Throwing Down the Gauntlet

I’m in for it now. You may have already met Cujo. I changed his name. Because he asked me to.      Koko the E-reader didn’t make him feel tough enough, you know? So he’s Cujo. But lest he think himself bigger and badder than he should be, I’m buying him a pink cover.

The pink cover isn’t the problem. The little light that may or may not come with said pink cover is not the problem, although if it arrives without the light, I’ll be annoyed. The problem is with the device itself.

He still works great, don’t get me wrong. I’ve been reading for hours a day for the last many days, and he’s still half-charged. The battery isn’t the problem. Nor are the buttons that actually explain what they are for when I push them. I’ve been far less frustrated with this reader than I ever was with the Kindle Fire. The problem is what Cujo contains. Books. Lots and lots of books.

Manufacturers seem to think that a great selling point for their gadgets is the books that they have preloaded onto them for free. FOR FREE, mind. Never mind that the very same titles are also available at the Gutenberg Project, and there they are also…wait for it…free. So these little beggars come loaded to the gills*** with books.  Mine came with 103 titles, and thanks to Gutenberg and my good friend, sj, I’ve added about 10 15 more.

Every single title has one little word at the end, haunting me, taunting me, challenging me. One tiny little word. Unread.

100+ awesome books, we’re talking classics, and none of them have even been looked at. I don’t know if the person who owned the device before me was a complete and total slacker, or if the used bookstore simply returned the reader to factory specs before they put it on the sale floor, but it’s the saddest thing I have ever seen. All those books failing to fulfill their literary destiny. Know what’s even sadder? I haven’t read them, either. Not most of them.

I’m going to fix that. Over the next couple of years, I am going to read my way through all of the books that are on my e-reader. Even the ones I’ve added myself. Even the ones my friends have sent me as gifts that I might not have picked up otherwise.  I’m allotting a couple of years here because I don’t plan to give up the rest of my life. Sometime in the next six months, my name will come up at the library for Jim Butcher’s latest, and I will have to take a cruise through the Harry Potter series again. And let’s not forget about Lord of the Rings. Plus I’m doing some writing of my own. But I will read these suckers. All in good time.

At the end of this challenge, I know that I will find myself enriched beyond belief, and maybe chock full of vitamins and minerals. Kind of like a breakfast cereal. I’ll be a better person, a wiser person. An older person with iffy eyes. At least one of the above.

So who’s with me? Anybody else want to tackle a daunting to-be-read list? Let’s conquer this mountain of books together!


*** This is a figure of speech and in no way implies that e-readers and other electronic devices have gills or are otherwise suited to aquatic life. They are not and object vociferously to swimming lessons.

46 thoughts on “Throwing Down the Gauntlet

  1. HAHAHAHA I had an e-reader and this exact problem haunted me. I knew there were a few books that I’d never read (but the ones I did were AWESOME! Great picks, Kobo Librarian!) so I’d skip to the end, flip through the last few pages and voilá! No more pesky “unread” tags.

    Enjoy your discovery of the classics; my two favourites were “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “The Land Time Forgot.”

  2. It’s a daunting task for sure, but somebody’s got to do it! I’m feeling the same way about my own little e-reader right now. There are so many books to be read and checked off the list!

  3. I’ve been down this road. Got hung up on the Russian authors (ie Tolstoy). Sure the names sound impressive and intellectual, but Doestoyevsky (sp?) is a sure fire cure for insomnia. And happiness. Never again.

    You’re a better woman than I.

  4. I went to a used book store and bought two bags of books this summer. I’ve read two…books…not bags since. They are stacked all around my office taunting me, calling me, crying that they feel unloved. I’m sure their slimmer, trimmer, e-books housed on Cujo do the same.

  5. I have tons of books on my kindle that I have been trying to plod through. I need to get going on them. I have decided to read one each month (at least, but one I think is actually doable). Good luck and keep us posted!

  6. I have quite a few unread books on my Kindle. I seem to file them into “collections” on the ebook to make myself feel better (and they aren’t all staring at me, waiting to be read!) Enjoy your new Cujo!

  7. I have the exact same Kobo that you have (I’m pretty sure), and there was a way in the options to not display all of the books that came preloaded. They’re still stored in there, but they don’t show up in my library, which makes browsing the books that I personally added much easier. If I DO want to read one of them, I can make them visible again, open my chosen title, and then hide them again, and the title that I opened will stay visible along with the rest of my library. (Hopefully that all made at least a little sense. I’m pretty sleep deprived right now.)

    I can’t remember exactly how I did it (and I’m too lazy to pull mine out and fiddle with it right now — sorry) but I’m going to figure it probably wasn’t too hard, especially if you’re looking for said option.

  8. I have unread and half read books on my e-reader. very sad

    I think I need to invest in a cover with a light. I did not want back lit, but a little light when it is darker would be nice. 🙂

  9. I have the exact opposite problem, my Sony E-reader came with only 3 titles (one of which was an excerpt). I have added 30 books to my reader in the last 14 months & I have read them all. The other night I crawled into bed with my reader & discovered there were no new books to read. Luckily I had a pocket book in my bedside table.

  10. My reader came with books I had already read, out of the 100 free books I had read 80. I deleted them all. That left me with 20 unread, of these I simply wasn’t interested in 8, I deleted them also. That left me with 12. I use my e-reader mostly for research projects, I still love real books I admit it. So now my e-reader is loaded back up with 7 Bibles, all the letters of Jefferson, Madison, the Federalist Papers, several books on philosophy, American and World history, three dictionaries and a Thesaurus. Now and then when new novelists, especially friends release their latest in e-format only I buy and read.

    Good luck in working your way through your free books. I think though I would be easier if you picked the ones you really wanted to read.

    • I keep telling myself that if I limited myself to the ones I wanted to read, I might miss something really great. English teachers know what they’re doing when they assign classics. I would never have read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Jungle, any Mark Twain. I have hope that I’ll make some new friends on my e-reader this journey.

  11. I agree with Animalcouriers–get them behind me Satan! I’ve never read a book on an e-reader and I am holding out with all my might. I love the feel, the smell, and the coziness of actual paper books. But I am slowly acquiesing to the reality that when I am finally published it will probably be on an e-reader since publishing as we know it is dying. Sigh!

    • I have literally thousands of books, so this reader can’t possibly replace real books for me. But I do love the convenience of being able to choose from 100 titles or more, any time, anywhere.

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