Reading has always been one of the most important parts of my life; I can't recall any time since age 3 that I haven't had a book nearby, if not actually in hand. In fact, "bring a book" has always been my personal motto. Although my home is filled with books, many of them unread, I really love library books. And in the last year or so, I realize that I REALLY love library e-books.
When the public libraries were closed and staff furloughed for several months during lockdown, I had a momentary panic until I saw that the e-book collection was still going strong, with new titles added every day. I read a lot during lockdown, almost all of it digitally.
When e-books first started to catch on, in 2006 or 2007, I often announced that I would not like them. I said that I loved the feel of the physical codex, the turning of pages, the recollection of where on the page I had seen a name or reference. Reading on a device seemed far less serious and pleasant than reading "real books." But that changed when my sons gave me a Kindle for Mother's Day in 2014, just as we were heading off for a vacation to Britain and Norway. I was hooked immediately, especially at the thought of not having to shlep a dozen books along on a three-week trip.
Since then my e-book habit has kept me in reading matter around the globe. Because we refuse to pay the exorbitant internet fees on cruise ships, a shore visit would begin with finding the nearest wi-fi so I could get some new books. Sometimes that was at a hot spot on the dock (where you would always find a bunch of crew members calling home), sometimes a nearby bar, where I could simultaneously download content and drink beer.
But at sea or ashore, I realize how much I like reading on a device. It's easier to use at the table, where I do a lot of reading -- prop it in a little easel and it's perfectly on display. You can read in bed after the lights go out.
Best of all, you can search in the book to find out who in hell Geoffrey is, when he appears in the narrative after 200 pages of absence, or what exactly Geoffrey said when he was first interviewed by the police. You don't need a bookmark, or worry that your bookmark will fall out. You can mark any passages you like, even make rude marginal notes, without a pencil!
Since I started daily calligraphy two and a half years ago, I have written a passage from every book I read. It's the first time in my life I've kept track of what I read, and I think just keeping the list has added to the reading experience. If you want a recommendation, I have really enjoyed "The Premonition" by Michael Lewis, and "Nightmare Scenario" by Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Palette -- both about the pandemic and how the government dropped the ball on managing the outbreak. Depressing reading, yes, but informative and thought-provoking. Or if current events just have you spitting expletives, try "Nine Nasty Words" by John McWhorter, a linguist's take on the naughtiest taboo words in the English language. Not for those who clutch their pearls upon hearing "darn it."
What have you been reading lately? Anything about your reading choices or reading habits different now than it was before pandemic?