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What am I going to read? (part 1)

NYPL books 1 020113Since I got my Nook a few years ago, I know that my reading patterns have changed, and I’ve been mulling over the choices I make in what I read—as well as how I read. I know some of my generation still cling to only print books. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading the old-fashioned way and it has its benefits—it’s easier to see how far along you are, it’s quicker for flipping back to a previous page, it’s often easier to figure out which chapter you need to go to.

And I still browse bookstores, although, honestly, it’s pretty darn rare these days for me to buy a new book from a bookstore.

I’ll come close, and then I’ll get sticker shock and that little sense of being frivolous with my money. I’ll decide to go find it at the library. (My guilt over spending money trumps my guilt over not directly supporting a writer—sorry).

Near the beginning of the year, I joined the GoodReads group, “52 Weeks, 52 Books.” The moderator of the group, , is an author and blogger who also writes book reviews for The Huffington Post. Her goal with the group was to pick a bestseller every week: “I’ll use the New York Times best-seller list, and read the book that sits atop the combined e-book and print list,” she wrote. “If I’ve read that book, I’ll go to the hardcover list and so on.”

I joined the group because just prior to that, I had declared on Goodreads that I would read 100 books this year (in any category—but I decided that each book had to be at least 100 pages, not counting end matter). And so far I’ve read 9, including 3 from the 52 Books’ list.

As I said above I can’t afford to buy (or, I don’t want to spend my money on) 52 books from a bookstore, so I use alternate (legal) methods. Generally if an ebook is less than $7.00 and I want to read it (more about that in my next blog), I’ll buy it. I might spend up to $9.95 for an ebook written by someone I know personally, and I rarely make an exception. For a print book, I’ll usually go as high as $15.00. I hardly ever buy hardcover books except as gifts.

If my pricing criteria aren’t met I hit the library. The New York Public Library is notoriously slow at putting books on hold for you. I had reserved Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks, one of the books on the GoodReads list, but a day or so later got impatient and walked over to the library in search of it. It was there and I checked it out. I guess their electronic tracking wasn’t sophisticated enough to ask me if I still wanted to reserve the book. However, a week after I’d finished and returned the book, I got an email from the library saying it was now available. I live in Queens so I also check the Queens County libraries, but they recently changed their hours so that most branches are no longer open on the weekends. They’re open till 7 pm on weeknights, but I don’t often get home from work that early. Currently, the library I’m visiting most often is the one on 40th Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan because it’s close to where I work.

To me, an ebook is the best option as long as it’s affordable. I still like my Nook and I don’t have any need to buy a new reader, but lately I’ve been using Amazon Kindle as a free reader on my Android phone. Why? Because I have access anywhere to start reading something, whereas with my “old-fashioned” Nook I have to have WiFi to connect, download and start reading. I have my Amazon account set up with one-click to buy something. Yes, I know that’s dangerous, but I’ve only accidentally purchased a book once. The other benefit is the Android is small and light. The Nook is small and light, too, but is occasionally the first thing to be eliminated when my work satchel is getting heavy.

Reading on my Android is not ideal. It isn’t great for my eyes, but i do increase the type size so that I only have a few lines per page. Compared to the Nook and a print book, though, it’s back-lit so I can read anywhere. When I’m in the passenger seat of a car and it’s dark this is better than subjecting the driver to the car’s reading light.

How do I decide what to read? I go into that in my next blog.