I have to ask: some recent changes in my reading habits combined with some research in how the brain processes information have me … well, curious mostly.
Like most writers, I love to read. A book in hand is a beautiful thing, but for one reason or another, I’ve found myself drifting away from reading for fun and pleasure in recent years. Part of it definitely was this little niggling critical voice that said I should be spending my time more constructively (a self-defeating voice at that, since it inspired me to play extra games of Solitaire and My Little Pony to boost my mood)… Another part was the dread of carrying yet “One More Thing” around with me (ask anyone who knows me… the rumors that I was descended from the great Galapagos Tortoises might be true).
So I had acquired a habit of avoiding fiction books, collecting books for “research” but not bringing them with me when I had to be out and about with my portable office, and trying to catch up on my classics via Project Gutenberg and Librivox.org (both sites I heartily recommend, btw).
But recently, I acquired (courtesy my wonderful husband), a PDA cum iPhone (as in iPhone without phone service because the device is broken). With access to iTunes and a Kindle app (among others), I’ve rediscovered my love of fiction, having devoured an extra three books a week (not including audiobooks and podcasts that I’ve bluetoothed through the car speakers on the commute).
Is this a good thing? It used to be that I would read a book and the characters would stay with me for days and weeks (and often longer as I would create mental fanfictions for the characters I had grown to love). I was quick reader even then, but I also liked to reread a lot and I would immerse myself into these fictional worlds through worn pages and crackling bindings.
I’m not inspired to reread these new e-books though–at least, not now. It’s easy to read a page or two then drift over to play a bouncing ball game with a new pony then go back to read a few pages… I’m finding it’s harder to feel connected with the characters. I’m craving more action in the stories and less description, yet in my print books, I still find a lovingly detailed paragraph or two that sets the scene for my favorite character worth reading over and over.
So… the verdict is still out. Since I intend to use both e-books and print for as long as I have access to both, I hope to find a balance where the joy of reading is just that… the JOY of reading and form will be of no consequence.
But I’d be curious to know your reading habits and if they’ve changed at all recently and why you think that’s happened.
And now that you know how my literary life is going, let me share my ROW80 life with you. It’s… not going as well as I would like.
- write every day; at the minimum, do 5 sentences not really… I tried dictating a few notes and story ideas on the phone, but little more than that
- finish a complete (rough) draft of Courting the Swan Song I ‘talked’ with some of my characters after listening to some writing related podcasts and shared some mental rants about things authors do to their characters after reading some scenes in the e-books I’ve read
- make twice weekly blog posts (WIPpet Wednesdays and Some Thing 4 Sundays) check
- maintain active sponsor participation check
- energize myself with more physical activity almost none… I hurt my right foot on Wednesday evening, and I’ve hobbled since: still managed two small workouts at the Y even so
- reclaim my writing space it’s hiding here somewhere
- go through some piece of my electronic home (desktop, laptop, server space, Dropbox, etc.) organized stuff on the iPhone… WHEEE! a whole new electronic world to manage!
- laugh more, hug my family more, share myself with friends more… some extra time with families at the Y for today’s Easter Egg hunt, does that count?
- attend chats and sprints on Twitter (at least one of each) one