paperless reading for the win

The best new, non-series book I've read all year: The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. It was worth staying up til 4am to finish this novel, because it really was that amazing. 

This weekend, I read a hardback book for the first time in long time (the last Heroes of Olympus book was unavailable from my Overdrive libraries* as an ebook, so I checked it out of the library as a paper book instead).

About half way through, I noticed that my asthma was flaring up more than usual, as I read. (Did I stop reading? No, I didn't. I took some Benadryl. Because Percy Jackson.)

There was a very (very) faint smell of smoke in the book, so it is possible that was the allergen, and not the book itself - it was a new book, so it shouldn't have been too dusty, but who really knows.

It was yet another reason for me to be glad that my reading habits have switched so decidedly to electronic reading.

I know, I know. Reading electronically doesn't seem to be very en vogue at the moment, for bookworms. (How many memes talk about that "book smell" with fondness? Ugh.) My own bookworm husband can't understand not reading paper books.

And there's the sustainability issue. Electronic devices are clearly not sustainable. Electricity is clearly not sustainable.

But then again, paper is not particularly sustainable either. Both in how it is made (dead trees, lots of wasted water, chemicals galore) and in its rapid decomposition.

Still, I am happy enough with my Kindle that last month, I bought a new (to me) model.

I can use smaller font on the Paperwhite and still see it clearly. This is super useful; I am almost 40.

In the wake of the Kindle Voyage announcement, a lot of people started off-loading their Paperwhites in anticipation of getting a new device. I took advantage and bought a second generation, used, Kindle Paperwhite.

(I gave my Kindle Keyboard to Souster B and it died on her, almost immediately! I mean, I knew the battery was wearing down, but I didn't anticipate it dying. So sad.)

The Paperwhite has been all that I hoped it would be and more.

I love the touchscreen and the addition of X-Ray. I love not having that annoying keyboard at the bottom. The Paperwhite is a smaller, lighter device. I love reading on it.

I was hoping that the Paperwhite light would help with my insomnia, but I wasn't sure. It's still an LED. It still emits blue light. But it emits a lot less blue light than my iPad mini. Less blue light should equal less disruption to getting to sleep.

It's anecdotal, but it seems to be completely true for me.

(It may not be the light, completely, since I am also not social networking on the Paperwhite, which I am also sure helps me get to sleep faster. I can read or play solitaire, that's pretty much it. Social networking is much more exciting to my brain than solitaire. And most of the time, I try to switch to solitaire so the book I'm reading doesn't compel me* to stay up later.)

I still use my iPad mini during the day and even up to the point where I get in bed. But after that I switch completely to the Paperwhite.

And I am falling asleep much faster.

The last book (not written by a friend) that I actually bought: The Witch With No Name by Kim Harrison. I also bought a paper copy for my mom, so we could discuss it asap. So good. Girl on a Wire was a free kindle book recently, and I haven't read it yet. Also shown: the Anne of Green Gables series, which I picked up for free last summer. It's almost time for a reread. 

Better breathing and sleeping easier = good reasons for electronic reading, to me.

Yay, ereading!

* Since I do so much reading and I prefer to spend money on traveling, 99.9% of the time, I get my books from the library, mostly electronically, via Overdrive. I have a library card from the Philadelphia Free Library (which costs $50 a year, for non-residents) in addition to my regular, NJ library card. I'd rather support a public library than Amazon, scribd or oyster, so I've chosen not to subscribe to any of those pay-per-month book services.

The biggest reason I picked Kindle over any other ereader brand is that Amazon pushes Overdrive books directly to their devices, via WiFi. I still have to check the book out from the library on either my desktop, phone or iPad mini, but I can then push the book to my Kindle directly, instead of needing to use a USB cord, like on a Nook or Kobo.

Some Sony ereaders (which are now discontinued) have direct app access to Overdrive, BUT after looking at review videos, I didn't think I'd be happy with them, since the older (and not being updated anymore, because they're discontinued) operating system is laggy. I'd rather go through one extra step than deal with a slow operating system. (Also there is no light for nighttime reading. But that wasn't an issue for me when I made the decision to buy a Kindle Keyboard last year.)

This is just what works for me. Your mileage may vary.

(For people who don't mind using a USB cord to transfer library books - or who are comfortable hacking their devices - a Kobo or Nook is a great option. For early adopters, there are the new Chinese ereaders that are running pure Android OSes. I didn't go with those this time around because I don't have much patience with device bugs. For people who aren't sensitive to blue light, a tablet is probably a better choice, since they are more multipurpose. I do enjoy reading on my iPad mini quite a lot, but at night it was definitely keeping me up.)

* If a book is really, really, really good, I'm still going to stay up til 4am to finish it. That's not insomnia, it's just me wanting to finish a great story. I've been doing that since I was a teenager. It's a terrible habit, and one I've done my best to break, as an adult. But ultra compelling books are still ultra compelling.

Thank goodness for coffee, because as long as there are writers like David Mitchell, I am going to need a lot of caffeine.