One word that people have used to describe me in the past is the word “reader”. As a child, I was called a bookworm (“Bennie bookwurm” in particular after a popular Afrikaans TV show character) as I often had my nose in a book. I was a voracious reader and would spent many hours alone in the world that had been created by a range of authors. Now, as an adult, the childhood habit of reading has not changed. A book is always with me, ready to be opened and read. Now, however, my opportunities to read are sandwiched in between the responsibilities I have towards my own family. I read while waiting for the children to finish their swimming lesson. I read while on the bus to work. I read while waiting at a dental or doctor’s office. I snatch time in between household chores; or during my lunch hour. Even now I still enjoy a good read, and an author to take me to new places.
For Mother’s Day, I received a perfect gift from my husband and girls: an iPad mini. My husband decided on this, as opposed to an eReader, so that I could access the internet when I am away from my computer in addition t reading. I have not done much surfing on the internet using my iPad, but I have experienced reading a book electronically. Once I had downloaded the necessary App and figured out how to borrow a book from my local library, I began reading and enjoying the thrill of the eBook.
And what an experience it has been. A quick flick of the finger, and I am on the next page. Pages are easily bookmarked so when I open the App, I am on the page I was busy reading. In addition, my iPad is a lot lighter than a physical book – and takes up a lot less space in my purse or bag. In the time since I have received this gift, not only have I been absorbed by the story I am reading, but also by the experience of reading a book I have borrowed online. All of my browsing and choosing has been done in the comfort of my home sitting on the sofa.
Reading from the iPad does take a little getting used to. Shining lights do reflect on the screen at times requiring me to tilt the gadget a little. Often the pages switch landscape if I tilt the tablet a little too much, making me aware of the way in which I hold whatever it is I am reading. But I am enjoying the lightness, and the ease with which I can read in this format. Will I forgo the physical feel and scent of a real book? I do not think so. There are be certain books I will still want to be able to flip backwards and forwards while I am reading (I am thinking in particular of non-fiction books). However, I am easily converted to reading fiction on my electronic device.
Have you switched to reading books electronically?
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013