Friday, 3 October 2014

The Pleasure of Reading

I don't know about everyone else, but the popularity of e-books has given me far too many books to read and they've been piling up on my kindle while I slowly get through one at a time. And that's not to mention the shelves full of print books I'm working my way through. It gets slightly overwhelming sometimes and, if I'm honest, it began to spoil my pleasure of reading for its own sake. Of course, I want to read books by friends and colleagues (and I do enjoy them), and hope they might read mine one day, but the sheer number of writers I know means a wealth of books that accusingly call to me!

                                                                     My Victoria Holt Collection

At one time, I could hardly wait to reach the library for my stack of new books to read, by authors such as Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart, or I longed for a visit to the book shop to choose a new title to grace my shelf at home. These days, as much as I enjoy reading, sometimes it feels like a chore to get through as many books as possible. I must emphasise here, however, that I love my kindle and its 100 plus books, as that's the only way I read in bed before sleeping, and I also like having unread print books on my shelves. But...

As the dark nights are drawing in, I've been less inclined to stay online as long as before, so I started a huge print book, The Host by Stephenie Meyer, that my daughter bought me a while ago. We went to see the film before I read the book so I knew the storyline. But I quite enjoy reading a book after the film as (strangely) I like to know the outcome and then enjoy reading all the details. As usual, I began reading it for the half hour or so before going to bed, when I then switch to the latest kindle book I'm reading.

Then, as I got really into the story, the old magic of reading for pure pleasure took over, that escape into another world, and I started thinking of the book at other times. Eventually, I had to finish it over a couple of afternoons as it was keeping me up too late at night! It doesn't really matter which book it happened to be, I was just delighted to feel that same urge to get on with the story that I used to experience all the time when younger. Perhaps it's partly a question of allowing more time to enjoy a book, rather than reading it in short bursts? Or maybe some books appeal to me more than others now? During autumn and winter, I'm looking forward to reading a little more than usual, rather than staying online too long, and hope to rediscover my old joy of reading as a pastime rather than a chore!

Rosemary

13 comments:

Becca McCallum said...

I agree - it's lovely to feel that 'urge to get on with the story'. I have two friends who work in a bookshop so they have recommended some books (a series of books!) that will keep me going through the darker, colder months. I do still like my kindle though. And actually it's handy to have something to read at night that you don't desperately need to keep reading, because otherwise I will read through the night rather than getting sleep!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi Becca- thanks for commenting. You're absolutely right about having reading material that doesn't keep us awake all night!

Mary Smith said...

Like you, I tend to read on Kindle when I go to bed. Just last week, however, I was at Wigtown Book Festival and bought some real books and have abandoned the Kindle for a while to re-experience the joy of reading a book. It is a different experience, though it has kept me reading far later into the night than is good for me. I wonder Kindle reading sends us to sleep!

Joanna said...

I can't stay awake beyond 10pm, as I always wake up very early. So I fit in some reading time in the mornings and find it helps inspire my writing, as long as I don't become too engrossed in the book! x

Teresa Ashby said...

It is wonderful to find a book that really draws you in, isn't it. I too read my kindle in bed at night :-) x

Julia said...

I think the sign of a good tale - whether on an e-reader or old-school paper - is when I wonder what's going on with the characters while I'm not reading.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi Mary - perhaps there's a different 'feel' to print books that hooks us for longer!

That's a different approach, Joanna - think I'd get too much into the reading to start writing!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

That's the bit I love, Teresa, when you just have to see what happens. Isn't the kindle great for bedtime reading!

You're absolutely right, Julia - that's when I can't get on with anything else and have to find out. Wish it worked that way with my writing too!

Frances Garrood said...

I've been reading Middlemarch again, first read for
A levels all those years ago. It's a wonderful wonderful book, but at 900 pages, I've no idea how we got through it as teenagers. I'm enjoying it much more now.

Wendy's Writing said...

I always have what I call a 'proper book' on the go. This is one that has been passed on to me by my mum. We share the same taste in books and I always know that I'll enjoy them. Alongside that, I'll dip into my ever growing stock of kindle books - I don't let them take over though.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

That's interesting, Frances - I must give it a go again as it's sitting on my shelf!

Me too, Wendy, although my kindle list does take over at times! Daughter and I sometimes share recommendations.

Patsy said...

I do have a lot of 'to read' books on my kindle. There wouldn't be so many if they were all physical copies I'm sure.

Linda D said...

I know I've found a good book when I stop reading it with my writer's hat on - itching to edit some parts, wishing I'd thought of that clever metaphor - and instead become completely involved in the story and wanting to know what's going to happen next.
I've got the kindle software on my desktop computer and it's great for reading short stories but I need a real book for my bedtime reading.