Working multiple jobs while raising multiple kids while supporting time-consuming hobbies such as writing for fun, football watching and video game playing has forced me to largely cut the act of reading books out of my life over the past few years. And feel guilty about it. But that's changing, thanks to my new pastime of cell phone book reading.
I used to be irritated at the idea of e-reading, and the idea of plowing through an entire book on a tiny cell phone screen sounded impossibly stupid. But now that I am more than halfway through Tina Fey's Bossypants, which I've read on my phone primarily during bathroom breaks, I consider physical books to be impossibly stupid.
Smartphones equipped with the Kindle app allow you to tote around an infinite number of books in your pocket. Booklights, bookmarks and scotch tape are now obsolete, because this technological revolution allows you to read in the complete dark, always keeps track of your page number and does not allow you to accidentally rip its pages. I could drop my Droid 2 in the toilet and just shrug and pick up where I left off on my laptop or iPod Touch.
The main reason I enjoy reading books on my phone is because of the video game like quality. It feels as though you're playing a text-based adventure game in which it's impossible to screw up and die. Just read what's on the screen and swipe your finger and you win! Then you win again 13 second later! Since each virtual page is so tiny, you get a greater, more frequent sense of reward and progress. And I adore the fact that you can always tap the bottom of the screen to see your completion percentage.
About the only bonus I would add would be a da-dink sound, accomplished by a graphic that says "achievement unlocked" after I "beat" each chapter. I also wish it kept track of the length of time I'd been reading, and switched into audio book mode when I'm driving.
Now that I've discovered the joy of cell phone reading -- not e-reading as a whole mind you, because Kindles, iPads and Nooks can't fit in your pocket and are only truly portable to dorks who wear European man-purses -- I vow to read more than ever before, but may never touch a book again.