I’ve been reading on my phone a lot lately. Not just to sneak in pages here and there at work, no. I find myself hugged up on the couch with my phone in hand. Reading. When I have a perfectly good iPad Mini at my feet.
I started doing this a few months ago when I was in a restaurant with my mom, waiting on whatever she was picking up while she chatted away with the people who work there. I wanted to read to pass the time and all I had on me was my phone. So I downloaded the eBook I was reading at the time to my Kindle App and VOILA, freaking book on my phone.
Revolutionary, right? I’ve had the app on my phone for years, but I’ve never actually read anything on it. I thought it would be weird. I thought the words would be too small. But they aren’t any smaller, there are just less on the page, which somehow makes me read faster. Probably because it’s more cumbersome to flip back to page 15 (which could be 3 iPhone pages) to double check a fact when I’m on page 193.2.
In any case, it’s just fun. And somehow, it’s helped me realize something.
Last year, I had a lot of trouble getting into some of the books on my pile of unread stuff. I blamed it mostly on myself: I’m distracted, I’m tired, I’m stressed, whatever.
But now I can see. When a book is really good, you can read it at a high school football game when you’re sitting two feet away from the band and not even notice that you’re in perhaps the most noisy place on earth.
Seriously, folks, I was starting to think something was wrong with me. But when something is really good, it doesn’t matter how distracted or stressed or tired I am. Even if I’m half picking a book apart, if I’m having a good time, I will keep reading, and I will even eventually forget to pick things apart and just enjoy the ride.
Now, granted, I’m not going to even play at pulling apart Stephen King’s work. He’s been writing longer than I’ve been alive, and this particular collection was published when I was like, five years old. I’m not qualified.
But it reminded me of some of the amazing books I read last year…the ones I was actually able to read despite being “too distracted, tired, and stressed.” I read and finished them because I was having a good time.
Last fall, I tried to read a science fiction book and I abandoned it because I just had no idea what was going on and wasn’t in the mood. I couldn’t tell if I was on planet earth or somewhere else or in the future. I HATE it when something crazy happens before I know where I am and who I’m following around. That’s really unappealing. Plus, I feel like I started the book a chapter or three late. Just, no.
Quite frankly, the writer in me is just going to judge books harder. I can’t shut it off, and really, I shouldn’t shut it off, it makes me a better writer. But that said, I still don’t want to read someone’s third grade gremlin project. I want to know I’m in good hands. I want books that make me want to do better and show me how it’s done. Books so great I’ll forget I’m a writer only to be reminded when the amazingness of the novel slams me over the head with its amazingness and makes me think, “I SO WISH I COULD WRITE LIKE THIS!!”
Or at the very least, “I AM SO IN LOVE WITH THIS SCENE!!”
For example, something simple, Stephen King uses all these descriptive terms that literally blow my mind. I’m reading along and I’ll suddenly stop and think, “I would never think to describe something like that.” The picture is just painted so perfectly I can’t but get all wrapped up in the world.
It’s amazing. It’s really amazing.
Those little details…
Even if it’s something I barely even notice. I’m also reading an anthology of short works by some YA authors I like, and something will happen…perhaps a snippet of something so visceral it just stops everything. It stops time. And I have a moment. Maybe a crazy moment where I think I’m a hack because I’ve never done anything that amazing. But it’s just that kind of deep, amazing atmospheric something that makes me want to push myself a little bit harder. And love that author just little bit more. And want to read just a little bit longer.
Until my hand starts to cramp because I’m holding my phone weird and thus have to stop to readjust my grip. Or grab my iPad.
For the record, that is an actual screen shot up there taken off of my phone and overlayed on a stock image. So freaking impressive, right? ^_^