Day 2: Seven Days without Paper

It’s not news that ereaders are great for travelers; if they’ve done nothing else, ebooks have reduced baggage handling fees for readers who no longer have to check their libraries with their bags. In fact, traveling is really the only time I used my iPad before this project.


I started a recent trip to New Orleans with The Snow Child — a fantastic book, but the bleak, Alaskan-wilderness vibe just wasn’t right for taking the train to Mardi Gras. The flexibility of an ereader allowed me to switch to Mindy Kaling’s funny, relatable Is Everyone Hanging out without Me. It’s not a better book; it was just better for my frame of mind at the time.



Train rides aren’t the only time I want a choice of book. I’m a very mood-based reader. Sometimes, I want to dip into some Chuck Klosterman essays for a little light cynicism. Others, I’m feeling contemplative, and I’ll try poetry. Or I want to get sucked into a story, so I pick up a YA book. At the very least, I have at least one fiction and one non-fiction book going at the same time.


Of course, flexibility isn’t always a good thing, and it doesn’t come without strings. My iPad is as heavy as two books, and, when I’m in line someplace, I miss holding a light paperback. Also, as Van wrote this morning, choice isn’t always a good thing. Last night, I tried to get into my reading, but I kept switching between Cheryl Strayed’s Wild and Jonah Leher’s Imagine and posting pictures Instagram without settling on anything. I finally just gave up and watched TV.


So far, reading only from a tablet is kind of a mixed bag. But I will say that, when I headed to work today, I didn’t have to decide between my fun read, my serious read, and my memoir. I took my iPad, so I’d packed them all.


Carrie Rollwagen is co-owner and book buyer at Church Street Coffee & Books.

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