The Books I read in 2014

I used to love to read. < scratch that! I still love to read>

My love of reading started in high school and never really stopped. I’d always be reading a book, and when I’d finish one, I would immediately start the next in my queue. There was a used bookstore near my home, and I’d visit it monthly, to see what books I could add to my own library. First I started with mysteries like Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes, and then, inspired by Tolkien, moved onto fantasy and (given my eventual profession) science fiction.

After my children were born, my time available to read dwindled to almost nothing. I was able to finish the last couple of Harry Potter books as they came out, but aside from one or two books here or there, reading just ended up being the last thing on my list of things to accomplish, and as such, was no priority at all.

This year, inspired by Goodreads and the “challenges” the site was promoting, I decided to challenge myself to read 12 books in 12 months. Checking most of the books out of the library using the Overdrive app on my iPad mini, I not only met but exceeded that challenge and managed to read 16 books in 2014.

And here they are, starting chronologically from last January to December, the 16 books I read in 2014. Let’s hope that in 2015 I can manage to read at least that many. I will follow up in a future blog post with a few sentence summary of each one and my recommendation of whether or not I’d read them again (or suggest anyone else read them).

1. Frozen Heat (book #4 in the Nikki Heat series), by Richard Castle
2. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, by Alison Bechdel
3. Enders Game (the Ender Quintet #1), by Orson Scott Card
4. A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki
5. Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke
6. Wonder, by R. J. Palacio
7. Bud, Not Buddy, by Christopher Paul Curtis
8. Murdering my Youth: A memoir, by Cady McClain
9. Disney in Shadow (Kingdom Keepers #3), by Ridley Pearson
10. The Fault in our Stars, by John Green
11. The Splendour Falls, by Susanna Kearsley
12. A Pedigree to Die For (Melanie Travis, #1), by Laurien Berenson
13. The Silkworm (Coromon Strike #2), by Robert Galbraith
14. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
15. Will to Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg
16. Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry

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RSM: eBooks and physical books, my dream solution

I am a gadget girl. I love gadgets. I love anything that Apple makes but I also just love gadgets. I had a Palm V back when they first came out. I have a Barnes and Noble 3G + WiFi eInk nook (the version before the Touch) and have been thinking about the Nook Color even though I already have two iPads. I have the original iPhone, the original iPad, and several versions after.

Yet, I also dearly love books and the feel of paper in my hands. I will read a physical book over an electronic book if given the choice. If I am traveling, spending time waiting in a doctor’s office, etc. I appreciate the convenience of having books in my iPad (or the nook). But in the end, I want a physical book. I have more faith that the books sitting in my library will still be there in 10 years than I do in Amazon or Barnes and Noble or even the ePub format itself. For all the embracing I have done of digital technology, I still feel that digital media and digital content is fleeting and non-permanent. Books are moreso. I have books I inherited from my grandparents. I hope to pass some of my books along to my grandchildren. I don’t see the same thing happening with eBooks.

For me, eBooks are easy to carry but not archival. I use my nook to check out eBooks from the library that I want to read but don’t necessarily want to own. Books I own I reread the same way that DVDs I own are movies I want to be able to watch again and again. I guess that in the simplest terms, for me, digital content is for renting, physical content is for owning.

Reading on a friend/blogger I follow’s facebook status today, her publisher, ECW Press, has just announced that you can get a free eBook copy of any of their books when you buy the physical book. You can’t go back and get eBooks of past books you purchased, but starting today, with the proof of purchase, you get an eBook to go with your physical book. That is awesome.I love this independent publisher for doing this and I plan on supporting them like crazy now, especially since I’ve been meaning to buy Nikki’s Finding Lost series of books on the Series Lost. 🙂

I’ve been saying to anyone who will listen that Amazon should have offered free eBooks with the purchase of a physical book from the day it launched the first kindle. They easily know what books I buy. It would be simple to give me the eBook as well. I know, then they can’t change twice for the same content like they do now. The thing is, with me, they don’t. I buy either the physical book or the eBook. More often then not, I just buy the physical book.

The only eBook I bought in addition to the physical book was the Steve Jobs Biography. That one, out of respect or homage to Mr. Jobs, sits on my night stand and also in my iPad’s iBook shelf.

In the same way that I only buy Disney DVDs that include the digital copy, I’d spend an additional dollar to buy a book that came with an eBook download code. I am not sure if the industry will ever get there, but as a consumer who likes to own actual books, but who’d like to take them on travel with her in her iPad, this is a model I would love to see happen. I am not sure what barriers there are in the industry to make this happen, or even how much theft might result, but as an honest consumer, this is what I’d love to see.

Books are great. I want there to always be books.

I think eBooks and paper books can live in harmony. At least they do in my house.
RSM.