Tabula Rasa Phobia Cures: Best Bets for Your Empty New E-Reader
“A gift? For me? How sweet! What a beautiful job you did wrapping it … [Rip, tear] … What’s this? An e-reader! How thoughtful! I love it! It’ll be great for when I’m traveling or on the beach. And taking the train to work … and yes, you’re right, almost anywhere … how fantastic!”
[Internal monologue] “Now what?”
Many book lovers panic when faced with an empty bookshelf. A brand new e-reader is just that — an empty shelf, nothing to read, tabula rasa. However, that empty bookshelf is a big opportunity — a new relationship for you. It’s a chance to reinvent and reignite your passion for books and reading. (Plus it’s another excuse to buy more books!) “But WHAT books? How do I even know if I’m going to like this thing, let alone LOVE it?” Filling your shelf with the right selection will be the best way to enjoy and fall in love with your e-reader, so here’s our recommendation on how to do it best.
The Top 11 Things You Need to Achieve E-book Ecstasy: A new user’s guide to building and loving your e-bookshelf
1. ENDLESS LOVE: Your favorite book of all time. Everyone has a go-to favorite — maybe yours is Pride and Prejudice, Beloved, or The Road — it can be anything and you know it intimately if not by heart. Knowing you have it with you at all times will be a great comfort. It’s an old friend to turn to when you can’t sleep, when you’re having a tough day, or just for companionship on a long trip.
2. LITTLE SECRETS: A guilty pleasure. The true beauty of an e-reader? No one will know what you’re reading. No judgment. Highbrow, lowbrow, or no-brow all look the same! Whether it's vampire romances, celebrity autobiographies, or erotica — no one will know what you’re up to, so treat yourself to something special. It’s your secret.
3. SIZE MATTERS: A massive tome. Here’s your chance! You can carry the biggest, baddest, heaviest book ever, everywhere! My Life by Bill Clinton or 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. How about ALL FOUR George R.R. Martin books in theSong of Ice and Fire series? Heavy? Ha! The bigger the better! Load it up.
4. RENDEZVOUS: A short story collection. Great for a satisfying dose of a favorite author, or a snapshot of a notable place or a moment in time, short stories are handy for a brief encounter. Collections are available from some of the most amazing writers — you can choose from contemporary greats like John Cheever, Anne Beattie, or John Updike, old school practitioners Edgar Allan Poe or Nikolai Gogol, or, the master himself, O. Henry. If not from one author, there are also various collections of fantastic works. The New Yorker has well-curated collections and many other award-winners are anthologized annually.
5. ROLE PLAY: A biography or memoir of someone you admire. Find someone you want to spend time with and take them anywhere — so many lives are at your fingertips. Sit on the bus with Catherine the Great, on the beach with Van Gogh, at jury duty with Eric Clapton, or cozy up in your favorite chair with Frank McCourt. Spend some time in someone else’s shoes and revel in a new point of view.
6. HOW-TO: A self-help or how-to book. Everyone can use a little advice now and then on freshening up your technique or skill set. Looking for how to start barefoot running? Or maybe some parenting advice, diet inspiration, or brain and memory games? For every interest and topic you’d want to learn about, there’s an e-book to help you.
7. HOT, HOT, HOT: Something current or topical. What’s everyone talking about? Check the bestseller list and see what’s gathering buzz. The legacy of Steve Jobs, the war in Afghanistan, change in the Middle East, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, or the latest zombie thriller — hit the list, pick what’s interesting, and let the conversations begin!
8. A QUICKIE? An e-short. Or two. Lots of writers are experimenting with shorter content. An e-reader is a great way to sample a writer you don’t know or learn more about a current news topic or event through longer-form reporting. Curious about the GOP nomination for 2012? Check out Rick Perry and his Eggheads for his revolutionary campaign politics.
9. THEY CALLED IT PUPPY LOVE: A book from your younger years. Revisit favorites from your youth and instantly feel younger. Remember how you loved Great Expectations, The Cay, Where the Red Fern Grows? Forget your age; snap up a copy of Madeleine L’Engle’s classic and remember when all the wrinkles in time were merely on the page.
10. ARE YOU EXPERIENCED? That classic you’ve been meaning to read forever. Time to come clean and pick up the tome you’ve been faking having read for years. Here’s your chance. Finally read Invisible Man, Anna Karenina, or Lolita. What about The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner? C’mon, you know you're fibbing. See what you’ve been missing.
11. JUST FOR FUN. Play a game or two. Even book lovers need a break from reading! There are all kinds of games to play when you need a break — word games like Scrabble, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, card games — all kinds of ways to entertain yourself on your device.
Mixing and matching any of these recommendations will lead you to satisfaction and happiness, and very likely, enlightenment.
FUN FACT: If you added one from each category above, the pile of physical books would weigh about 19.7 lbs. and likely be a separate carry-on-bag for most travelers. Buy on e, and be weight free!