Why I Don’t DNF Books

ImageI had a conversation with one of my friends recently about why I don’t DNF books. I’m the only person I know who doesn’t so it got me thinking about my motivations for pushing through to the end. To give you an idea of how far I’ll go with this, 11 years ago when I read Moby Dick, it took me 5 months to finish it because I found it so boring that I kept taking breaks (I could really have done without the tips on spearing a whale so that its heart explodes).

I can only remember ever giving up on two books in my life – Pride and Prejudice and Great Expectations. Before all you Austen and Dickens fans get mad at me, the reason I didn’t finish them wasn’t due to the books themselves.

With Pride and Prejudice, I could appreciate the quality of the writing, but I was 17 and about to go off to university and I was so nervous and distracted that I just couldn’t get into the story and was attracted to more easy read books. Great Expectations was given as a university assignment and I was actually enjoying it, but I ended up dropping out that semester and put the book aside and never returned to it. I intend to give them both another shot at some point (it still bothers me that I left them unfinished).

I can understand why it would seem strange, even ridiculous, that I would continue to read a book if I’m not enjoying it. After all, I could be reading one of the many, many other books on my TBR list that I would probably enjoy a lot more, so why waste my time?

The thing is, I don’t see it as a waste of time. There are a few reasons for this. Image2

I, like many bibliophiles, want to be a published novelist one day, and one of the best ways to learn the craft, aside from writing as much as possible, is to read the work of others. I find that I learn as much, if not more, from reading bad writing as I do good writing. It gives me a sense of what works and what doesn’t; why some characters feel real and relatable and some don’t; how some endings are incredibly satisfying while others are a great disappointment; and many other nuances of writing.

Something I also keep in mind while I’m reading a book I’m not really enjoying is that, good or bad, finishing a novel is an achievement in itself and out of respect for the author I choose to finish the book they have worked so hard on, even if it’s not to my taste. Sure, I don’t owe them anything and if I don’t find their work entertaining then I have every right to move on to something else, but it doesn’t feel right somehow, especially considering I want to be a published author myself.

Another thing that keeps me turning the pages is the possibility that there might be a hidden gem in there somewhere, be it a brilliant line, an unexpected plot twist, or an ending that suddenly makes the rest of the book make sense. If I put a book aside before the end, I’ll always wonder what I might have missed. Maybe I won’t have missed anything, but it’s the possibility that keeps me going.

Do any of you feel the same way, or are you happy to DNF a book you’re not enjoying? I’d love to hear from you!

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The Liebster Blog Award (3)

I’ve been nominated for my third Liebster Award by the lovely Hideaway Girl. Thank you! Award Image

Many of you will be familiar with this award and since there are different variations of the rules I won’t list them here. The rules often ask for 11 facts about the blogger, but since this is the third time I’ve done this I’m afraid I’ve run out of interesting facts! If you’re curious, you can find 11 general facts about me from the first award here and 11 book related facts from the second award post here.

I’m happy to answer Hideaway Girl’s questions for me though, so here we go!

1) Why do you blog?

I started blogging originally as a way to enhance my CV (résumé) because I wanted to work in the publishing industry (which I now do – yay!) and because I wanted to connect with other book lovers. I enjoy having my own little space online where my ideas can live.

2) Who inspired you?

Since I was a little girl I have been inspired by my favourite actress Kate Mulgrew. I was lucky enough to meet her a few years ago and it was as amazing as I thought it would be. Her memoir comes out in April and I’m SO excited!

3) If you could have any pet, what would it be?

I’ve grown up with dogs all my life (we used to breed them) and my parents currently have two. Eventually I want to have one of my own, preferably a black Labrador.

4) Would you rather travel to the past or the future?

I would prefer to keep the future a mystery because if you know the path your life will take then there’s no fun in it, so I would say the past. I would love to spend some time with my Grampa who died a few years ago. He was a wonderful man and we were very close.

5) What do you regret doing the most?

I don’t like to dwell on regrets, and I’ve found that when I look back at things that I regretted or found difficult at the time, that I’m actually glad things turned out the way they did. Sometimes when you feel like you’ve taken a wrong turn in life it turns out to have been a great step forward.

6) Who is your celebrity crush?

David Boreanaz, a.k.a. Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Special Agent Seeley Booth from Bones. Such a handsome man!

7) Favourite book?

I don’t have a single favourite book but rather favourites from different genres. My favourite from the last 12 months is a tossup between The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and When She Woke by Hillary Jordan. Clicking on the links will take you through to my reviews of these books.

8) English or art?

Definitely English. I loved it in high school and even more so when I studied literature at university.

9) Lipstick or lipgloss?

I can wear either, although I don’t very much. I’m not much of a make-up fan!

10) What is your favourite quote and why?

That’s a tough one because I LOVE collecting quotes, but this is the one which came to mind when I first read this question:

“She was there, in the full vigour of her personality, battered but not diminished” – Willa Cather, from her novel My Ántonia.

When I read it I’m reminded that, even after we’ve been through difficult times and find ourselves with scars (both physical and emotional), we can still come out on the other side with the strength of our personalities intact.

I enjoyed answering those questions!

I don’t like limiting who I nominate, so if you’re reading this and you’ve never been nominated for a Liebster Award before, please consider this your nomination!

I’m a bit short on time at the moment so I’m going to use the same questions I did from my first award post. Here they are:

1) What do you enjoy most about blogging?

2) What’s the most unusual book you’ve ever read? (could be theme, format, writing style etc)

3) Was there a book series you started reading but gave up on because you lost interest?

4) What’s the worst book you’ve ever read? Why did you dislike it?

5) What’s your favourite bookshop? (could be a chain or an indie)

6) Has there ever been a book character which turned out exactly the way you imagined they would when you saw them in the film adaptation?

7) Have you ever visited a location just because it was featured in a book?

8) Do you have a particular bookmark you always use, or do you just use whatever is lying around?

9) Do you mind if the spines or pages of your paperbacks get creased, or is it important to you to keep them looking like new?

10) What’s the best library you’ve ever visited?

11) If you could spend a day in the shoes of any literary character, who would it be?

Thanks again, Hideaway Girl!

 

The Cartoon Story of Print Books vs. e-books

I don’t know about you, but I’m a little tired of reading the same arguments surrounding the printed books versus e-books debate. I’ve accepted that there are differences in opinion and I’m not really interested in trawling over old ground. Only time will decide the fate of the printed page, and in the meantime everyone who loves to read is free to do so in whatever format they choose.

After reading this article and coming across an old image I found on my laptop, I had a surge of creativity and got the idea to make this little cartoon. It’s not an argument for one side or the other; it’s just a harmless bit of fun. I wish I could take credit for the cartoon images, but they are the work of other creative minds. The words are mine, though, and I hope they make you laugh.


Once upon a time, print books ruled the roost. They were the main source of knowledge and the only way people read stories.

Tower of books

Apart from the odd bookworm attack …

Bookworm to worm regarding book: 'Are you going to finish that?'

… books were happy and content.

Happy Book

Then, one day, e-books rolled into town. They were the cool kids on the block, with their fancy features and cheaper prices. These e-books had a bit of an attitude, and reckoned they were better than the printed page.

'And here's a look at our ancient ancestor after being thrown on a door step.'

Some printed books worried that they would go the same way as CDs did when MP3 players rolled in.

Bloody book and CD

Others just felt like giving up.

'I used to be somebody. . . I used to be a contender. . .'

They started to fear a future where they wouldn’t exist anymore.

                    'Remember to charge your ebook readers overnight. Tomorrow we have reading class.'  Signing ebook

But then, something wonderful happened. Printed books began to feel the love from their readers, and started to stand up for themselves. Some even got a little sassy …

Book insults ereader

… while others just got smart.

book and ebook insults fight

They were encouraged by the support of other “out-dated” inventions.

Funny book vs. e-book picture

Eventually, print books realised that they didn’t have to be enemies with e-books. After all, they both brought joy to millions of readers across the world, so they might as well be friends.

Book and ebook holding hands

In a world full of readers, there’s enough room for both of them.

The End

 

The Chocolate Book Tag

Chocolate Picture

I was tagged by my good friend Stefani over at Caught Read Handed to do the Chocolate Book Tag. Yay! Unsurprisingly, writing this made me want chocolate, so after I post this I’ll be munching on some Terry’s Chocolate Orange segments. Yum! 🙂

Dark Chocolate: A book that covers a dark topic (abuse, domestic violence, rape, loneliness, bullying, death, etc)

The Shock of the Fall  by Nathan Filer

This is about getting inside the mind of a young man suffering from schizophrenia, who spends much of his time trying to convince those around him that his dead brother is communicating with him. It was very powerful but also quite upsetting at times.

White Chocolate: Your favourite light-hearted/humorous read

Motherhood and Hollywood: How to Get a Job Like Mine by Patricia Heaton

The autobiography of the Emmy Award-winning star of one of my favourite comedy shows, Everybody Loves Raymond. Heaton’s dry wit and shameless honesty never fail to make me laugh.

Milk Chocolate: A book that has a lot of hype that you’re dying to read

Star Trek Voyager: Acts of Contrition by Kirsten Beyer

The next in the post-TV series line of novels, this one comes out next month and I absolutely can’t wait! Beyer has done a fantastic job of taking over from Christie Golden and continuing the epic adventures of the crew of the USS Voyager, and I’m so excited to find out where she takes these awesome characters next.

Chocolate with a caramel centre: Name a book that made you feel all gooey in the middle while you were reading it

Never Have I Ever: My Life (so far) Without a Date by Katie Heaney

For anyone who just hasn’t quite mastered the whole “dating” business, this book is a great read that will make you feel great about being free and single in your twenties (if you didn’t already!) Heaney is adorably hopeless at the dating game, and her hilarious commentary on her failed attempts at finding “the one” made me feel much better about my own dismal dating record and had me smiling all the way through.

Wafer-free Kit-Kat: Name a book that surprised you lately

Stoner by John Williams

I randomly picked up this book in my local supermarket while I was waiting for a prescription, and I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. The fact that it’s set in the world of academia and the main character is an English literature professor made me relate to his personal struggles even more. There was just something about it that I loved.

Snickers: A book that you are going nuts about

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I could go on and on about how much I love this book, but it’s probably best that you just read my review of it here.

Hot Chocolate with cream and marshmallows: What book would you turn to for a comfort read?

Star Trek Voyager: Mosaic by Jeri Taylor

Yep, another Star Trek novel! My obsession knows no bounds. I wrote about this one in an earlier post about the books which mean the most to me. Suffice it to say, this book is always there for me when I need it.

Box of chocolates: What series have you read that you feel has a wide variety and a little something for everyone?

This is actually a hard one, because most of the series I read are either fantasy or sci-fi, which I know is not for everyone. Going with the idea of variety in a box of chocolates, I’ll just give the top three series which have made a lasting impression on me:

The Banned and the Banished by James Clemens

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Now over to you guys! I’m tagging all you other chocolate loving bibliophiles out there! If you fancy doing this too, leave a link in the comments so I can read it.

That was fun! Now for some chocolate …

The Liebster Blog Award

My awesome fellow blogger and friend Caught Read Handed nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award. Yay! It’s given to blogs with fewer than 300 followers to spread the word about them and hopefully increase readership of their posts.

The rules are as follows:

  • List 11 facts about yourself
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by whoever nominated you
  • Ask 11 new questions to 9 bloggers with less than 300 followers. (You can’t re-nominate the blog that nominated you)award badge picture
  • Go to their blog and tell them that they have been nominated

So, here we go!

11 facts about me:

1) I am a massive, MASSIVE Star Trek fan. I have been for almost nineteen years and I don’t think I’ll ever stop. My favourite series is Voyager, but I also love Deep Space Nine and The Next Generation. I have a soft spot for The Original Series, but I’m not too keen on Enterprise. I have issues with the re-launch Abrams films, but for the most part I love the others. In 2012 I got to go a convention in London and meet some of the actors, including Kate Mulgrew (Captain Kathryn Janeway) my absolute favourite actress, ever. It was quite possibly the best weekend I’ve ever had.

2) My health seriously sucks. It has done for the past thirteen years. My immune system didn’t read its job description properly and likes to beat the crap out of the body it’s supposed to protect. I have so much prescription medication I could open my own street side pharmacy, and my parents like to joke that they would return me to my manufacturer if only they could find the receipt. All this makes me thankful that one of my favourite hobbies is reading, which requires very little physical effort, and books help me take my mind off things and keep me company on the days when I need to stay in bed.

3) I have a bit of an obsession with the USA. My undergraduate degree was in American Studies, and most of my favourite literature comes from there. For years I wanted to visit the Grand Canyon, drive across the Golden Gate Bridge and visit the Redwood National Park. I’m delighted to say that I’ve now done all these things, and have a new list of other places in the States I really want to visit.

4) I love nature, and I’m lucky enough to live in the very scenic Scottish Borders. The only thing missing here is waterfalls, which I love, but thankfully there are others in Scotland. My favourites of the ones I’ve seen are the Grey Mare’s Tail in the Moffat Valley and the Glenashdale Falls on the Isle of Arran.

5) I have two poems published in two anthologies which were produced by the charity Poetry in Print to raise money for children with Leukaemia. Unfortunately, the charity doesn’t exist anymore, as the founders had to divert their time and resources to caring for their daughter who was fighting the disease.

6) As well as my undergrad in American Studies, I also have a Masters degree in Publishing Studies. I definitely want to get a PhD at some point too, most likely in American literature.

7) I run an online support group for the siblings of people with Autism, Aspergers Syndrome and Down’s Syndrome. It’s a private group, but if you or anyone you know would like to join, you can find it here.

8) I really, really love dogs, and I’ve lived with at least one (often three) since I was two. We used to breed them and had two litters with a total of fifteen puppies, one of which we kept. At the moment we have two black labradors, Basil and Diesel, and they’re awesome.

9) I have quite a varied work experience profile. I’ve been a shop assistant, a taxation assistant, an English tutor, an archives assistant, an admin assistant and a political intern. Some of these were short term and I worked a few at the same time. I enjoyed trying out different fields before I settled on publishing.

10) I have an oddly intense hatred of blueberries. I have nothing against anyone who likes them, and I don’t really know why I feel so strongly, but I absolutely, unequivocally, categorically HATE THEM.

11) My surname is Marjoribanks, but it’s pronounced March-banks. It’s a weird old Scottish spelling and it’s really annoying. No one EVER gets it right.

Questions from Caught Read Handed:

1) Why did you start blogging? Did you read a book that pushed you into it like I did?

I really enjoy writing so I’ve been interested in starting up a blog for a while now. What gave me the final push was my Publishing Studies degree, where my teachers encouraged us to have a blog to practice our editorial skills, express our opinions and add to our online presence to enhance our appeal to potential employers. Plus, it’s really fun, and I like having my own little space where I can write about anything I want and share it with others.

2) What’s your least favourite book-to-movie adaptation? Most favourite?

I’ve been disappointed in quite a few book-to-film adaptations, but the worst offender for me is the 2007 adaptation of I Am Legend. I love this book, and I love Will Smith, so I was really looking forward to seeing the film. Unfortunately, the powerful and thought-provoking ending provided by Richard Matheson in the book was completely turned on its head to result in a heroic act of self-sacrifice which completely missed the point of the story. I understand that adaptations don’t have to be faithful to the book they are based on, but this one still really bothers me. My most favourite adaptation(s) would probably be the Harry Potter films, although I really, really wish they had kept the final battle between Harry and Voldemort the way it was in the book. It was so much better!

3) If you could live inside any book, what would it be?

My next blog post is actually going to be about this, so I’ll leave this one for now.

4) What’s your go-to book to reread?

I enjoy rereading all my favourite books, but I think my go-to would have to be Star Trek Voyager: Mosaic by Jeri Taylor. It’s the one I typically read in the middle of the night if I’m having trouble sleeping. I’ve read it so many times that I can just pick it up and start reading from any page, or pick particular chapters depending on how I feel. It lives in the top drawer of my bedside table so I don’t have to get up to reach it.

5) What’s your most recently read favourite book?

Definitely S (Ship of Theseus) by J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst. It’s possibly the best example of metafiction I’ve ever read, which is awesome as I love that genre. As well as an engaging story (two stories, actually), interesting and relatable characters and a really cool concept, it has lots of inserts like postcards, letters and maps which add to the narrative and make it even more interesting. I loved it.

6) If you could meet any author, dead or alive, who would it be?

That’s a really tough one, but I would have to go with my favourite poet, Robert Frost. If he were alive, I would love to sit outside with him with a cup of herbal tea and chat to him about his work. I would particularly love to know what he had in mind when he wrote my favourite poem ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’. I know what it means to me, and how I’ve interpreted it, but it would be great to know what his intentions were and what it meant to him.

7) Who is your favourite book boyfriend/girlfriend?

Since I don’t have an actual real life boyfriend I’m going to be greedy and pick three fictional ones: Er’ril from The Banned and the Banished series, Gale from The Hunger Games and Eric from S (Ship of Theseus). If there’s a character out there who is a combination of all three of these guys, then I’ll have him too.

8) Where is your favourite place to read? Do you have a book nook/reading chair? Do you read in bed?

I almost always read in bed before I go to sleep; it’s like a barrier for me between the day and night and helps me get to sleep. If I’m tired and struggling to stay awake but really enjoying what I’m reading, then I’ll shut one eye and keep going. One of my favourite lazy day things to do is lounge about in bed with a good book.

9) Have you ever bought a book based on just its cover? Were you disappointed?

It’s not something I usually do, but about a year ago I bought The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry based on the cover. I’d seen it in my local bookshops several times and I kept being drawn to it, so eventually I bought it. I was really disappointed. The plot dragged on and didn’t capture my interest, the characters were more irritating than endearing and the ending was just bleh. Definitely not worth it.

10) Do you have one book that you attribute for creating your love of reading?

I honestly can’t remember a time when I didn’t love reading. There’s home movies of me from as young as 18 months flipping through books and smiling. The first one I really remember loving was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which my mum read to me as a bedtime story. The copy we had was a beautifully illustrated hardback edition and I remember really enjoying looking at the pictures as well as hearing the story.

11) Because I’m a wanderer at heart: if you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

There are many places in the USA that I still want to visit, but my dream holiday would be either to Geirangerfjord in Norway or the Lauterbrunnen Valley in Switzerland. That’s a tough question though because these countries, along with Iceland, have some of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls and valleys, so I would be delighted to visit any of them.

Now for my nominations:

Since I haven’t been in the blogging game for very long, I haven’t quite managed 9 nominations, but I really like the following blogs and I think they deserve greater recognition:

GeekOut & Smile

Literary Vittles

Misthoughts and Wonderings

Exploring Classics

Daily Poetry Fragments

My questions for you:

1) What do you enjoy most about blogging?

2) What’s the most unusual book you’ve ever read? (could be theme, format, writing style etc)

3) Was there a book series you started reading but gave up on because you lost interest?

4) What’s the worst book you’ve ever read? Why did you dislike it?

5) What’s your favourite bookshop? (could be a chain or an indie)

6) Has there ever been a book character which turned out exactly the way you imagined they would when you saw them in the film adaptation?

7) Have you ever visited a location just because it was featured in a book?

8) Do you have a particular bookmark you always use, or do you just use whatever is lying around?

9) Do you mind if the spines or pages of your paperbacks get creased, or is it important to you to keep them looking like new?

10) What’s the best library you’ve ever visited?

11) If you could spend a day in the shoes of any literary character, who would it be?

I’m looking forward to seeing your answers!

Spine-benders vs. Spine-preservers: How do you treat your books?

Books can be truly beautiful objects. Having recently completed a postgraduate degree in publishing studies and learned a lot about the design and production process, I appreciate this all the more. Take the Penguin Classics hardback series, for example. Designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith, these linen covers have been stamped with beautiful, vibrant and colourful depictions of images representing the novels they enclose. They will make a wonderful edition to any book lover’s collection.

I want all of them. No, really. ALL of them. Even Pride and Prejudice. (Sorry, Austen fans, I’m a Brontë girl). © Penguin Books.

I want all of them. No, really. ALL of them. Even Pride and Prejudice. (Sorry, Austen fans, I’m a Brontë girl). © Penguin Books.

Paperbacks can also be beautifully designed, and many of them are. As a great example, you should check out the book trailer for the illustrated version of A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, which provides an awesome preview of the artwork in both the hardback and paperback editions.

In my experience, people who love reading paperbacks often fall into two distinct categories: the spine-benders and the spine-preservers. The former bend the spines of their books while reading them; the latter make sure to keep their book spines intact and looking like new. I have a confession to make. My name is Jo, and I’m a spine-bender. It seems to be an inherited trait. My mother is a spine-bender too, and, since I got my love of reading from her, it seems only natural that I would follow her manner of reading as well. This habit of mine has horrified some of my spine-preserver friends. Whenever I borrow a book from one of them, I make sure to leave the spine untouched. If I accidentally slip back into my spine-bending ways, which has happened once or twice, I buy them a brand new copy. After all, to us bibliophiles our books are precious objects, and, when borrowed, should be treated with respect. Or else.

So, if I love books so much, why would I intentionally damage them? One reason is I genuinely find them easier and more comfortable to read if I can open them out properly; but there is a more meaningful reason than that. When I first pick up a book in a bookshop, I see a world of possibilities. Will I love this book? Will I hate it? Will it have a profound effect on me, or will it leave no impression at all? When you pick up a book from my collection, you’ll probably be able to answer those questions. Like most book lovers, I can’t fit all of them onto one shelf, or even into one bookcase. Instead, a small selection of my favourites sit on a special shelf in my bedroom where I can see them every day.

My faithful robin friend watches over my collection. He’ll peck you if you try to steal one.

My faithful robin friend watches over my collection. He’ll peck you if you try to steal one.

With a glance, you can tell which ones I’ve read the most – their spines are seriously creased. If you pick one of them up, Book One of the Banned and the Banished series by James Clemens, for example, it will look a little worn, the pages a little ragged. You might even find a piece of paper or two tucked between the pages containing my thoughts and feelings about particular passages. Maybe some old index tab stickers leftover from my university days will draw your attention to a quote that I thought was important or meaningful. The book itself might help you learn still more about my reading habits by simply falling open at a particular page; one I’ve read so many times that the spine has completely cracked.

Deep breaths, spine-preservers, stay with me here.

If you’re looking for the book that means the most to me, you won’t find it on this shelf. It has lived in the top drawer of my bedside table ever since I first got it in 1996, at the tender age of nine. As you can see, it’s pretty beaten up. It looks like it’s been read dozens of times and travelled with me to many places. It has. When I look at its curling pages, its creased cover and worn spine, I don’t see a book which has been poorly cared for. I see a book that has a history, a unique character that sets it apart from the untouched copies in a bookshop. I see the times it has given me comfort. Made me laugh. Made me think. Made me cry. Even just holding it makes me feel better.

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My eighteen-year long love affair with Star Trek and why it means so much to me is a whole other story. I might write about that another time.

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I have nothing against the development of e-books. I understand their advantages and that they can lead more people to a love of reading. To me, though, they’re nothing more than data files. Other than the words they contain, they have no character. They remain the same no matter how many times they are read. They can’t absorb the ink of an author’s autograph or a message from a loved one. You can’t hold them in your hands, only the device they have been downloaded onto.  And, the most important drawback for me – you can’t put them on a bookshelf. These limitations don’t matter to everyone, but they matter to me.

That being said, if a book I really wanted to read was only available in digital format, I would still read it. I wouldn’t deny myself that book just because it was in a format other than paper and ink. I don’t agree with the idea I’ve heard flaunted by some literature snobs that those who only read e-books are not ‘real readers’. That’s nonsense. Of course they are. Whether for convenience, financial reasons or the attraction of interactive features, for some people e-books are their preferred way of reading. For me, though, the way I interact with a book is inextricably linked to the format in which I read it. In my case, that means paper and ink all the way. I don’t mind if that means my suitcase is a little heavier when I travel. I don’t care that the book costs a bit more or that it might take longer to get to me. Those extra little hassles are more than worth it for the reading experience I love.

I’m actually dealing with one of those hassles right now. The release date for a Star Trek novel I’ve been waiting fifteen months for has been pushed back by two weeks. The release date for the paperback, that is. The e-book is readily available now. I could have it in about five minutes via my Google Books app for £4.99 if I was so inclined. I’m not. Sure, it’s frustrating to have to wait for longer, but I’ve already waited fifteen months, so what’s another few weeks if I know I’ll enjoy the reading experience more if I just have a little patience?

In the Star Trek universe, set in the 23rd and 24th centuries, for all their advanced technology, the characters are often seen reading from physical books as well as from data pads. The two exist side by side. That’s how it should be. Unfortunately, publishing in both print and digital formats isn’t always financially feasible these days.

Captain Picard often had his nose in a traditional book, particularly the works of Shakespeare. © Paramount Studios.

Captain Picard often had his nose in a traditional book, particularly the works of Shakespeare. © Paramount Studios.

Some might say that I haven’t given e-books a fair chance. That may be true. I’ve never read an e-book from start to finish. I got about halfway through one of the free downloads that came with my Google Books app before I gave up. I just wasn’t enjoying the reading experience; which in turn meant I wasn’t enjoying the book as much either. The app came already installed on my smart phone, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have bothered with it. I borrowed my uncle’s Kindle last year and tried to read a book on that. Same problem. E-books just aren’t my thing.

Does this mean that I’m a hopelessly out of touch fuddy-duddy who has no business going after a job in the increasingly digitised world of publishing? No, I don’t think so. The field I’m most interested in is academic/educational publishing, and I’m really enthusiastic about new forms of scholarly publication like open access journals. I may not like e-books when I’m reading for pleasure, but online resources and digitally published research articles were invaluable to me while I was at university. I would love to be involved with academic publishing and help to promote information sharing in the digital age. Similarly, if I was able to work with a fiction publisher, I would be just as dedicated to producing high quality e-books as I would be to physical books. Just because I’m personally not keen on reading them, doesn’t mean I have anything against others doing so, especially if access to e-books encourages people to read more.

Whichever branch of the publishing industry I find myself in, I will gladly go to work each day ready to enthusiastically launch myself into any project I’m asked to. But when I go home, and curl up by the fire in an old armchair in the house I hope to have one day, it’ll be with a physical book. Be it one of my old creased companions, or a new friend waiting to be etched with my memories.