San Francisco Trip and My Reading Conundrum

Books, Reading, Travel

I’ll be spending the next few days in San Francisco. My girlfriend has a conference there and I am tagging along for a brief vacation.

I had been to San Francisco once before about 7 years ago and found myself not particularly enjoying the visit. I chalk that up to the fact that my visit there was the last stop of a longer trip. I think that by the time I got to San Francisco, I was a bit traveled out and just wanted to get home. I’m looking forward to this trip to get a fresh look. It’s a short trip. We get in on a Tuesday afternoon and leave early Friday.

I was lucky enough to get direct flights in both directions. I mentioned before that I hoped to get quite a bit of reading done on the flights since I’m trying to keep up with my goal of reading 25 books this year. I’ve been keeping pace so far, in part, I think, because I’ve resisted my tendency to read multiple things at once. However, I’ve fallen off the wagon. I began the month reading House of Leaves and Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing. Two books at a time seems manageable.

A couple of weeks ago, my girlfriend and I were taking the train to see my family. The Free Library of Philadelphia started a Virtual Library program in one of the main train stations in town. Being both book and technology nerds, we had to try to check-out books from the Virtual Library.

Virtual Library at Suburban Station

The library set-up large signs with a selection of books. You scan the QR code and get taken to the library’s interface. My phone wouldn’t scan the first code I tried and don’t know if that reflects more on the library’s sign or more on my phone’s QR reader. But I had no trouble with the second book I scanned, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. The process was pretty straightforward. You need to have a library card and need to access your library account. If you don’t have a reader on your device, you can read the book via your browser.

I think the process would be rather simple for someone who is already a user of the library’s ebooks. It took a few minutes for me to remember how to access my account and figure out which platform I was able to read the book on. For someone who is more familiar with all this, the process would be pretty seamless.

What’s nice is that I was able to later access my library account from my tablet and get access to the book I checked out and download the Overdrive reader app. I much prefer to read on my tablet than phone, so I was hoping it would be easy to associate my check-out with my tablet and it was.
Of course, that means I have another book to read. I could have just returned the book but since I’m trying to read more current books, I figured I’d take advantage of this happenstance, which brought me up to reading 3 books.

This was further complicated by the long flight. Although I am working on 2 books on my tablet, I like to have a physical book with me as well because there are times during the flight when you can’t use electronic devices. And there’s always battery life concerns. I was reluctant to bring House of Leaves with me because it’s quite the fat book. Wanting to pack something lighter, I turned to another reading project I started last year and decided on Henry Miller’s Tropic of Capricorn. I decided I wanted to work my way through all his works again and got through Tropic of Cancer and Aller Retour New York last year.

So, my efforts to read no more than 2 books at a time this year lasted until April. In a way, it doesn’t really matter since I’ll end up finishing them all sooner or later, but it gives me a better sense of progress when I complete things in a more systematic way.