Electronic Books and My September Reading

When I was a kid, I read books.  In print. Now we have so many more choices.

I’m a big fan of audiobooks.  My family listens to them when we are on the road.  I listen to them when I do craft work, knitting, wash dishes, iron and fold the laundry.  I also read electronic books on Kindle for the PC.  This is mostly tread mill reading and I like it because I can set up a big, non-eyestrain font.

Both e-books and audio books are a different experience than print books. I’ve been thinking about whether or not I truly believe that they will edge out print books.  It was one of the themes of Robin Sloan’s  Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Frankly, I don’t think it will entirely happen because each offers such a different experience.

Print books are works of art as electronic books can’t be.  From cover to font to paper choice, they are a tangible object. A row of hard cover books gives a very different feel to a room than does an e-reader on an end table.

For me, print books are also more convenient.  I can loan them.  I can borrow them.  I can carry them places I would hesitate to take an e-reader lest I drop it, get it wet or possibly forget it.

Audiobooks are convenient because someone reads to me while I do things.  Adult nonfiction is particularly good in audiobook format because if it isn’t tightly edited or moves a bit slow, I just keep on with whatever I’m doing.

I just listened to Robin Sloan’s  Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. In the portion of the book when the character is listening to an old audio book on tape, the sound quality sounds just like a tape.  I could really appreciate that.

In other books, when the content gets racy (as my grandmother would have said), I don’t especially want it blaring through the house if anyone else is home.  I also don’t always appreciate the voice actor’s interpretation.  I’m currently listening to a young adult paranormal, the second in a series.  I loved the first book.  The second?  If I wasn’t planning to write a novel on a similar topic, I would stop.  The main character has a whine that could shatter glass.  I am not loving it.

What about those Kindle books?  Because I use a treadmill desk, Kindle books on topics I am researching are very convenient.  I especially like the search feature.  I’ve also read picture books in this format and wasn’t sold.  I need the full sized book.  I want the page turn.   As convenient as the format is, I think of it as computer, not book. When I want to relax, I leave my work behind and either pick up a print book or listen to a book while I knit.

Here are the books I read in September, including Sloan’s book which got me thinking about this.

  1. Bean, Jonathan.  Building Our House (Farrar Straus Giroux)
  2. Black, Holly.  White Cat.  The Curse Workers series.
  3. Branford, Anna. Violet Mackerel’s Natural Habitat (Atheneum)
  4. Brown, Peter.  Mr. Tiger Goes Wild (Little, Brown and Company)
  5. Cabot, Meg. Abandon (Point)
  6. Carson, Rae.  Bitter Kingdom (Greenwillow Books)
  7. Fforde, Jasper.  The Last Dragonslayer.  
  8. Harrison, David L. A Perfect Home for a Family (Holiday House)
  9. Harrison, David L. Pirates (Wordsong)
  10. Kleypas, Lisa.  Crystal Cove.
  11.  Larson, Kirby.  The Friendship Doll (Delacorte Press)
  12. Mafi, Tahereh.  Shatter Me (Harper)
  13. Mills, Claudia.  Zero Tolerance (Margaret Ferguson Books/Farrar Straus Giroux)
  14. Patent, Dorothy Hinshaw.  When the Wolves Returned: Restoring Nature’s Balance in Yellowstone (Walker and Company)
  15. Sloan, Robin. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. 
  16. Yolen, Jane. Come to the Fairies Ball (Wordsong)
  17. Zullo, Germano.  Line 135 (Chronicle Books)