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Getting Back into Reading

Here's a narrative on how I got back into reading, after years of inactivity. (Spoiler: It's about the Kindle.)
Written: Aug 19, 2021

I used to be the type of person that can finish a book in a weekend. Or, if I really like it, in one seating! That was years ago. I always felt like I didn't have any time to read for leisure in university, and when work came around, I was "too busy". On average, you can finish a book in ~5 hours. Instead of reading, I'll binge watch an entire series in 10 hours. I just didn't put in time to read.

I've made it a goal this 2021 to get back into reading, no more excuses. I bought a Kindle (Kindle Paperwhite 10th Generation, to be exact) in April of this year to reduce the friction. I'm just at home most of the time due to the pandemic, so why not?

So far, so good! I've read 6 books in a span of 4 months, 6 more books than I've read in 7 years! (cause I haven't finished any 🙈)

My Kindle

Let's be honest, this post is just to justify my Kindle purchase. And maybe a nudge for you to buy your own!

Physical vs Digital Books

"But a Kindle isn't a real book!!!!!" - that's what I said. I didn't want to buy an e-book reader for this reason. Oh, how wrong I was.

It doesn't matter how you read a book. What matters more is why. You read to transport yourself to a new world and to gain knowledge on a certain subject matter. You can do that with an e-book, audio books, or with a physical book. Any works!

Advantages of a Kindle

Portability

A Kindle is lightweight and thin. It can easily fit into any bag. I don't run the risk of ruining the edges, or accidentally spilling it with liquids like a physical book. It's easy to carry without needing to take extra care of it. It's just a little wider than a regular phone. For comparison, here it is with my iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Kindle vs iPhone

Appearance

Dark Mode

These days, I normally read right before I sleep. It's good for avoiding my phone at night. It's easy to switch to Dark Mode with a single button. Although, I wish there was a functionality that can automatically change it depending on the time of day. Do note that not all kindles have dark mode.

The Kindle Oasis, a more premium version, actually has a setting for warmth, to control blue light, but that's way above my budget.

Dark mode in settings
Dark mode in action

Customization

There are a ton of options for changing the appearance when reading—fonts, margins, line spacing, orientation. I'm quite a slow reader, so when I saw a tip on Tiktok for reading a bit faster, I changed my default settings to be larger and narrower. (See below.)

Options for changing font family, weight, and size
Options for changing orientation, margins, and spacing
Other options

I also like to change the font depending on what I'm reading. A sans-serif font for non-fiction and a serif font for fiction. Just ~ vibes ~

Integration

Look up

Highlighting a word or a phrase let's you learn more about it through the dictionary, Wikipedia, or translation.

Dictionary 2
Wikipedia
Translation

Kindle even has an X-ray feature which lets you quickly look up people and terms. I found it particularly useful when reading about Greek Myth. All those places, gods, and goddesses!!

Goodreads

Whenever you start a book, it automatically gives you the option to mark the book as Currently Reading on Goodreads. As you read, you can just click on Share to post about your progress. When you finish the book, a prompt for your rating is seen, with free text to write in your review.

Share on Goodreads in Kindle
Share on Goodreads result

It's one of the apps that you can use, so you can use it to check on your Reading List, friends' progress, or a book synopsis, without going on another device.

Goodreads shelved books
Goodreads single book sample

For non-sideloaded books (i.e., books purchased directly via Amazon), your highlights and notes also sync with Goodreads, and you can choose which highlights you want to share publicly, which looks like this:

Highlights in Goodreads

Audible

Some books also come with a tie-in of the audio version to listen while reading. The Kindle only supports bluetooth devices though, no 3.5mm port to connect to.

Audible UI

Disadvantages of a Kindle

Well, it's not a physical book

You can't keep it in a bookshelf, let your friend borrow it (unless you lend them the Kindle itself) and most of all, smell it. Ahh, the smell of physical books is just chef's kiss.

Colorless

The Kindle uses an e-ink display, which means it can only show black and white colors. Grayscale. Reading any illustration-heavy book with a ton of colors wouldn't be delightful on this thing.

Book cover
Sample page with illustration

(Recommending this book for software design!)

Electronic

It's a piece of tech that you have to charge. Albeit having an amazing battery life (one charge lasts me two weeks of reading for about an hour a day), it still has its limits.

Imagine going on a long travel day and your Kindle runs out of battery in the middle of it. A physical book doesn't have a battery.


For me, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages by a mile. I've read a lot more than I ever thought I could, in a span of a few months.

And right now, I just want to travel again so I can read more in transit!

Hey, I'm Jaye. Thanks for stopping by!

Drop me a message about anything under the sun (out of this world ideas are always welcome, too!) over at jaye@jayehernandez.com.

You can also reach me via Twitter!