January 2022

The Return Of The Kindle

Return Of the Kindle

It has been awhile since I have written, and I have written those opening words way too many times before. So a New Year’s Resolution is to start writing again and put it on this blog. Typically I’ve started off new year entries with some goals and resolutions, or a reading list. This entry will be a little of both; the aforementioned resolution and something related to a reading list, though I don’t necessarily have a list of books at the moment.

There have been times in my life where I was a voracious reader…typically followed by periods of nary of word. In recent times, I fool myself into thinking I am reading by looking at my phone, or if I am feeling really motivated, looking at the computer screen. Let’s be honest, clickbait articles are to reading like potato chips are to a healthy diet. Even an interesting article I find on the web, while considered long form, really isn’t deep a dive into a topic, or a story. Think of it as a heathy snack as opposed to a meal, or ideally a month of eating right.

It isn’t that I don’t have enough books. My better half will tell you that I most certainly do. I think I currently have four books piled up on my night stand, all in various states of being partially finished. And my bookshelf has a host of more books waiting to be cracked, at least beyond the Introduction. We would be overrun by books at this point if my wife hadn’t suggested putting a cap that I can’t own more books than can fit on my reasonably sized bookshelf. She knew full well that I would push the limit with my nightstand, desk…and a few under the bed. There are probably a few stuffed someplace that I have forgotten about.

So why haven’t I completed them? Great question. I am still interested in the topics, so that really isn’t an issue. Time? Lack thereof? That certainly is part of the issue, but not the whole issue. Taking a step back, I looked at the books I actually did read, consistently. I came up with two, specifically (thankfully there were more, but these two popped out for a specific reason): “The Daily Stoic” by Ryan Holiday and “A Calendar of Wisdom” by Leo Tolstoy. Both these books fall into the “daily devotional” category. There is a page for each day with a quote or thought and some discussion thereof. I recommend them both. I have read both, completely, and in the case of the “Daily Stoic,” numerous times. Why is that? They are certainly interesting, but there seems to be more. First, I typically keep them at my desk and read them first thing in the morning, one page. So these are readily available. I don’t have to get them, they are right there. Also, and this is just as important, and maybe more, I have a time slotted as when to read them.

OK, this is enlightening. Convenience is key. Those books are right there. The problem now is, if all my books were “right there” I would be assigned to the back bedroom of the house where my bookshelf is and potentially crushed under their weight. So the time is a factor. In the morning, I try to exercise, so really not much time to read other than the one page in the aforementioned books. At night, where I conveniently have several books on my nightstand? My wife will tell you that I am asleep before my head hits the pillow. So where is the time? Check my phone. The iPhone actually tracks what apps you spend time on. It sends you a weekly activity report. Ah, bingo. Of course there are the click bait articles that show up on Safari and the News app, etc, but I also discovered that I am a Settlers of Catan addict. This should not be a surprise, because I was a Civilization addict back when that came out in the ‘90s (just one more turn….) While Settlers is not as time consuming as Civilization (and what is?) I did see it was taking about 45 minutes of my day, typically at night after dinner, when I am curled up on the couch and my wife is watching a show that I might not have interest in. It is nice to veg out on the couch next to my wife, and there are some shows we love to watch together (The Voice, American Idol, etc.) But there are probably about a few hours a week where I am on the phone but
I could use reading an actual book. So bring a book out by the couch. Ah, now the second piece. That can work, but I went through a period of time where I have hardback books. The big ones. They look great on a bookshelf, but not necessarily easier to read when curled up on a couch, next to my wife, in a dimly lit room and being crushed by a cat. I have book lights, and they help, but sometimes not the most ideal depending on the actual book.

Ok, moving in the right direction, but could be better. Make it easy to succeed, right? When looking for Christmas ornaments and lights, I found a box with (surprise) a few more books and my 10+ year old Kindle. I had used the Kindle when I would ride the train to work, but haven’t used it in years, as I wanted to go back to the bookstore and real books. While I am still a proponent of the real thing, the Kindle was convenient. Also, the new Kindles have back lit displays, so you can read them in any light and hold them in one hand, easily. To make things even easier, I had some unused Amazon gift cards lying around, in addition to the fact that Amazon was running a trade in incentive, where you could return your old Kindle and get credit for a new one. So I purchased a new Kindle. Happy to report, I have completed one book, “Thinking: A Memoir” by Richard Nisbitt and started another, “The Control Of Nature.”

So, I think I’ve made a step in the right direction. Heck, it even got me to write about it.

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