Posted in Geek Out, Reading

To E-Read or Not to E-Read?

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Perhaps you can tell from the odd extra spacing, but that’s my manuscript cover page on my new Kindle.  My manuscript looks so… real! (Like it wasn’t real before? Well, you know, it’s nice seeing it almost book-like in any format outside of Word.) I finally joined the digital book world and got an e-reader as a gift this week, and I love it even more than I thought I would!

Let me back up. I’m not a huge digital gadget person. Cell phones don’t interest me, and I pretty much only use mine for calling people, and not that often. Reading books has always been a nice way to escape the endless LCD- and backlit-screens I stare at all day while working, surfing the web, watching TV and playing games. The idea of staring at yet another screen to read just wasn’t appealing since reading was one of my last hobbies left that was screen-free.

That’s not to say I poo-pooed anyone else who wanted to read books on e-readers! It doesn’t bother me at all how people choose to read (or “hear” books like radioplays via audiobooks, as my sister loves to do!); I just love that they’re reading. My mom got a Kindle a few years ago, and it’s made reading easier than ever for her, and she’s become an even more avid reader. I just never could think of a reason for me to get one. But when I saw my mom’s Kindle in person, I was surprised how paper-and-ink-like the screen was! Seriously, I’ve never seen such a beautiful, glow-free digital screen with such crispness and clarity.

Last summer I was invited to review some e-books in the new Sweet Valley adult series, The Sweet Life, but I didn’t have an e-reader. (And my mom couldn’t lend me hers. She seriously reads too much to part with it for too long!) So I read it on my laptop. My eyes went googly. I saw a cheap brand e-reader on sale for like $30 one day and thought I’d get it just to finish the e-books on, but it was terrible. It was an LCD screen (so it felt just like staring at the laptop screen anyway), and the e-bookstore was terrible, and it was hard to navigate, and yeah… You get what you paid for. Luckily I was able to return it even though I’d opened it and tried it out! I knew then I’d wait and save up or ask someone for a Kindle.

So I got it last week and I uploaded my manuscript to it right away to check it out. I also bought an e-novella and got the first five chapters of Leigh Bardugo’s Siege and Storm, which are currently available for e-readers for free. (And which only serve to make me more anxious about waiting for the release of the rest in a couple of months, but I’ve been reading it anyway!) I got a few more free e-books I haven’t really touched yet. I’m scared of having too much to read because there’s a lot available for free!

But I’m still reading traditional paper books. I have nine on my to-read shelf (six of which have been there for way, way too long and keep getting pushed down the priority list) that I vowed to finish this year. I love being surrounded by shelves full of books, and I think I will buy Siege and Storm in print instead of electronically to finish reading. But I’ve been surprised how little reading the first few chapters on my e-reader has bothered me.

I have decided that whenever the next A Song of Ice and Fire book comes out (years from now…), I’m going with the e-reader since I realized with the last book that it’s a bit of a pain to carry a 1000+-page hardcover around. And it’ll be great for the dozenth time I read a manuscript, when I’m just looking for little tweaks (and then can run to the laptop and make them, without having stared at the laptop screen for hours and hours).

Do you have an e-reader? Which one? Do you prefer reading books electronically, on paper or both?

Posted in Geek Out, Reading

Reading the Source Material: Too Much for the Mainstream?

“Most people just don’t care that much, Amy….”

I heard that from my boyfriend the other day. No, we weren’t discussing anything of import at the time (although the quote sadly applies to those topics, too). I was in the middle of another ranting geek fit that my boyfriend puts up with. (He’s a geek, too, but since I’m the one who drags him to conventions, and I have a love for superhero comics that he simply has never shared, perhaps I flatter myself to be slightly more geeky.) The penultimate episode of Game of Thrones season two had aired, and I was telling him about some of the reactions I read online. Many people feared something had happened to a beloved character… And I knew almost as soon as I became a fan of the series what that character’s entire future (thus far) would be. Hadn’t they read the books? Or at least Googled info? It’s been online probably since the days of dial-up. I didn’t even start watching Game of Thrones until this past March, and I didn’t pick up the books until shortly thereafter. I wasn’t one of the fans who knew for years and years, but still, once I was interested enough in the series, I was dying to know more, and I devoured almost anything I could find on the topic.

I had a similar geek fit earlier this year towards the end of the second season of The Walking Dead. My own friends were the culprit this time, shocked and confounded by what happened on the screen! Meanwhile, almost as soon as I liked the TV series (a year later than most), I picked up all of the graphic novels and devoured them in a matter of a week. True, the series differentiates quite a lot from the original source material, but the particular event in question is something I braced for from the start… Seeing as how it happened almost at the start in the comics.

It could simply be a matter of time, and the fact that when you earn some free time, it’s far easier to veg out in front of a screen that does all of the entertaining for you. Sometimes going back to the source material is a pretty big commitment. (I’m now week six-ish into my vow to read all of A Song of Ice and Fire, and I’m only about 3/4 through the second book… By the way, I bet you didn’t know that’s what the Game of Thrones series is actually called, if you’re among those not interested in the source material!) Other people want to be surprised as they watch the movie/series, and they consider the originals sources of “spoilers.” (Me, on the other hand–I’ll look up spoilers before I even get that far in the reading, although I am getting better at fighting that urge…) I get it, I get that I’m probably just too much of a geek, but I can’t imagine loving a movie or a series, finding out it’s based on books, comics or even a video game, and not wanting to immerse myself further!

…And yes, I know, I probably just need to chill.

Do you read the book/comic first or are you inspired to read something after seeing an on-screen adaptation? Do you ever love a movie or TV show, learn that there are source materials and just not have the urge to check out more? (I’m looking at you, millions and millions of Avengers movie fans!)