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Re-kobo-ing my Love of Reading

23 January, 2013

When I started this post, it was going to be called ‘Rekindling my love of reading’, but somehow using that word in relation to any device other than the Amazon Kindle (and this will partly be about e-reading) didn’t seem appropriate – hence the terrible joke in the title instead. You see, over Christmas, I decided to treat myself to a self-purchased present: a Kobo Glo e-reader, as a replacement for my old Sony Reader, which is starting to feel rather heavy and outdated.

Buying an e-reader remains something of a luxury purchase – if I’d just wanted to read, I could have gone to the library, or bought cheap books second-hand (and I’ve continued to do both since buying the Sony several years ago). Getting the Kobo was partly down to my general love of gadgets and technology, but it’s had a very beneficial (and expected) side-effect: it’s been a major kick up the backside to my reading habits, and I’m suddenly reading a lot more. I’m also buying a lot more books, though of course I have to be careful not to get carried away, as making purchases from your armchair, and getting a good deal in the bargain, is always tempting.

As a writer, I try to read as much as I can. It’s a way to learn the craft, to keep up with the changing trends of genres, and to support the industry I want to be a part of. However, buying the Kobo has reminded me of something that it’s equally important to remember, and which is entirely unrelated to the technology itself: that I love reading and books, and that was why I started to write in the first place.

Using an e-reader has plenty of advantages (and a few downsides, too). I’ve been re-reading The Lord of the Rings, and not having to lug a 1000+ page paperback around has been a decided pleasure. However, more importantly, it’s been a joy just to read more again, both ebooks and the old-fashioned kind. There’s no way you can keep writing for long without a genuine love of books, reading and everything that entails, but I like to think I’d still love reading just as much if I wasn’t writing.

So, if you’re a writer or an academic, or work in any profession where you have to read for work and research, remember once in a while just to read for the sheer joy of it. You certainly don’t need an e-reader to rediscover your love of a really good book – this is one occasion where the medium doesn’t matter, and it’s the excitement of what lies between the pages, electronic or otherwise, that’s the important part.

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