Wednesday, December 07, 2011


Reading intently
I discovered books at the tender age of 9 or 10; thanks to my mamu (my mom's younger brother). We were living in Raleigh, N.C. and visiting him and his family in CA. He took me to the local library and I picked up a bunch of books - almost all mystery novels. I had Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, series that had the Five Find-Outers, there were another set of books that had 7 children solving mysteries but I cannot find them via Googling. Did I enjoy the books? Do you see the photo to the left? That was taken by my dad after we came back from CA. Apparently, we had to make weekly trips to the library and brought back bags and bags of books.

The obsession with reading carried into middle and high school. Back in India now, we had excerpts from British literature that we read for our English classes every year. I was not satisfied with just the excerpt. Every excerpt I read, I had to read the book. So, by the time I graduated, I'd read Pride & Prejudice, Little Women, and hundreds more that all came out of the great isle of Britain. I also read their version of Harlequin - Mills & Boon, which was a cause for much consternation for my mother. I mean I would hide my books in our bathroom so I could read in hiding.

I love holding a book in my hands, getting lost in the storyline, imagining the characters, having the video play in my brain as I read through the pages. I got made fun of by a Southwest flight attendant for having a pretty large Stephen King novel in my lap once. "Haven't you heard of a Kindle?" were her exact words. But, I still love holding a book, turning a page, dogearing it to mark my spot ... However, it is a huge pain to carry books with me while traveling. Specially now that we have a toddler and of his accoutrements to take with us.

When I traveled without a child, I would get the latest books by my favorite authors from the local library. Pack most of them in my checked luggage, take a couple as carry-ons. (I don't read books more than once, so I don't buy books) Now, I don't have the luxury of space in my checked or carry-on luggage for books. So, the last time I traveled, I got books from work (they have a shelf where people can leave books they've read and borrow others), so I read them and left them at airports, other libraries etc. But, this meant I wasn't reading my favorite authors. I have given audio books a try; they are ok but I missed reading. When I read, each character has a face, a distinct voice ... and that gets lost when you have one voice reading all characters.

Image from Apple
Enter the iPad. We have one. Jeff had an ap - iBooks, that I'd never used. I tried it out last night. I downloaded a sample of a new book by Tess Gerritsen. I read the 40 pages on the iPad. I loved it. It solves a majority of my problems:
  • no heavy books to carry with me
  • I can read my favorite authors
  • I can read it on our iPad or my iPhone, if Oli is entertaining himself with the iPad.
The only problem right now is that I have to buy the book and unlike paper books, I cannot resell these on Amazon. And, since it's so new, the ebooks from the library have waiting lists as long as lines outside stores on Black Friday.

But, for our trip to CA next Friday, I have 2 books from my favorite authors in my hand and it doesn't add weight to my carry on.

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