who/what/where/why/how to read

Last year, I bought a Kobo.

This was not a small thing for me, since I most of my undergraduate degree mocking eReaders. The first effect I noticed was that I read way more on the Kobo. I’m not sure if my eyes are now so used to screens that it’s more comfortable or if it has to do with the fact that eReaders hide how long the book is. I’m thinking that it’s the latter.

I don’t read a lot on the Kobo but I feel this has more to do with time than the device itself (the few moments I get to read for leisure are full of magazine articles and poetry, all of it bite size). For me, the Kobo is a useful platform because it is always a pocket size book.

Generally, I do find it easier to read on screens, especially when reading articles. I will always finish a New Yorker article on my phone but the print copies gather dust. The smaller the screen, the more likely an article will be read. However, as soon as I know I have to retain information, I have to print the article out. For me, the purpose of reading will determine the medium. If I want to retain information or index it for future use, it has to be spatial and on paper.

Electronic reading has changed the way that I purchase books. I always loved book design but had to purchase cheap editions since the English language collections at my local libraries in Quebec consisted mainly of Stephen King and Anne Rice (which got me through high school). Once I moved to Toronto, met TPL, and eBooks, I began purchasing books whose design was as compelling as the story. In some ways, electronic reading (and a huge public library system) has allowed me to focus my attention on physical books in ways that I couldn’t afford to do before.


Author: Jelena Stankovic

aspiring librarian.

One thought on “who/what/where/why/how to read”

  1. Jelena,

    I laughed out loud about your comment that e-readers hide how long a book is, as I can really relate to this sentiment. I don’t read e-books, but I can certainly attest that for my entire time in post-secondary education, I have found it a serious struggle to sit down and read for pleasure, mostly because I am aware of how long the book is, and thus, how long it will take me to finish it, reading in 15 minute ‘chunks’. This makes me think again of how much physical and spatial reckoning impacts our reading experience – my eyes can take in spaces and the configuration of paragraphs on a page and help me navigate, and my hands and fingers help me to stay aware of where exactly I ‘am’ in a book – how far between the beginning and the end. All of this colours how I read in ways that I don’t find translate into digital reading experiences. I also love your expression of ‘bite sized’ reading, as this is also something I can relate to. Reading for long periods of time right now seems like a luxury, and something that my brain just cannot relax into. This makes me a bit concerned for my attention span, as I have become used to consuming information quickly and exactly as you say, in small bites, throughout each day. One of my goals once school is over is to retrain my reading mind and learn to settle into a book again.

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