jenett: the milky way emerging from silhouetted hills (Default)
jenett ([personal profile] jenett) wrote2013-10-23 07:26 am

Salon post: how do you read (and other related stuff)

(Look! I remembered it was Wednesday! Which is more than I did last week. You can always feel free to remind me if I haven't posted by about 10am ET.) As always, come in, hang out, talk about stuff, invite friends, and so on and so forth.

Topic of the day: I've been poking at ebook services a bit, and it got me thinking about how I read and what I read a bit more. So, today's question: what and how?

I have somehow shifted into doing a vast amount of my reading digitally - I always have my phone with me, my phone has many many books on it, and I read that at work (when I'm doing things like waiting for a computer to boot or update things when I'm working on it) and also in bed at night, or if I'm waiting somewhere. I love that I don't have to carry a book with me, or carry a spare book in case I finish the one I'm on.

I still read in print, but mostly in the bathtub (when I don't want to use electronics) and occasionally for specific kinds of reading (anything I'm actively studying is possibly in print, or anything that has complicated diagrams, because I still find those frustrating on ereaders.)

What I read is about as varied as it always has been - about half my reading is non-fiction (mostly popular-but-well-done non-fiction), with a mix of genres. Part of this is for professional reasons: while I'm not doing reader's advisory work in my current job, it's quite possible future jobs will involve it, so I still read somewhat outside my own natural preferences to keep up with things.

But beyond that? Some fanfic, often of the very lengthy variety. A number of blogs, via RSS reader (which between them add up to a lot of text). Dreamwidth and LiveJournal (ditto on the adding up to a lot of text). A couple of online forums.

And I'm also working on figuring out reading for a future trip, where I'm having trouble figuring out how to keep track of what I've read and might want to come back to in a useful way. (I'm thinking the answer here is LibraryThing, but I haven't quite sorted out workflow enough.)

So. What do you read? How do you read it? How do you manage your reading?
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)

What I read

[personal profile] rmc28 2013-10-23 12:09 pm (UTC)(link)
Roughly in order of frequency:

1. Dreamwidth & LiveJournal

2. A lot of fanfic at AO3. Long pieces I download as ebooks so my reading isn't delayed by loading new chapters or connectivity outages.

3. Blog feeds (via Feedly, which I switched to when Google shut down Reader) - mostly politics, tech, economics, but also random people whose blog I liked so I follow (e.g. Captain Awkward).

4. Stuff for my degree (BA in Business Studies & Economics, part-time, with the Open University). Course texts, online tutor group forum, occasional outside reading where especially interested. This is a mix of paper and ebook/web page.

5. Leisure reading: primarily SFF & romance. Probably more romance than anything else if I want paid-for light reading. I have a to-read bookcase of doom, but I also go through phases of buying light reading and consuming it quickly; the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books blog is a big enabler there.

6. Interesting non-fiction mostly of the pop-sci, pop-economics, pop-politics kind. This kind of reading makes up quite a lot of my to-read bookcase, and my consumption of it has dropped almost to zero since starting my degree - probably because between the studying and the blogs I follow I'm getting my fill of interesting non-fiction.
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)

How I organise it

[personal profile] rmc28 2013-10-23 12:26 pm (UTC)(link)
1. DW/LJ - simple reading page/ friends page. I don't have custom filters or anything, I just seem to have the right balance between number-of-people-followed and frequency-of-checking that I keep up. If I could change one thing, it would be to read oldest-first, updating my last-read point each time. I subscribe to comments on especially interesting-looking discussions.

2. AO3: subscriptions on authors I like, a huge backlog of Marked to Read Later, and RSS feeds on particular combinations of tags (managed as its own category in Feedly). In general I'll subscribe to an author if I like 2+ of their stories. If I like a fic enough to bookmark it, I'll also download it as an ebook to my phone, so I can read it there too.

I file notification emails into their own folder. When I want to read fanfic, I check notifications first; if it's empty/has nothing I want to read just then I pull something off the Read Later list. I check the RSS feeds approximately weekly, to find new stories/people, and I also follow the community [community profile] fancake for ongoing new recommendations.

3. I group feeds into three categories: AO3, Comments, General. AO3 I already discussed; Comments I use to track posts which supply feeds of comments where I think the discussion is interesting or where I've commented or where I've made a guest post (e.g. LibDemVoice) and should keep an eye on responses.

General is everything else; I don't currently feel a need to subdivide it further. If (as is currently the case) I've built up a backlog, I sometimes work through individual blogs which have accumulated lots of posts before jumping back into General.

5 & 6 are a mixture of my to-read bookcase and ebooks. I'm trying not to buy new physical books except on a 2-out, 1-in basis of the to-read pile. I'm trying to run a 1-in, 1-out on the ebooks. I don't entirely succeed. I've had more success since starting to use a private amazon wishlist to act as a to-buy pile so I can get things off that as I clear the actual to-read backlogs. That's what I do when I read interesting book reviews. I've just added a new list for books relevant to my degree course / possible additional reading. This is so I don't buy All The Books and then not have time to read them before finishing the current module. (as might have happened on previous modules, *cough*)
blueswan: girl reading book (book reading)

[personal profile] blueswan 2013-10-23 12:41 pm (UTC)(link)
For keeping track of my book reading I have both LibraryThing and Goodreads. Between them I greatly prefer Goodreads. It's both easier to use and cleaner looking in my opinion. A free account for up to 200 books isn't of much use to me, which is what LT offers.I enjoy being able to set a yearly goal for how much reading I want to do and keep track of the numbers as I complete each book. I like being able to name my shelves and be as general (fiction, non-fiction, mysteries,science fiction, fantasy) or as specific (never-going-to-finish-this, utter shite) as I want.

I don't keep track of the articles, comics or fic that I read. I suppose I could, but I don't. Those are the things I read on my tablet (used to use an e-reader, but the tablet also allows me to see the comics I want to read, so I've pretty much abandoned the e-reader.)

I prefer actual books over reading them in digital form. I just find it easier to snag a book and read a few paragraphs or pages when I have a few minutes of free time. Also, I like the feel of a book, the weight, the heft, it's physicality in my hands.

There isn't much I won't at least attempt to read. If it sounds remotely interesting I will read it. Not instruction books though, not unless I absolutely must. (I have to draw the line somewhere.) Most of my fiction reading seems to be split between science fiction/fantasy and mysteries. I enjoy books in series and those are usually the most likely places to find them, in my experience.
Edited 2013-10-23 12:43 (UTC)
blueswan: (Default)

[personal profile] blueswan 2013-10-23 11:10 pm (UTC)(link)
I knew GoodReads had been sold, but nothing much has changed from my pov. I pretty much stick to myself and I'm only interested in what books I've read because I've always kept track of that.

I didn't know there were discussions about GoodReads. I'm checking out DearAuthor's tags now. Thanks for the heads up.
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)

[personal profile] oursin 2013-10-23 01:08 pm (UTC)(link)
Reading: it seems like almost all the time, in various forms and for various purposes. Even though, as an archivist, one doesn't read everything in a collection one's cataloguing, it's necessary at least to skim.

I very much like e-readers - I have an older model Sony ereader + my Nexus tablet with Kobo and Kindle apps - because I am a fast reader and these obviate the 'packing a small library' when going away problem. However, a lot of the stuff I like falls into the gap between 'now available via Project Gutenberg' and 'also available in Kindle' (a number of my favourite 'middlebrow writers' are being reissued in modern editions but so far, not e-books), so I still read a lot of physical books. With an author or series I am keeping up with, I tend to go for the physical book unless there is a significant price differential for the e-version.

I have been trying to keep track of books for some years now - originally on Visual Bookshelf, which then vanished, and now on GoodReads - however, although I only use this for logging my books and some minimal scoring and notes on them, I do also keep up with friends who are also on it and am a bit disturbed by the current situation there involving removal of reviews by the management without preliminary warning or clarity on procedure.

I also get sent a number of works in my research field for review or just in the hope that I will say something nice about them.

I am also currently reading quite a lot of Golden Age crime, which I pick up in charity shops and have rules about how much I am going to pay (I would probably do this via the public library if I thought they actually retained reasonable runs of the authors in question).
mrissa: (Default)

[personal profile] mrissa 2013-10-23 01:08 pm (UTC)(link)
I have never gotten into bathtub reading. I don't have faith that the water will stay warm enough without being too warm to begin with, so I just never got into baths (vs. showers). My reading in that room is in short intervals, as needed, so I keep a book of short stories, essays, or similar in there: things I can pick up and put down readily. Usually I read that about 3/4 of the way through in short bursts and then get tired of not having finished it and remove it from the bathroom to finish. Occasionally I just read the whole thing in tiny bites in the bathroom. I also put magazines in there, and the magazines get first priority because they are more time-sensitive.

Other convenience-reading: I keep my Kindle in my purse except when it's charging. I suppose I could also make an exception of when I'm reading something specific on it, but I haven't really gotten used to that--mostly my Kindle is for manuscripts, travel, and odd moments out and about. It's not even that I don't like the Kindle, because I really do--it's that physical books remind me to read them by their very presence--they are on my pile to be read and then put away. I have very deliberately not cultivated an equivalent attitude towards filing things in the categories I've set up for material I've finished on my Kindle because I want to be able to keep several hundred things on it for convenience reading--I want to know, if I run out of paper books as I did on my trip to New York earlier this month, that there is no chance I will run out of ebooks.

I read a bunch of blogs and news sites, and lj, and sometimes Twitter and FB.

I am also trying to perfect my algorithm for library requests. I'm running down through my grandpa's collection--I have a baker's dozen of fiction and 21 of nonfiction left--so my backup piles are not as extensive as they once were. Also, library = free books. On the other hand, I don't want to have so many things out from the library that I have to renew or worry about them coming due. But requests do not all show up exactly when I want them, so I'm still working on the algorithm for what to request when. I used to have a long enough library list that I divided the fiction into three lists (mainstream, mystery, and speculative), but now I just have a fiction list and a nonfiction list.

On my desk, in addition to the grandpa-piles, I keep three piles: fiction to read, nonfiction to read, and borrowed books to read (fiction and nonfiction). At the moment, my nonfiction to read pile is empty. That's the nonfiction we own that I haven't read yet. I tend to try to roughly alternate, fiction and nonfiction, but sometimes that's not right for my mood, so I don't get too rigid about it.

I'm only allowed one Swedish novel a month, lest I get gloomy, so I sort of have to keep track of whether I've had it yet.

We still get the daily paper, actually on paper and delivered to our house, so I read everything in that except the business section, and bits of the business section if someone else in the house recommends them.

Usually from 9-9:30ish, sometimes later, the dog and I have Couch Time. This is when I curl up in the corner of the couch and read, and she sits at my shoulder and hangs her head over my shoulder, or else curls up on my feet if it's cold. When she's staying at my mother's, I have to pay attention to whether I'm getting reading time without the regular Couch Time, because I get cranky without it. (The dog will fetch me and remind me when she's here. She is also trying to talk me into Afternoon Couch Time, but she's kind of sabotaged herself there. When she was trying to convince me to come read for 15 minutes before I started dinner--4:45-5 p.m.--it was very hard to argue with that concept unless I was very much in the writing groove. It's just 15 minutes, and it will make the little dog so happy! But then she started angling for 4:40, 4:30.....at this point, any time after 3 p.m. she might try to convince me to come down to the couch and read with her until it's time to cook dinner. And I really can't set aside two hours every afternoon to read just to make the dog happy; other things need doing, and even if I'm going to read that much, sometimes I want to do it at other times of the day.
mrissa: (Default)

[personal profile] mrissa 2013-10-23 01:08 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, and: I keep a booklog spreadsheet.
mrissa: (Default)

[personal profile] mrissa 2013-10-23 02:52 pm (UTC)(link)
Yeah, I used the library when we lived in California, but it was basically because I was stubborn and already spending the entire book budget and leaning on friends to keep up with my reading habits even with the library. Minnesota libraries are so much better. I know I say this about a lot of MN stuff, but with libraries it's objectively provable.

And a two-week checkout time, I don't even know what. I was a little started that ours is three instead of four.
calissa: (Default)

[personal profile] calissa 2013-10-24 08:33 am (UTC)(link)
It's not even that I don't like the Kindle, because I really do--it's that physical books remind me to read them by their very presence--they are on my pile to be read and then put away. Yes, this! I have a very big pile of physical books but I keep a smaller pile on my nightstand. When it eventually diminishes, I dig out more.

I love the idea of Couch Time. I think my dogs would also enjoy that (my partner, too, come to think about it...)
kakiphony: Chihuly exhibit at the KIA (Default)

[personal profile] kakiphony 2013-10-23 02:20 pm (UTC)(link)
My reading habits have changed dramatically in the past two years and there is one reason why: The kindle.

I was terribly resistant to an e-reader, for reasons I can no longer recall. My mother finally shut me up by buying me one (after helping me move all my books cross-country yet again). She bought me the Kindle Keyboard (original recipe) and now it goes everywhere with me. And I mean everywhere: I have a dedicated small shoulder bag that goes inside my larger work bag and was specifically purchased to be the right size to fit my kindle, keys, wallet and phone. I take that small bag to places ranging from work to the grocery store (to read in line) to the park to the bar where my husband works.

And yes, I have a cover for it and am fearless about reading in the tub. Because it's not a touch screen, I can hold onto it from the leather cover and always have a dry hand to push the page turning button. Super easy.

I always read a lot -- on the bus, at the breakfast table, etc -- but frequently had trouble fitting massive books in my bag. That's no longer an issue. Nor is packing multiple books for long trips and still being able to lift my bag. And if I run out of books, I just download another.

The one negative I have found is that I am spending a lot more money to read. This is good for my favorite authors since I'm more likely to buy their books than check them out of the library, but bad for my budget. I think it's probably also bad for my library. I've recently checked out a few hardcovers that were above my purchase price threshold for ebooks (mainly I buy things $7.99 or less -- with the VERY occasional "splurge" on a $10.99 book) and I found that I didn't read them. They were too clunky to hold, they smelled, and I read faster on the kindle. I think if I calculate it out, I'm probably spending about $30 a month on books. Which is kind of crazy when I realize that I won't even spend $30 a shirt!

I've tried to figure out the library lending for the Kindle, but the selection from my local library is pretty limited -- enough so that it rarely even occurs to me to try it.

My dedicated reading time every day is about 15 minutes in the morning while I dry my hair (I sit on a stool with the kindle on my knees -- it makes the tedious task of using the big round brush a lot less tedious), and then in the evenings for about an hour before bed. On the weekends I can often get in two or three hours in the morning before my husband gets up.

I almost exclusively read fiction -- although my tastes within fiction are pretty broad (everything from "literary" to sf/f to mysteries to the occasional romance). And, of course, I also read a lot online: LJ, DW, Facebook, a loooong list of RSS feeds (mainly food, fashion, and genre authors), the NY Times, etc.

I've tried to keep track of my reading, but it's just not natural for me. I get behind and then loathe playing catch-up. Mostly, I just read. Full stop.
Edited 2013-10-23 14:21 (UTC)
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)

[personal profile] rmc28 2013-10-24 01:42 pm (UTC)(link)
I was terribly resistant to an e-reader, for reasons I can no longer recall.

Me too. What changed it was winning a LibraryThing early readers book which I had failed to notice was available in ebook only. So that gave me the incentive to use the ebook reader on my phone and I was hooked. (It helped that the book was good - not something I could say for all the early review copies I got!)

The one negative I have found is that I am spending a lot more money to read

Me too! The trouble with snapping up those 0.99, 1.99, 2.99 bargains is they add up over the month.
twistedchick: (Default)

[personal profile] twistedchick 2013-10-23 03:20 pm (UTC)(link)
'Managing' reading sounds far too organized.

I pick up what's handy and read it. Books on my phone when I'm waiting, news on newsfeeds online, novels and nonfiction other than old public-domain books on paper. I don't own a Kindle, Nook or other e-reader, and I'm not really sure I want one at this point. I prefer holding a book in my hands.
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[personal profile] finch 2013-10-23 05:06 pm (UTC)(link)
I read my friends list here and about 100 blogs on a daily basis unless I'm having a spectacularly bad day. I usually read during my commute and then during my lunch hour, but the latter sometimes gets trumped by homework.

I've used both library thing and good reads: good reads most recently, because I'm trying to get in the habit of reviewing. I haven't touched library thing since I sold most of my books to move cross country. I tend to think of it as a thing that holds what I own, not a thing that holds what I've read. I tried to get my calibre library into it at one point and that was a mess.

I'm very tempted by your plan to nuke it and rebuild.

I use the library as well, mostly because there's a branch directly across the street from my bus connection. The libraries in the Portland area are excellent and I have five different library cards up here. I just found out I can now use my Portland card almost anywhere in the state, which makes me a very happy nerd. I love my libraries.

I read ebooks on my phone, my tablet and my Kindle, and share the Amazon account with my wife who has a tablet and phone of her own and sometimes borrows my paperwhite. I've owned three Sony readers and loved them but eventually the ability to sync between devices on wifi won out.

I could probably stop buying ebooks now and not run out of books for a year or two, to be honest.
pj: (Default)

[personal profile] pj 2013-10-23 08:25 pm (UTC)(link)
1) Dreamwidth and LiveJournal -computer, phone is hard on my eyes.

2) A few other blogs on neither of those -computer, phone is hard on my eyes.

3) Non-fiction religion related texts. I try to have my favourites in both print and e-book. I like the ability to hold a book and turn it upside down to mark my place and the chart things like you mention. But I adore the searchable aspect of the e-reader.

4) Fiction is almost exclusively e-book now unless it can only be had in paper.

TheSecondCircle here...

(Anonymous) 2013-10-23 08:44 pm (UTC)(link)
Types:

* Meaty blogs on theology or philosophy -- I'm only counting really wordy stuff that I actually dig into, not short form tidbits or stuff I skim.

* Non-fiction of the pop-psychology / sociology variety (Gladwell, Taleb,
_Bowling Alone_, etc.), intellectual self-help like _Habits_ (as opposed to newage self help), as well as other random stuff (early Stoics for example).

* Comfort food fiction (books I've read before and loved).

* New fiction (typically by authors I follow -- Gaiman, Hoffman, etc.).

Media:

* Blogs on phone or computer

* Non-fiction primary from the library, unless I really like it in which case I'll buy a copy.

* Comfort fiction off my shelf (it's stuff I love so I usually own it or buy it).

* Fiction mainly from the library.

I can use my relatively large Galaxy S3 as a Kindle eReader, but typically only for items that I can't get at the library and that are much cheaper than hardcopy. I get the appeal, but have been a real slow adopter.

Trends:

* I don't read as much as when I was young (lack of focused time).

* I have trended toward much more non-fiction than fiction for the past five years or more, but now seem to be trending back toward fiction.

* My comfort fiction re-reads are more likely to be literary reads (To Kill A Mocking Bird, Flowers for Algernon, Watership Down, Of Mice and Men -- to name a few that I actually have just finish or am about to start) than the fantasy or scifi I loved from my younger years.

Tracking:
I don't track my total reading, but I do use the library history to occasionally review what I've read. I find that while most fiction will stick in my brain, the non-fiction I've been reading often fades into a blur of baseline knowledge. So I know I've read a number of books on modern society and community, but I don't remember them all.
pj: (Default)

Re: TheSecondCircle here...

[personal profile] pj 2013-10-24 12:07 am (UTC)(link)
What a great phrase "comfort food fiction" is!
calissa: (Default)

[personal profile] calissa 2013-10-24 08:54 am (UTC)(link)
Stuff I'm reading: DW & LJ, blogs via RSS. Books. I'm currently in the middle of A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf and a collection of poems by W.B. Yeats. As I get older, I've tended to read more non-fiction (lots of natural history), but I still read a fair amount of sci-fi & fantasy, as well as literature. In the last few years I have also started reading more poetry.

How I read: mostly on paper. When my partner and I celebrated our 10th anniversary, I talked him out of buying me a diamond ring and into buying me a Kindle. Best decision ever. However, now I work from home and do very little travelling, so it doesn't get a whole lot of use these days. If I'm stuck while out on errands, I have a backlog of reading on my RSS I can access from my phone. I am still very glad to have my Kindle, though, and pack it with me whenever I'm away. I also read some of the chunkier classics (like The Count of Monte Cristo) via Kindle to save my poor wrists.

I log on Goodreads what I'm reading as I'm reading it, never in advance. I keep a spreadsheet of my Mt To-Be-Read.

I haven't had a whole lot of time for recreational reading lately. I edit for a living and business is picking up. Blogs and RSS tend to get my time because they are more time sensitive.
Edited (Formating fail and further thoughts) 2013-10-24 08:56 (UTC)
kyrielle: A photo of kyrielle, in profile, turned slightly toward the viewer (Default)

[personal profile] kyrielle 2013-10-24 01:49 pm (UTC)(link)
I read a large amount of fiction and a small amount of non-fiction. The fiction is largely clustered in science fiction and fantasy - but not exclusively - and the non-fiction is all over the map.

I had been reading less and less until you posted about Oyster. Because Kindle eBooks cost money, and at the rate I would like to read, I would be out a lot more money than I can afford. Now I have Oyster on my phone and am slowly figuring out where and how much reading I can fit in.

I actually prefer a physical book. These days, I am more likely to be reading an eBook by far. My youngest son does not yet understand not ripping pages in books, so no books around him. Books are a bit much to carry to the office or drag around in the car. And they don't light themselves up when it's dark. And they're hard to hold and read while cuddling a sleeping kid with one arm, in the dark, before your own bedtime. My phone is GREAT in those circumstances, so eBooks are my friend for the time being.

This is not counting all the children's books I read when they are deposited in my lap, of course. Those are physical books. (And some effort is made to keep Ian from destroying the page-not-board books that Drew has, and so far it mostly works, but he sees they have pictures and they intrigue him way more than a grown-up book does yet.) Presently, for that genre, I am reading a lot of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and a preschooler version of basic anatomy including boys vs. girls. (Which I am v. v. tired of. Glad he's learning it, but v. v. tired of it all the same.)
silveradept: Criminy, Fuschia and Blue (Sinfest), the girls sitting or leaning on stacks of books. Caption: Read! Chicks dig it! (READ Chicks)

[personal profile] silveradept 2013-10-24 05:00 pm (UTC)(link)
My reading is... not a whole lot, despite working in a profession where being well-read is essential. I do read the DW/LJ feeds regularly, and most of the articles linked from there, which often return when I do linkspam posting. There are a few outside blogs I check regularly. While I have the apps for electronic reading on my phone and my tablet, I don't do a whole lot of reading things on them. Mostly because it's quirky non-fiction that has my attention (and which usually only gets bought in paper by the library) and a large swath of young adult and children's books that run off the usual series path. Picture books are the most common book for me to be reading these days.

And a perusal of professional magazines to see their articles and reviews to see what might be interesting and worth trying.

I spend a lot of time on a select small set of podcasts, but the majority of my time is spent on television, where significant other gets annoyed if I try to multitask, because I'm also supposed to be the backstop in case she doesn't hear or understand.