Thursday, December 22, 2011

The New World of Books

This blog isn't going to get very popular until it is a source for more frequent postings. That will be possible in the near future, but now it is part of this learning experience that all bloggers go through, some faster than others.

When I was a freshman in high school, there was an introductory class required of all new freshmen. I think it was about learning how to cope with high school. In my immature mind it was a waste of time so for this attitude I was taken out of the class and put into a new experimental class teaching speed reading. I loved this class as it was a challenge and results were shown almost daily. The readings while we learned new techniques were usually from the Reader's Digest and we were timed and then tested for comprehension. I remember my speeds got up into the thousands of words per minute with over 90% comprehension. This probably began my love of reading. It may have been coupled by the English teacher requiring the memorization of a poem. I memorized The Raven by Poe and can still quote parts of it.

After marriage, my wife noted a stack of books that eventually would live on the end table next to the bed. Usually 3 to 8 books would be there, all of which I was reading. She commented more than once over this habit as often I would wake her up with some new observation or fact from one of the books. One year I decided to discover how many books I actually read for that year and it was 72. When you read enough, it is possible to read some material much more quickly than more complicated stuff. Also, you begin to make judgements about the authors and their writing approaches. It also instills the desire to try writing on your own. 

In 2007 I was waiting in a Doctor's office, (Isn't that what you are there for, the wait? Don't they call it the "waiting room?") when I noticed an article about the Amazon Kindle in Time magazine. I read it twice before I was invited in. By that evening I had ordered the Kindle for $399! I've never looked back. We had custom made bookshelves made by a son-in-law that were filled with books, most of which I had read. I used to discard fiction books unless I thought they had a purpose later on. I had read many of the Louis L'Amour books in paperback and collected them so that I wouldn't buy that one again, but one day my wife decided they were taking up too much space on the shelves so she contributed them to a library. Oh well, they are light reading and always entertaining if you are as familiar with the Southwest as I am.

The Kindle was huge in my life. I could hear about a book and within a few minutes it was there to begin reading. I told many people about it but most were put off by the price even though the books were less expensive. Many would get excited but then say something like; "I love to hold the books in my hands." or "I like the feel and smell of a new book." Now the book world has changed, especially for those who like to read a lot. We now have two Kindles and I have the Kindle app on my MacBook Pro. It is wonderful. Unfortunately the first Kindle has died and so another is in my future soon. My wife took over the second one.

Now, another part of this story. Lots of us think we would like to write a book. I think many try and start one, I know I have. My Mom wants me to write one. When you would read about the difficulty and percentage of actually getting published it was daunting. Now you can write, get a little non-publisher help online and post a book on Amazon then get paid for selling the books. It can be done quickly and done to the highest standards. You can also have paper copies of it made for purchase on demand on Amazon and other ebook sites. So, being retired and seeing all of this develop over the past few years, that is the incentive to go forward with a book. Even the software to help you do this is available and affordable. With the cost of an ereader like the Kindle well under $100 now more and more people will have one. By the way, now with a Kindle you have something better to do in the "waiting room."

I have now begun this new trail into the world of becoming an author. One brother has already become one and done well. I now declare that in only my spare time over the last month I have written 12,000 words of my target novel of about 100,000 words and it has been fun.