Wednesday, February 3, 2016

How I Messed Up My Travel Reading (and some Kindle Love)


I was so excited about our trip over the holidays because 1.) no kids and 2.) lots of time on planes and trains and buses is basically the perfect recipe for packing the reading time in. Honestly, I put more prep hours into reading material than I did into actually packing for the trip. Priorities, people.

First, I got a Kindle for my birthday, because I was in serious need of an e-reader upgrade and because I knew we would be back-packing on this trip and space for physical books would be limited. A good e-reader is worth it's weight in gold in this situation.

However, I know that I have a tendency toward motion sickness if I read in moving vehicles (a lingering gift from my two pregnancies, as I never had this problem before), so I also stacked up my audio book downloads as an alternative source of reading material for all that precious time on the bus (we had many, many hours of bus riding on this trip).

In other preparations for the trip, and in thinking about how to minimize the stuff we took, we decided not to take my phone with us because a.) my husband has an international plan from work and I don't, so we only needed his phone anyway, and b.) my phone has the white noise and lullaby soundtracks our boys listen to at bedtime, so it made sense to leave my phone behind with my parents to maintain sanity.

Perhaps you've noticed the major disconnect between those last two paragraphs. If you did put two and two together, congratulations, because I didn't realize until we were just about to leave for the airport, that I was LEAVING MY PHONE BEHIND, the very phone that contained all the audio books I planned to listen to while on the trip. And I had no back up device, no mp3 player, no ipod, nothing else. There was my husband's phone, but I was out of time to try and re-download everything. Plus, sharing a phone like that is not a recipe for marital harmony. I seriously considered just grabbing my phone on the way out, because after all, it would be my parents dealing with the bedtime routine fallout and not me. But instead I decided that I still had the Kindle, and maybe I wouldn't be bothered by motion sickness if I was reading on a screen instead of a printed page.

Hahahahaha. Yeah. No.

I read for about five minutes on our first bus ride, and spent the rest of the two hour trip with my eyes closed consciously telling my stomach that it did not need to throw-up.

Luckily, I was still able to read on airplanes (I guess the motion is smooth enough there that my stomach doesn't register it), but our two longest flights were over-nighters where I tried to sleep, because I actually do value sleep over books. And there was a little bit of downtime occasionally at hotels where I was able to sneak in some reading, so in the end I did finish at least one book on the trip (The Sparrow). But my heart still aches for the hours and hours of wasted reading time caused by poor planning and a fickle stomach.

You can rest assured I will not be making this mistake again.

In other news, would you like to know how I feel about my Kindle?

Well, I don't think e-reading will completely replace physical paper-book reading for me any time soon, but I must say the Kindle is pretty slick. The reading experience is quite flawless as long as you don't need to flip back and forth between pages and skip around. I have the basic Kindle model, so no back-light or fancy color or anything, but I don't mind that at all. It feels just like reading a regular book, and the battery lasts forever. I still haven't quite figured out how the Kindle lending library works (it doesn't seem to be easily searchable, but then again, I am technologically inept), but now that I know how to load library e-books on my device, I'm pretty much set.

I will say, having a Kindle has upset my book buying policy a little bit. I've found myself "purchasing" quite a few e-books over the past few months that I would never, ever consider buying in paper form because the Kindle doesn't feel like it counts. These e-books take up no physical space on my shelves, and darn it, there are just so many of those free deals all the time. I made the mistake of subscribing to Bookbub, which alerts me daily to all the wonderful Kindle deals out there, and when a book is free and has some descent reviews I just can't seem to help myself. So that's a bit of a problem. I'll have to work on it.

But yes, I'm quite enjoying having a Kindle. Now for this semester to end, so I can actually get around to reading all these e-books.

What are your travel-reading strategies? Do you use an e-reader? Any tips or tricks to share?

P.S. Don't forget, Episode 3 of The Book Blab will be this Friday, February 5th at 10:30 AM Central. See you then!

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