This is why you should get a Kindle if you don’t read.
Just like productivity resonating with me, so does the idea of reading. I like the appearance of it when someone is head down, engrossed and oblivious to the world around them. I like the fact that it is portable and can be done anywhere, on the beach, in the bath, in bed or on the toilet if you so desire. I like the perceived intelligence, the demeanour and the aura that reading emanates, no matter how much of a load of shit that may be. I love the smell of books with their clean, crisp, crinkle-free pages. I even like the bloody book shops you find them in, with their relaxed atmospheres and book-worm clientele. So why then have I not bothered to read for the majority of my 30-year existence? Some of those years are easily accounted for, like when I was a baby or when I am sleeping, driving, working or washing up but there is still a large portion of my life that I could have dedicated to reading and I didn’t. This post is a bit about my journey and how picking up a Kindle sparked life into my current reading habit.
Why didn’t I read?
I think before I had bought my Kindle you could have counted the number of books I’d read on one hand, maybe two, but you would have had fingers to spare. This lack of reading didn’t come about through a lack of trying per se, I can think of several occasions where I had made a conscious effort to get stuck into a book but for one reason or another it never really worked out, be that due to lack of interest, laziness or more enticing and less strenuous ventures, such as gaming, TV or eating.
Again, I don’t believe I am alone with this and so I have pooled together some of my vices towards reading and how having a kindle has helped alleviate them.
Lack of interest
Exactly why I had a lack of interest in reading is hard to say, as there was clearly a desire to do so, it just never really manifested into anything. However, I do believe the biggest contributor to this lack of interest all stemmed from past books, stories, articles and magazines that I had read. Read they were indeed but not out of interest, curiosity or amazement but more because I felt it was the right thing to do or told it was the right thing to do.
Most people who wanted me to read, mainly my mum in the early days and my girlfriend latterly, always suggested fiction to try and get me hooked. I can only presume this is because that is what they prefer to read. This always ended up in unfinished books and I now know that I prefer to read more non-fiction, biographies and autobiographies. These books offer something that I feel I can learn from, which I enjoy, and I don’t just say that to be one of those stuck up arse-wipes who believes that they are better than others because of what they read. To hell with those people. I say it merely because it is true, I enjoy learning and gaining from others experiences in all aspects of life, not just through the medium of text and I believe you should read what you damn well please. That being said, I am not opposed to fiction, another habit I have recently got into is audiobooks and most of those are fiction and fantastical stories.
Why a Kindle?
The sheer content available on a Kindle and the ease at which it is accessible really does allow you to explore and find out what you are interested in reading. Sure, a book store has this to some extent and there are people there to ask for advice, but as I have found out, their advice will be biased to their reading habits, not yours. You have to find out what you like and this is done by you and you alone.
Kindle has a brilliant option that allows you to download a sample of the book first. This sample contains the first 10% of the book and within that time you can get an understanding of whether the style, content and pace of it is right for you. The best bit is there is no limit to the number of samples you can download, so you can flip and flop between books until your heart is content. All of this without having to get dressed or leave your sofa. Now you can’t do that in a book shop without getting kicked out, can you?
Sizes of books
This is an odd one and could be unique to me. I was and still am, to some degree, put off by large books. That visual indication of how much you have left to go is off-putting and therefore I would have never picked up a book thicker than my thumb. This most likely stems from force reading books I wasn’t interested in. When something is a chore, you start clock watching and when you’re watching the clock that is when the time goes slowest. We have all experienced this, most likely in our working lives when there is nothing to do and you are bored. The plethora of pages yet to read was my clock and the finish line always seemed unachievable.
Why a Kindle?
Kindles don’t change size. I am talking in the physical sense here, as yes, the size of memory can be altered and the text can be larger or smaller but the boundaries that define the device remain the same. No matter how long or short the story, your Kindle isn’t changing a dot. I love this.
I believe by default your kindle will provide you with a percentage on every page, this indicates how far through the book you are but can be switched off in the settings if this gives you the same anxiety of a chunky book. It doesn’t bother me but maybe that is now because I am enjoying what I read.
Although I have never been tested, I do believe I sit somewhere along the dyslexic spectrum. If it is indeed a spectrum? I’m sure it is as I don’t believe it can be that binary. The misreading of words and the re-reading of pages is something I am all too familiar with and my spelling? Well, I have and still am a good source of mild entertainment amongst my friends and family. Now and then it creeps in and I draw a blank when trying to remember the simplest of words like how, what and where. I even managed to misspell my name in a birthday card once but I may have to put that one down to lack of concentration. What I’m getting at is that the misreading of words throws you off tempo and adds an element of confusion to reading that most don’t often have to contend with. You may read the odd word incorrectly here and there but when it happens at least once a page it saps the energy and throws you off your groove.
Why a Kindle?
Kindle gives you the option to change the font for your books. The device comes with several to choose from and you can even install your own I believe. Within the default array though, is a font called “OpenDyslexic” and it is specifically designed for people with dyslexia. It has wider spacing between words and the letters are weighted towards the bottom which can help differentiate between similar letters
Kindle has a dark mode which inverts the standard colours, meaning that the background is black and the text is white. This is not something I use unless reading in the dark, as it is easier on the eyes, but I have heard that some people with dyslexia find the contrast easier to manage.
I wholeheartedly suggest you look into getting a Kindle if you bear any of the same grudges towards reading as I did, or you suffer from any of the same ailments. It has been one of my favourite purchases over the last few years and It has opened up a whole new habit for me. I frequently find myself reading most days and my Kindle streak is on its way up.
Amazon often has a great returns policy of about 28 days for pretty much anything you purchase and this is true for Kindle. I suggest getting one, grabbing a few samples for free and seeing if it is a good fit for you. If it’s not, then just send it back before the deadline.
If you’re not bored yet
Below are a few other tips and insights I have liked about using my Kindle that I think could be of use to others.
Kindle Paperwhite - Great for reading in the sunshine and it has an amazing battery life that lasts me weeks without charging. I went for the 8Gb as I can't see my book collection ever getting large enough and I don’t use it for my audiobooks.
Every Kindle can highlight text. Just like you would on a real page with a highlighter, this will mark out a passage and save it for you. It’s saved both in the book and separately on the cloud. I like to highlight key points of a book or parts that resonate with me. Using the Kindle Cloud Reader I can then go back over these in my own time to reconnect with the books I have read, without having to re-read the entire thing.
Keep a list of new books
One habit I have found that helps to keep me reading is making sure I always have something to read next. Doing this ensures I can stay in practice and not have an extended period, literature free. I use Notion to keep track of the books I want to read but you could just write them down somewhere. It doesn’t matter how, just having it will ensure you don’t forget any of them.
Something that annoys me with Kindle, is that unless you are willing to pay more, they come with adverts on them. So I suggest you do what I did, save the money and buy the Kindle with adverts... Then, when your kindle arrives, message amazon support and complain at the fact the Kindle you bought for your child ( real or not - mine was not ) is plagued with adverts and you find it morally incorrect that you should have to pay to remove those adverts on a piece of equipment that you purchased and is rightfully yours. Or words to that effect. The support team should go ahead and remove the ads for you for free. They did it for me on the first go but it could be down to the caseworker, so if they refuse, just keep logging support tickets until you get a person who doesn’t like working for Jeff Bezos.