I do not remember a time in my life when I did not read. My life has been filled with books. I loved buying new books, but I also loved library books or getting a bargain with a used book. Books were books, to me. In school, we had Scholastic Books which were these wonderful paperbacks that we bought and were then delivered to our classroom. I would have my stack of books on the desk and could not wait to take them home. The biggest decision I had to make was what book was I going to read first. They felt slick and cool to the touch and they smelled brand new.

One of the first “chapter books” that I read was the Bobbsey Twins series. I was so hooked on those books, that I would negotiate a little extra time to read before the lights had to go out. When I was about to nod off, I would slide the Bobbsey Twins underneath my pillow and when I woke in the morning, my hand would take out the book before I even got out of bed. Books were a presence for me and I guess that even at bedtime, I did not want to let them go.

Library books were usually hard cover and the pages were worn and soft. Inside you had the pocket with the card of names of previous readers. In middle school and high school, I always had a book with me or in my locker. As much as I was a talker and had lots of friends at school, I was always  prepared for a few free minutes when I could read a page or two. Books were a reward to me, they were a constant that never let me down.

Fast forward to my life as a librarian. One of the greatest benefits of being a librarian is having quick access to books. I was completely spoiled. I was able to read a book as soon as it was published. The books were cracked open by me and it was a joy to not only to read a brand new book, but then to pass it on to the next reader.

I no longer have that luxury, as my life has dramatically changed. The challenge that I now have is that I am living in The Netherlands and it takes time for many American books to come here. The Utrecht library is wonderful and they have been so welcoming towards me and mindful of my needs and many others who live in this area. But for me, it was still frustrating to wait to read a “hot new” book many months after it was published.

So I decided to go where so many of my friends have already gone and get an ereader. I never thought I would do this but the reality of my life demanded some action. I viewed this leap into technology as a supplement to books. I was going to use the e reader for the brand new books that I really had to read right away, but I would still read books the old fashioned way. That was my goal and I think it is what I will end up doing.

I purchased a Kobo Glo and it is a welcome addition to our family. It is easy to handle, weighs only 6 ounces and has a built in light that allows you to read in complete darkness. I am surprised at how I easily adapted to this thing and surprised that I liked using it.

The first book that I read on the Kobo is THE ROUND HOUSE by Louise Erdrich. A novel that got wide praise and that I had been wanting to read for quite a while.  It is a fabulous novel and Erdrich proves once again that she is one of the best writers around.  The story is about a 13 year old boy whose mother has been attacked and how he not only deals with this horrible situation, but how he tries to solve “the case”.  I urge you to put this on your reading list, you won’t be disappointed.

One of the best features of an  ereader is that you can adjust the size of print and that is very handy for me. I have noticed that in the last few years, books are getting smaller print and I have to hold the book farther away from my face. Have you noticed this too? Once I finished the ereader, I went right to my next book and this was actually a book, not an ereader. How strange it was to hold a hard cover book…I confess that I really missed that light. But it was also like greeting an old friend and I was back to my comfort zone, with a book in my hand. Now, in my life, there is a place for both: a book and the Kobo.

Our children are so happy for me, to have dipped my toe into modern times. But even they say that it is weird for them to see me holding the Kobo and not a book. Today, I will look more like my old self with a book in my hand. It is a library book, hardcover and published in 2002. The pages are yellowed and very soft and there are library labels on the outside. There is no built in light, but that is okay. I was smiling as I turned to the first page. A new story begins…

Recommended reading: I have just started this book but it sucked me in right away. So far, I love it.  IN THE CASTLE OF THE FLYNNS by Michael Raleigh.

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  • Aledys Ver  On January 25, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    WElcome to the 21st century! Viewing the ereader as a supplement for books has worked for me so far, but I guess it’s sth that will be less of an issue with your children – they probably won’t miss holding an actual book in their hands so much as we do.
    I read a lot of books on my ereader but then, coming back to the good old paper ones, makes the experience even more delightful – don’t you think?

  • Karen  On January 25, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    I just picked up The Round House yesterday at the library!!

  • Jean Langley  On January 26, 2013 at 5:09 am

    I’d been thinking an e-reader would be a good solution for that publishing lag-time, Jane. Glad it’s working out. My nephew and his fiance are in Singapore but they are unable to download titles there onto their Kindles. Don’t know how common this problem is. There’s certainly good Internet access.
    Coincidentally I was looking at Nooks today. Definitely like the idea of a back lit option for when I’m sharing a room with someone while traveling. Would be good in a tent!

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