Hello everyone, I hope you are doing well. I thought I would come on here and discuss something I have recently come to realise. I have always been a firm activist for the preservation of physical books. They, in my humble opinion, are superior in many ways. I love feeling the weight of a book, as it reminds me that these words came from someone’s imagination. A book makes them feel real. I have many more reasons as to why I prefer reading books, but that’s a completely different blog post.
Recently, I’ve found it increasingly difficult to pick up a book. The motivation to do so has been laying dormant somewhere inside me. But the desire and urge to read remained. I’ve been focussing most of my time on academic reading for my degree, of which has left me devoid of motivation for recreational reading.
I’m an Amazon Prime customer and am constantly bombarded with Audible advertisements, offering me 2 free credits for any audio books of my choosing. As I mentioned earlier I haven’t read a book in some time, so I decided to try Audible. I chose a book that interested me and decided I would try to fall asleep while listening to it. My only experience with audio books would be when I used an app that read soft sleep stories, in soothing hushed tones that lull you to sleep. I quickly realised this experience was vastly different. The voices were very expressive and demanded to be heard. I ended up listening to 5 hours of the book without realising it.
I finished the audio book and swiftly selected my second free title. I was equally as drawn in to the story as I was with the first one. I am very shocked to have enjoyed it so much.
It has definitely helped me reinvigorate the motivation to read again. Almost. To be fair to myself, I have been writing more recently which is a positive thing.
Anyway I hope you enjoyed this little post, it’s a lot less serious than a lot of my other posts recently.
I haven’t written a post just having a chat in a little while. I have been in writing mode for a while and have enjoyed getting my creative juices flowing.
However, I’ve found that it is proving very hard to read AND write at the same time. You see, I have been working on 3 short stories as well as my current WIP recently. This has come after having a break from writing as I had a lot of Uni work on. But somehow I still managed to read quite a few books and short stories while still doing uni work. I’m not sure how to balance both?
I’ve picked up a few books and read the first few chapters and each time proceeded to slam it down with frustration. Nothing is gripping me and I’m wondering if that is due to me being so invested in my own stories. It’s as though everything else doesn’t quite evoke the same feelings as my own.
I would like to think this is a good thing, but I miss reading. Yet I can’t bring myself to power through more than a couple of chapters.
I have been reading a lot of short stories here on WordPress, does that count?
I also quickly wanted to mention the current mismatched style of my blog. As I still consider myself a newbie blogger, I feel like I’m experimenting with what I want to post. I still love everything I’ve shared and hope the eclectic style is not distracting or off putting.
Anyway, ramble over. If you have any tips on how to balance writing with reading, please leave a comment!
I realised that is has been over a week since the birth of my blog, and I am yet to update you on the book I have been writing for the past 8 months.
I started this blog to hold myself accountable and to document my journey with finally writing a book from start to finish. So that’s what I’m going to start today. Right now.
I remember being around 9 when my teacher began encouraging my creativity through short stories. Ms. Sentkovsky has always been my main motivator.
The moment I decided I wanted to be an author replays in my mindseye whenever I feel a niggle of doubt attempting to poison my positive mindset. Ms. Sentkovsky came to me during break time with tears streaming from her eyes. I thought something awful had happened and I still remember my stomach dropping and the awful feeling of dread that took over. She took me aside and in her hands was a story I had written about a WWII solider named Thomas Clarke. This character was based off of my great great grandad, who was a solider in WWII. I had gathered information on him, who he was, how he spoke and what he looked like. I used him as the basis of my short story I had written for my teacher. My teacher finally told me, her tears were happy tears, proud tears and inspired tears. That was the day she told me, so definitively “Jenny, when you publish your first book, you better dedicate it to me!”
I have known since that encounter, that this is what I want to do. It is the only thing I can envisage myself doing for the rest of my life. Even if I fail a thousand times before I succeed. I will dedicate this book to you Ms. Sentkovsky.
So, I am around a third of the way through my first ever novel. It is a psychological thriller and I have just over 22,000 words. I aim to get around 80,000 total.
I do believe this story has trilogy potential, however if by the time I’ve completed it I feel the story has been told and has finished, I am okay with that.
Writing a psychological thriller is difficult as it requires a lot of problem solving in terms of the plot making sense; while still maintaining that element of confusion until all the pieces come together.
I’m not sure how much to talk about, so if anybody is interested it knowing more about my story, please let me know in the comments!
I chose this concept because it occurred to me that there may be people who have never read a physical book. There may be humans walking the planet as we speak, who have exclusively read e-books. That thought was a scary one for me to mull over but in doing so, I have come to a few realisations with regards to the debate of e-books Vs print books.
I do have a certain level of understanding with those of us who prefer to read e-books rather than a traditional printed hard-copy. It is an interesting debate and I would like to use this platform to give my 2 pence. It is especially interesting when you consider the quote by Stephen King I chose. Maybe it should be “(e)Books are a uniquely portable magic” I will come back to this quote analysis a little later on in the post.
Quick History Lesson
Historians largely agree that it was an ancient group of people who inhabited Mesopotamia (historical region of Western Asia) who first attempted to transcribe symbols onto mobile mediums such as stone around 3500 BC.
It wasn’t until around 105 AD that paper began to become favourable, this time period is sometimes referred to as “The Paper Revolution”. Moreover recent archaeological reports claiming to have discovered paper dated 8 BC, as well as the fact paper had been used in China from as early as 200 BC for wrapping and padding.
Books as we know them today have come a long way from symbols transcribed on clay or stone. But when was the first book printed? Though it was Johannes Gutenberg who first mass produced printed work (the Gutenberg Bible) printed books actually existed nearly 600 years before. The printing press has its origins in Asia centuries before the technology reached the West.
What Is An E-book?
According to Google an e-book is “an electronic version of a printed book which can be read on a computer or a specifically designed handheld device.”
I remember the first time I saw a Kindle being advertised on the TV. The possibilities seemed endless. You can fit hundreds of books on one single device, which is so convenient for long-haul flights, busses, tubes and trains.
Have you ever borrowed a book from your mum, only to find the font is so small you can hardly read it without your eyes burning in their sockets? Well you can customise font and size on an e-reader such as a Kindle. If you don’t have enough room for eight bookcases in your home, you need not worry.
I get it. I really do. But…
Printed Books Are Better
Of course, this is just my personal opinion. As I said before, e-books are way more convenient, easier, quicker and maybe even more affordable. I myself have read a few e-books, mainly when I have just finished an amazing novel and I need something else in a hurry ;to fill the emptiness you feel once the last page has been read. Let me explain.
There are many things I love about books. The characters I meet and watch grow, the emotion it evokes from me and of course the feeling of reading a book with a satisfying ending – or perhaps a satisfyingly dissatisfying ending. But I also love the physical feeling of holding a book and turning its pages. The smell of the pages, the creases in the paper and even the weight of it. The fact we can physically hold a universe in our hands, or the life story of a WWI soldier is what makes me prefer printed books to e-books. To me, it increases its authenticity. Perhaps this is due to the fact I am a creature of habit. Or it could even be because when I see a book I loved reading as a child on my bookcase at home, it takes me back if only for a second.
Another compelling argument for e-books is the fact they are instant. You can find and read new titles almost instantly at anytime. You could be on a bus and feel like reading, but you didn’t anticipate this that morning. An e-reader gives you the freedom to read wherever you are. I myself have downloaded the Kindle app to buy books when the feeling arises. However, I remember during secondary school, I had the most ridiculously small bag, couldn’t fit a thing in it. Once I got back into reading again, I took into account that I needed space for all of my school books, as well as fiction books. Thus, get a bigger bag!
Stephen King Was Right
“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”
E-books are still books, the words are the same, the story is the same and the characters are the same. The only difference is the way in which we consume the same product. It depends heavily on who you are, what you prefer and why you like to read in the first place. For me, reading physical books is an experience from reading dozens upon dozens of blurbs in the bookshop, to buying;it all the way up until I place it on my bookcase.
Everyone experiences reading in their own subjective way. Whether you read a story in a book or on a screen, even if you read a story written on the toilet door of a pub loo; there is magic in those words. That story came from somebodies heart, mind and soul. There is power in imagination, creativity serves us all. Consume it however you like!
To Answer My Own Question
No, printed books should not be left in the past. But that’s not to say we shouldn’t embrace and take advantage of the convenience of e-books either. At the end of the day they both allow us to enter other worlds and escape for a little while.
Also, does anybody else just love staring at their bookshelves? Reorganising and rediscovering stories as you proudly dust their resting place? Especially the books you have been given by others or the ones you find in a charity shop. I find myself wondering who may have enjoyed this story before I did; or perhaps who disliked it and decided to give it away. It makes printed books just that little bit more special to me.
Daily Reading Recommendation
“Never tell a lie when you can tell the truth. The truth isn’t always the safest course, but mostly it is.”
– Stephen King
Since we are already talking about Stephen King, why don’t you have a look at this if you haven’t already? I ordered this after reading ‘The Outsider’ by Stephen King, of which I realised only once I finished it; is a spin off from the Bill Hodges trilogy. I wondered why I didn’t connect with the main character like I thought I would. ‘Mr Mercedes’ is the first book in the trilogy and it is an amazing read.
It is a tightly plotted crime novel that still manages to retain the unmistakable Stephen King flavour he has become known for. It is without a doubt a novel of character and great depth. I managed to finish it in one sitting so if you choose to give it a go, get comfortable and don’t worry about that bookmark!
I hope you enjoyed this post and feel free to comment what you think.
I have started this blog primarily to keep myself accountable in terms of my writing. I am currently around a quarter of the way through my first ever novel. I started off strong and was writing around 2000 words per day, though I soon burned out and my word-baby has been left unopened for a couple of months.
I believe if you have a genuine passion for something, you should strive to achieve it but we almost always forget that we need to crawl before we can complete the marathon that is novel-writing. This blog is my first baby-step. Although I have already started my book, that alone is not enough momentum to keep it hurtling towards the finish line.
I plan to upload snippets of my book as I continue this journey as well as any free-writing I do. I have just joined an online writing class in which we are required to submit pieces of creative work; those will also be making an appearance in the near future. I am so excited to have finally taken the plunge and started this blog. I created my first writing blog when I was fourteen after seeing a school peer enjoying fashion blogging so much. I was discouraged at the time and deactivated the website.
I have promised myself, even if my mother was the only one who ever reads this; I’m glad I have a space to share my work as well as improving my writing.
Daily Reading Recommendation
“…It’s better to ask for the Earth than to take it”
Although this is not a book, I believe a lot can be taken from a script. I have loved this play for many years. I first read it in when I was 12 years old as my mum wanted me to be prepared for my English GCSE’s which began the year after. Unfortunately I never got the chance to study An Inspector Calls at GCSE level, but that didn’t stop me from reading the play again and again.
The moral message of this play is hard-hitting and still relevant to this day. I would recommend this play to anyone and everyone.