Pick-A-Day

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I (heart) reading. Even more now.

For several years, every time I’ve returned from the States, I’ve carried a lot of books – and then spent a month or two reading them (or longer). I buy books in the US and not Germany because there’s a wider selection and better pricing when it comes to English language books.

That’s not to say I don’t buy books here in Germany – I do.

Earlier this year I had cause to buy Ken Follett’s World Without End, right after having read his Pillars of the Earth. Let it be known that Ken Follett is the main reason that I now own an e-reader.

Ken Follett’s books are a struggle to read for two reasons: first the plots (if there is one) are long and drawn out and, second, the books are physically bulky.

Even as I was struggling to finish (and carry around) World Without End, I was in the process of deciding which e-reader I was going to buy, ultimately picking the least expensive, lightest one available that did not come with built in screen-saver advertising. I hate advertising and will not accept it into my life unless there are no other reasonable options — $30 extra and my e-reader is advertising free.

So far I’m thrilled with the e-reader.

It has easily been the best purchase of 2012 – it fits in my briefcase, it fits in my camera bag, and it doesn’t contribute any significant amount of weight. I’ve read it on airplanes, in parks, on buses, and in bed.

The only downside is that it’s too easy to buy books and I have some on it that I’m not really clear why I bought. The main offender in this category is Dirt, by David Vann. When I look at the description page for the book, I’m not even sure why I was attracted to it in the first place.

That said, I am buying more books, and I have to confess that low priced books are more likely to be bought just because I like the idea behind the book, even if I’ve never heard of the author. Latakia, by JF Smith, is a gay romance novel with a military setting, prior to the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell – surprisingly good, the kind of good that prompted me to immediately buy the other two JF Smith books. At $1, I didn’t go wrong.

I might note that the battery life for my e-reader is, so far, excellent. I charged it prior to my summer trip to the States, and never worried about re-charging it.

9 comments to I (heart) reading. Even more now.

  • Do you mind sharing which e-reader you decided on? I’m traveling to Australia at the end of the year and have been looking at getting one but was only really thinking about a Kindle. I have to admit it was only recently that I realised every book shop now seems to have their own verison of an e-reader so now instead of choosing which of three different Kindles would suit best (which I could probably just about handle), I’m facing a real Qual der Wahl.

  • Oh, and as for buying books you might not otherwise have done just because they were cheap, I have an entire bookshelf of just that type of book from library and jumble sales. Ten books for a euro and that kind of thing so you end up grabbing anything that is by anyone you’ve ever heard of, or has a nice cover, or sort of sounds vaguely familiar. Still, sometimes it’s the way to discovering some real gems, too.

  • I’m also curious about which e-reader you’re using. I’m in the market and I always interested in first hand reports about what people like.

  • I bought the Kindle — not the Kindle Touch, not the Kindle Keyboard (it’s an e-reader, not a web surfing device), not the Kindle DX, and certainly not the Kindle Fire (way too heavy. It was hands down the lightest weight kindle (less than 6 ounces), which was my primary concern.

    I specifically opted against tablet computers, even though they are cross-platform devices–because they are heavier, and not easy to read in the sun. The e-reader is easy to read in the park, in the bright sun, and it’s easy to read in bed with my lamp on.

    Why I opted for the Amazon eco-system over competing ones is a bit more complicated, but it was driven, in part, by the fact that I already have an Amazon account. I’ve kept my Kindle registered in the US (I’ve been told that the book selection in Germany is smaller, and more expensive — at least for the books that I’m interested in), and since I have a US postal address and I use VPNs regularly, I’m content keeping my content American-based.

    I found the CNET article, Kindle vs. Nook vs. iPad: Which e-book reader should you buy? to be quite useful in guiding my purchase decision and explaining the differences between the various eco-systems.

  • Stacey L

    When I lived in Germany I would mostly use the English Language section of the Library. There were many Canadian and British Authors as well as American, so I got a taste of different culture. I would pick semi randomly. If I had to read a book that wasn’t there, I could buy it on my kindle.
    If you have a library card from the USA (or somebody in your family does), then you may be able to use it to download kindle books from your local library. I am not sure if I really got that to work quite yet.

  • Many thanks. Your reply was extremely helpful. I half expected you to reply if you told us, it would be “advertising.” :^)

  • Stacey L – Unfortunately I don’t have a library card from the States any more. But I’m content — I have a lot of material to read right now and am way, way behind…

    German Gems – You know me well — I deliberately didn’t name the product at first since I was discussing how thrilled I was with the concept 🙂 — however, once I’m asked, I’ll happily say which one I got and why…

  • I’m a fellow Kindle user, and I love the thing. Mine is about four generations old, but it’s still reasonably thin and light, and I like the control interface quite a lot. I don’t have many physical books here in Germany; most of those are still in storage back in Florida.

    • Cool! Strangely I dislike the software update I just got, the one that hides the wifi on/off into a submenu instead of being right on top of the main menu. Of course it’s not like I turn on/off the wifi that often; it’s usually off on mine.