Monday, June 28, 2010

My little secret

I have a little secret. Sort of a cross between a compulsion and an addiction. I don't talk about it too often because I have it pretty well under control. I'm not ashamed or anything. There are millions of people who understand and share my problem. In fact, most of the people in my profession fall somewhere on the spectrum. I am a life-long obsessive compulsive reader. This used to manifest itself as book hoarding but has evolved with recent advances in technology.

There is one restriction to my reading. I only read for free. Working in a high school library and being a regular patron of our public library system means I don't have to buy books. There might be a bit of a wait for popular titles, but with so much choice there is always something great to read.

The digital options are even more liberating. Through GoodReads it is possible to download new titles being promoted to give exposure to new authors, as well as classics. When J.D. Salinger died I downloaded a pdf of Catcher in the Rye and had the joy of reacquainting myself with Holden Caulfield. (I learned that I didn't love reading off Adobe Editions. Reading for extended periods off a laptop just wasn't comfortable.)

Through my beloved Kindle I read classics in the public domain and also peruse Amazon's Kindle Promos on a fairly regular basis. This has been a good way to infuse contemporary titles and new authors into my Kindle list.

Since I got my iPad I have learned how to synch my Kindle and transfer titles between devices. Just before school let out a graduating senior asked me to sign her yearbook. As I wrote something pithy we talked about her passion for English literature and I shared some of my favorites. That night I got a hankering for Howard's End and bounced it over to the iPad. The awesome thing about reading on the iPad is you don't have to turn on a light at night. Both devices are a joy for this reader.

Through LibraryThing where I am signed up as a reviewer (and often get free books - paper and digital), I got an invitation to join NetGalley.

"NetGalley delivers digital galleys and promotional materials to professional readers and helps promote new and upcoming titles. Using NetGalley, publishers can build communities, invite contacts to view galleys and promotional materials, and track who has viewed their titles.
Professional readers--reviewers, media, journalists, bloggers, librarians, booksellers and educators--can join and use NetGalley at no cost. Register Now to get started."

Creating an account and synching it to my Kindle was a little fiddly, but mostly because I rushed and didn't follow the instructions as carefully as I should have. However, the customer support was fast, helpful and personal. I really like this company. And I like the four new YA galleys that appeared in my Kindle list this morning.

Aside from the fact that I have a lot of reading fetishes (don't even get me started on bookmarks!) I manage to read widely, and for free. As a public school librarian I mean it when I tell students and parents that they should never have to purchase a book for education. I'll track it down somewhere, in some format. I may have to fight the compulsion to read it first before handing it over, but let's keep that between ourselves.

Photo credit:
Flickr Creative Commons
Shh. I have a secret.

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