Our Reading Lives

How I Learned To Embrace Digital Reading

Annika Barranti Klein

Contributing Editor

Annika Barranti Klein likes books, obviously.   Twitter: @noirbettie

I love books. I mean–duh. But like, I love books. My preference is for a trade paperback; I love the weight in my hand, the size of the type, the covers big enough for images and title to fit (and I do judge a book by its cover, hard as I try not to). I also love hardcover books, with their lovely dust jackets and deceptively plain covers underneath; I love end papers and built-in ribbon bookmarks and all the other lovely features a hardcover book may have. I have less love for mass market paperbacks, which I find tend to fall apart. My husband likes them because they fit in his pocket, but my lady pockets do not hold much so I am okay preferring larger books.

But this is not about book-books.

After my older son was born, my whole world changed and suddenly I was a person who always always always had another human on top of me, either sleeping or nursing or both. It was hard to feed myself and stay hydrated, let alone hold a book and turn the pages and pay attention to the words and everything. When Sam was asleep, I usually picked up my knitting instead, which occupied my hands. When I did read, it was usually to him.

When my younger son was born, it was a little different, in that he did not require me to be holding her at all times. But I had Sam to chase around, and besides I was in the habit of not reading much, and you know the rules about inertia.

Then I turned 33, which felt like a big deal birthday, and my husband and children gave me a Kindle, which made it a big deal birthday. I had been really unsure about the idea for a long time. As I mentioned, I love books! I have dragged thousands of them around from apartment to apartment my entire life! But my BFF had gotten one and loved it, and frankly, she’d never steered me wrong (she got me into blogging, for one thing). So I asked for one and I got it and I filled it up with books and IT. WAS. GLORIOUS.

I read all the books my Twitter friends had been talking about, but I couldn’t afford to buy and hadn’t been able to get from the library for one reason or another. (Did you know that the library wait time is interminable for popular books?) I read the Hunger Games trilogy in four days. I read friends’ books and classic books and lots of other books.

I read and I read and I read.

Did I mention that it was terrific? It sure was! (It still is!)

Of course my initial pace wasn’t sustainable, but with an ereader I found myself reading more than I’d read in years–in fact, more than I would read until I made the conscious choice to read only women, which has so overwhelmed my TBR that I only slow down my reading when I am unable to choose my next read.

Now that I am several years into my life as an ereader reader (there’s got to be a more elegant way to say that!), I have found that my consumption has slowed down a lot, and I read more paper books now than I did when I first got the Kindle. But I’ve also converted my husband, given him my original Kindle, and moved onto a second device. Overall, I’d still call it an overwhelming success.