Books,  Inspiration,  Writing World

Hey! There’s A Book Inside My Phone!

excerpt from Stephen King’s “The Langoliers” from the FOUR PAST MIDNIGHT Collection of Novellas 🙂

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? ^_^


  • Crystal Collier

    Awesome. I LOVE those magic moments that really suck you in. I came to the point not too long ago where I’d quit a book if it just didn’t grab me. Best. Decision. Ever. Still, I don’t know how you can read on your phone. Maybe I’m just getting old, but the eye strain kills me. I got a Kindle Paperwhite, and I’m in love with ereading. Seriously. Nothing better than having 60+ books that feel like books in the palm of the hand. =)

    I know what you mean though. Sometimes you do come across a passage that just totally hits you at a base level. Snippets of truth that resonate with the soul. Not much better.

    • krystal jane

      I finally made that decision last year, too. I still wish I could read them, but it’s really not worth it.

      You know, I thought it would be a strain to the eyes, but it’s actually really comfortable, surprisingly.

  • Randi Lee (@lee_randi)

    Hey lady! I’m right there with you. For a while, it felt like there was something wrong with me because I just couldn’t finish a book. Then I read a couple of books that sucked me in so deeply I realized it wasn’t me, it was the fact that I just wasn’t enjoying what I was reading. Glad you realized it isn’t you!

  • Michelle A (@SunflowerRei)

    I tried reading on my phone, but I’m nearsighted and blind as a bat, so phone reading was not going well.

    And you know, I got so sucked into the Outlander books that when I finished book 8 in January, I couldn’t get into the two books I started after. Last year, I would’ve just read them whether I was into them or not, but this year…not so much.

    • krystal jane

      I wear contacts, but I’m half blind and astigmatic, and I don’t like bright lights in my face, so I’m surprised it hasn’t been a problem, it’s like reading on my iPad.

      It makes such a big difference reading something amazing, doesn’t it?! There’s just no reason to spend all that time anymore forcing myself through something I don’t like. I’m just going to follow the awesome.

  • Karla

    Lol. I had the kindle app on my phone that got stolen. Haven’t gotten to getting it on my new one.
    I do have the very basic kindle. It does the job, though sometimes I wish I had the one with the light in the background.
    I read both ways, really, physical book and e-book. Do I have a preference? Well, I like writing notes and underlining and so on, so prefer a physical when reading self-help books.

    • krystal jane

      I’ll read just about any which way, as well. I prefer non-fiction in physical form, too, but I do like how easy it is to highlight something in an eBook.

      If you do a lot of things on your phone, you might like it. 🙂 I had the original Nook back when it came out and loved it to death. A lighted background would have been awesome, but I did have a separate little book light for it. ^_^

  • Jodi

    I was one of those die-hards that was determined to never read from an eBook. A real book needed to have texture and weight and pages. Then my husband got me a Kindle Paperwhite and I’ve never looked back. He laughs because now when I try to read a physical paperback, I complain that it’s too cumbersome and heavy, and I end up reading it off my Kindle. My phone is like my travel-sized Kindle. I still prefer my Paperwhite, but my phone is perfect for when I’m stuck at a doctor’s office or whatever. I’m astigmatic too, but I just adjust the font to make it BIG (I probably burn hundreds of calories simply swiping my screen).

    I agree–an amazing book or scene can be read anywhere and on anything!

    • krystal jane

      Yay, astigmatism buddies. (boo) Lol!

      I was totally like that about ebooks, too! But they really can’t be beat when you’re traveling. I have a tendency to want to prop my books on stuff when I read, and it’s clearly a lot easier to do that with a device. Plus there’s the whole being able to hold the “book” AND turn the page at the same time. ^_^ I sold my ereader for my iPad fund a few years ago. Lol! If I didn’t think it was ridiculous to have both I most totally would!

  • Tonja Drecker

    I’ve been trying to convince my daughter to start reading from her phone, but she complains it’s too small. I hate to admit it (I’m a proclaimed paper lover), but I’ve learned to love my Kindle. Most writers give out their books only as ebooks, so I had to give in.
    As to reading itself – ugh! Being a writer definitely changes the view on things. Grammar/word errors drive me crazy! Seriously, editors, why don’t you catch those??? I’m often amazed with how ‘good’ writers so easily draw the reader into their worlds or characters, and how they twist the plot in a perfect way. It’s humbling, but one of the best ways to learn our craft.

    • krystal jane

      Definitely, definitely!! I have learned so much from Stephen King’s anthology already. Makes me really eager to go out and more amazing reads.

      I thought it would be strange to read on my phone, but I guess I just kind of fell into it because it was convenient. I didn’t even noticed I had been reading on my phone until after I had been doing it for several weeks!

    • krystal jane

      I’d been meaning to read Stephen King for a while. I’m a huge fan of movies based off his work, so it’s about time I read something! The one thing I haven’t tried though is reading a book on my computer. It’s not very appealing. Lol!

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