As a child, between the ages of eight and ten years old, I devoured books. I have a natural love of learning, and the reading program introduced at my elementary school really stirred this. We were treated to weekly visits to the public library, and our parents were given the opportunity to purchase in bulk from Scholastic books. The rich and imaginative world of literature opened up to me as I read classic children’s novels such as ‘Veronica the Showoff’ and ‘The House on the Hill’ and every Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mystery novel I could get my little fingers on. I read Agatha Christie, and fell in love with Monsieur Hercule Poirot – detective magnifique! I also kept long lists of the books I’d read, and wrote book reports about my favorites in my journal. I was even selected winner of a book report competition I entered and had the chance to read one of my reviews on the radio.
In my early teens, my insatiable appetite for books seemed to be diminishing. In high school, most of my friends had their noses buried in the Sweet Valley High series and serial romance novels. To me, these seemed like a waste of time, and I only ever managed to get through one of them. My love affair with books had come to an abrupt end.
Throughout my twenties, I read only while on vacation, between jobs or during other periods down time or transition. I had several bookshelves lined with books – most of which I actually did start reading, but never quite got around to finishing.
Fast forward to April 2009. Now in my mid-thirties, I received the gift of a sparkling new iPhone, a white one. Delighted, I quickly learned the truth that belied the catch-phrase “there’s an app for that”. It turns out there was an app to fix my twenty-year reading slump. Using the Kindle app, which I downloaded for free, I could buy and read the titles I wanted, whenever I wanted with just a motion of my finger on a sleek touchscreen. What a relief it was to no longer be at the mercy of the narrow offerings at the local bookstore. No more did I have to wait weeks for international shipping to the Caribbean.
With my iPhone with me all the time, it became so easy to read in my spare moments. I took to reading in all while walking my dog, Frisky, early every morning. As strange as it may sound, reading while walking my dog was not much of a challenge. As you can see, Frisky is a little terrier, with very short legs. At fifteen years old, she is content to walk quite slowly, pausing to sniff at blades of grass, rocks or most anything that takes her fancy – every few paces.
When the new iPad was released, reading became even more of a pleasure.
Last year, on August 21, 2010, I added the most powerful weapon to my new arsenal – audible.com. Using Audible, I could now purchase audio books and devour them while driving, washing the dishes or getting ready for bed. Suddenly, the morning and evening commute moved from being largely an exercise in frustration, to real “me time” I could look forward to.
With these new gifts of technology at my disposal, I decided that it was time to catch up on the twenty years of reading I had missed. Even with the demanding job of running a company, I set myself a goal of reading 50 books in the course of the coming twelve months. I committed to reading about one book per week, no excuses.
It’s July, and I’ve surpassed my goal. I’ve consumed 77 books in less than a year. Some of them I have read using the Kindle app on my iPod touch or iPad, and some I have listened to via audible, but none of them has been made of paper. Thank you, Steve Jobs!
End note: If you love reading, but think you’re too busy to do it, now is the time to log on to www.audible.com and become a member. With a monthly subscription, Audible will deliver a minimum of one book credit per month. You will have the flexibility of being able to download and listen to your books on your laptop, blackberry, iPhone, iPad and a range of other platforms. You won’t regret it!