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Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest

Kindle Review – How I Read

In the last 4 months of having the Kindle, I’ve gone through a few different ways of reading on it and it’s been interesting to me to learn a few things. I’ve experimented a bit and wanted to share some of the changes that the Kindle has made in my reading habits.

When I first got the Kindle, I grabbed a few samples just to see how things worked and quickly read them. I was nervous about spending a bunch of money on it, so I would purchase a book, Phantom Prey was my first one, from my bed one morning while my wife was still sleeping, and I read it over the next day or two. Then I bought The Forgotten Man and read that. I tended to do this the first few weeks I had it, buying one book and reading that.

Then I had to take a trip. I’d watched my Visa bill go up a bit, so I decided to try a couple other things. I went to Project Gutenberg and downloaded a few classics: The Declaraion of Independence, The Count of Monte Cristo, War and Peace, I, Robot, and a few more. Some of these I’d read when I was younger and wanted to re-read, some I’d wanted to read and never had. Note I had to do this on my computer, connect the USB cable to the Kindle and copy them over. This was simple and quick.

On my trip I started The Count of Monte Cristo and thought it was old. Hard to read, slow, about old France, a struggle to get through. However I persevered for a few chapters before I gave up, signed onto the Amazon store and got something more modern.

My travels were for the Business of Software conference (I highly recommend this for people in the software business) and while there I got tips on a bunch of books and downloaded samples for many of them. They’re usually a chapter or two, so I would read a sample, then go back and go through a chapter of The Count, then a sample, and continue on. This worked well and it allowed me to get through things I wanted to get through, but didn’t always enjoy.

Over the next few months I would buy books at various times, some fiction, some non, and I ended up with many more things to read than I had time for on a regular basis. Actually all the time. I constantly grab samples of things, and so I decided to try and force myself to not just read the books I wanted to from my favorite authors, like The Gate House, but also things that I’m interested in, like Snowball (Warren Buffett) and Permission Marketing.

So I came up with this system. I decided to read 4 books at a time. Why 4? It seemed like a good balance between 3 and 5. Actually it was enough books to get me moving through my list, but not so few that I would overwhelm my reading with fiction, which I have a tendency to do.

I read a chapter of a book at a time, then switch to the next book. this way I move through a series of books on a regular basis. It can be a sample or a full book, but I try to go through them a chapter at a time. I think I read more stuff this way, and it balances the desire for fun stuff, with a bit of work.

I will admit that I don’t stick to this that well. I get some fiction books, like Dauntless, and I’ll read 2-3 chapters in a row before I move to another book. Or I’ll get something like Cross, with short chapters, and I’ll read a bunch of them. Actually 3 months later I’m still working through The Count, but it’s gotten interesting and I’m still plugging away.

Having all my reading on the Kindle makes a big difference as I can force myself away from books and easily be reading 4 at a time. It also prevents me from getting too bored with one book, as happens sometimes with some chapters. I know if I can just finish this chapter, I can move on to something else, and I’ve enjoyed that motivation to keep going on books I’ve struggled with.

I don’t know if the Kindle is for you, but think about what I’ve read, the posts on it and make the decision for yourself.

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