I LOVE reading. LOVE it. Always have, always will.
For that we can thank parents who were teachers and being an only child — because reading was the best way to entertain myself.
Of course, it means I’m permanently sleep-deprived.
Right now, I am sleep deprived because I was awake till dawn reading a cracking book that I just couldn’t put down. Actually, I was reading a cracking book that I just couldn’t switch off.
Yes, gentle reader, after swearing that I was a book purist — none of this emotionless, soulless e-book reading for me — I have been converted.
As ever it is the iPad to blame.
Yes, I’ve had a Kindle app on my iPhone for months and months, but honestly, reading on that little screen is a bit of a pain in the bum.
So, now that I have a book-sized screen to read on, there has been no stopping me.
I’ve read four books in about two weeks — The Big Short by Michael Lewis (a blow by blow analysis of how the US financial system collapsed), A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (the Big Bang, quantum mechanics, homo erectus!!), The Promise: President Obama, Year One by Johnathan Alter (US politics, yum) and Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi (the story of her eating disorders and sexual identity).
And I’m in the middle of another — The Wave by Susan Casey, a terrific read that is half popular science about freak waves and half surfing odyssey in the wake of the world’s best big-wave warriors.
That’s the one that kept me up till dawn.
I enjoy holding an actual book as much as the next person, but it’s come down to economics.
If you love reading in Australia then you will know that books cost a ridiculous amount of money here. Try buying a new released novel under $30 and you’ll see what I mean.
The reasons are many and various — from import restrictions, to printing costs, to the GST to outright money-grabbing by local publishers — but the bottom line is the Productivity Commission found that books in Australia are 27 per cent more expensive than in the US, and 13 per cent more expensive than in Britain.
E-readers like the Kindle (Amazon) and iBook on the iPhone and iPad have changed all that.
All of those books I mentioned above (with one exception) were less than $10 from Kindle.
The exception is Portia de Rossi’s memoir which was $18 from iBookstore, Apple’s equivalent to Amazon.
I take my iPad with me everywhere, anyway, so now I have a book with me everywhere.
Actually, I have 16 books with me.
I like to mark my books — highlight the bits I like, the bits I really want to remember. With the Kindle and iBook apps I can do that without damaging a book.
And I can read in the dark, which takes me straight back to my childhood, reading under the covers with a torch.
Seriously, get an e-reader. Anything that gets people reading more easily, has to be a good thing.