books). Or as a collectible. When the writer is a friend. Or I want the book signed. I will also buy both an e-book and hardcover copy of a book if I want the book accessible to me while traveling and/or the hardcover gets signed and it becomes precious (e.g., when Toni Morrison signed my hardcover copy of Home).

Maybe the books I buy in hardcopy are the reason I read more hardcopy books, you think. That they’re my friends’ books. Or an author whose writing I’m already familiar and already love.

But inevitably for me, it’s the tactile sensation of reading. Turning an actual page. Hearing the page turn.

The Kindle has its various attractions for me–the aforementinoed instant gratification, and the fact that I can carry an entire library with me on a plane.

I have friends who say they read more on Kindle (and anecdotally, I’ve found these friends are mostly software engineers (including my husband) who might be more attuned to reading a screen)–but for the most part my social network says they too read more hard copy books.

Do you buy more books on Kindle/as e-books? Or as hardcopy books? Why? And which format do you find more readable?

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Fifty Shades Post

walking on sky

In other news, I am was so exhausted last week. I normally do not get jetlag when I fly between San Francisco and New York City, partly because I fly so often, and partly because a three hour time shift doesn’t kill me. But this time, I had the additional complication of a new addiction; reading the first damn romance novel I’ve ever picked up. Ergo, my exhaustion is was amplified times 100, because I’ve I’d stay up all night reading, and then wake up sometime in the middle of the day.

The name of the books my friends, are Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed. If you buy the first book, just go ahead and buy the next two at the same time.

Also, if you do not like reading sex scenes, do not read them. I lost 30 purity points just by reading these books.

The Fifty Shades trilogy is like crack. And I am cracked out. I’m I was not eating well (partly because we’ve we’d yet to go grocery shopping plus the fact that I started reading the books during Passover; we were eating weird concoctions that are destined to become the next generation of matzo brei, which in and of itself is a desperate concoction). I missed all my yoga classes because I’m I was either too tired or reading, to go. And I’m I was drinking coffee so I can could get energy so I stay up so I read so I am was tired in the mornings so I make made some coffee…

*disclosure (and you’ve probably figured this out by now–I started writing this post last week).

The Fifty Shades Trilogy is like a mashup of Clan of the Cave Bear (deflowering virgins and sex scene after sex scene), Thomas Crowne Affair (the glider scene and a male protagonist who is wealthier than Thomas Crowne), Beauty and the Beast (monsters and romance and true love), Twilight (secrets and monsters again), 9 1/2 Weeks (BDSM and sex scene after sex scene), Jane Eyre (secrets and a new form of tortured Mr. Rochester), and The Fountainhead (stalwart and stoic capitalists). It’s a suspense-filled psychological thriller and it’s romance and it’s erotica. It’s formulaic and yet completely addictive featuring the ever-damaged, complex Christian Grey and the ever-spunky, strong Anastasia Steele. Seriously, are these romance novel names, or what? If your name is Anastasia Steele, your life is a romance novel waiting to happen.

The trilogy is an amazing lesson in building a pageturner that keeps readers so intrigued they get sleep deprived. Once I go into Fifty Shades Rehab, I’ll be able to figure out the pieces of the puzzle. (I’m diagramming the novel out as I type–see below for some of my dissection).

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Drifting House Giveaway: Winner!

Scarlet and Ziggy reading "Drifting House" by Krys Lee

There is now a winner of the Drifting House giveaway..!

Seeing as how I’m still a bit decrepit from my mega-cold (oh, plus there’s no water in my building today! booyah!), I didn’t do a video, but here’s a pseudo-live-blog of the drawing:

12:30pm: Ooh! Time to pick a winner!
12:40pm: Wait. Too early. The drawing ends at 1:00pm.
12:45pm: Last minute tweet urging people to enter the giveaway.

1:15pm: Ooh! Time to pick a winner!
1:16pm: Seriously. Why did only 4 people enter this giveaway? It never ceases to amaze me how some books get 70+ entries, and others less than 10. Please buy this book.
1:20pm: I normally would enter names in a spreadsheet in the order of comment. But ahem, seeing as there are only 4 (y’all got a 25% chance of winning!) here they are:
1. redjim99
2. Alvin
3. Heather
4. Laura

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Books I cannot wait to see released in 2012

Writers Room cake

My 2012 To-Do list includes reading. Reading is the best thing a writer can do. I think reading tops eating. Though I really do like to eat, which is probably why my writing suffers at times.

I have a list of books I cannot wait to read in 2012, and I’ve listed them below. What are your anticipated books?

Update:
A good friend of mine asked, in the comments below, “How do you choose what contemporary books to read…So when I ask ‘how do you choose,’I mean less the mechanics (friends’ recommendations, the number of stars on Goodreads, Atlantic reviews, etc.) and more the personal definition of what books are worthy of three weeks of your life? How do you grant permission for a book to potentially change your life?” (Scroll down to the comments to read the entirety of his question).

Great question, and I realize, an answer that was absent in my introduction of this list.

So instead of making you crawl through the comments below, I’ll post my answer here in the post, too:

A huge writing mentor of mine once advised us to read more classic books, and to hold off on reading contemporary books (she also said we shouldn’t read anything written by someone under the age of 30). I think her advice (about reading the classics) holds merit. I try very much to read a book that’s survived scrutiny/time for every book that is a new release. HOWEVER…

I want to support contemporary writers. It’s important to support new voices and read new voices and usher them into some level of awareness, even if it’s just little old me doing it.

Also–I just love particular themes and writers and voices. There are stories I’ve wanted to hear from childhood but could not find in books.

You’ll notice most of the writers above are female. The canon is very female-light. And I like reading the voices of women, so of course I”m attracted to contemporary lit for those voices.

You’ll notice that writers above are from largely underrepresented ethnicities. How many books in the canon are written by Muslim writers? Or even though East Asian Americans have had a foot in the door for 20ish years now, how many books in the canon are written by writers of Asian descent?

I can’t rely on “The Canon” to find these voices and stories.
It’s up to us to form our own canon.

And yes, I love Fitzgerald (after all, The Great Gatsby is my favorite novel of all time), and I love Graham Greene. But as important it is to read novels that have survived the test of time, it’s important to me to read new voices, especially those that have been underrepresented in our history. In my reading history.

Also of course, there are just writers I like! Who are alive! And writing books. And I’m there when the book hits the shelves.

American Dervish by Ayad Akhtar
Growing up Muslim in (Midwest) America. Maybe this theme reminds me of a lot of East Asian American books, circa 1988, but this is a door through which new voices come.

Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon
My adult life was spawned with Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue at its nucleus. Of course I want to read this.

Forgotten Country by Catherine Chung*†
How excited am I to hear this book is coming out? I’ve been waiting for Catherine Chung’s book, one that focuses on folklore and immigration and identity, to come out, and I can’t wait to read it.

In One Person by John Irving
John Irving. Whom I adore. His first “political book” since The Cider House Rules and A Prayer For Owen Meany, two books I adore. So buying this.

Suddenly, A Knock On The Door by Etgar Keret
I love Etgar Keret. He gets it. His stories are bizarre and always tunnel under my skin. It’s quite pleasurable, this tunneling.

The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour*
Yes, I read YA. Nina LaCour’s fiction is the kind of fiction I wished existed when I was fourteen years old.

The Devil in Silver by Victor LaValle
Hello, I loved Victor Lavalle’s Big Machine (sorry, I say that whenever possible). I am such a fan of his work–and did you read his defense of the National Book Awards? The Devil in Silver is going on my shelf.

Drifting House by Krys Lee*†
I’ve had the privilege of seeing some of these stories in their fetal state, and now they’re in a collection! Krys Lee’s prose is quiet–tiptoes into a room and then delivers a knockout punch.

Home by Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison. Has. A Book Out. Nuff Said.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Of course I am going to buy and read Wild–I want to know more about the writer who wrote Torch.

Dora: A Head Case by Lidia Yuknavitch
Lidia Yuknavitch always tells it like it is. And then makes you like it.

*Books I will be giving away on 80,000 Words in 2011.
†Authors I will be interviewing and who will be featured in Kartika Review’s March 2011 issue

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