New purchase

Recently I’ve purchased a paper book. I did it only because I was really eager to read that specific book (here it is). The content was good, and I will definitely make a short review afterward, but the process of reading a physical book was quite painful to me.

Ooops, here goes the nostalgia

I’ve spent quite a lot of time in my childhood and adolescence reading books. There was a library on the ground floor of the house I lived in and it had been an endless source of information and entertainment before the internet came to my life.

Library from my childhood

Library from my childhood

There weren’t a lot of options there: you basically came, chose whatever you liked by the book cover and a remote understanding of the topic, and read it. Period.

But then came the internet, mobile devices, and computers, and things have changed. I’ve spent less and less time reading through paper books (not that few, there are hundreds of paperback books I purchased, owned, and sold) and more time reading articles and books in e-format on whatever device I had. And it was quite good.

I’ve been reading from the PC monitor, small 240x320 px cellphone screen, laptop displays, and various smartphones, Kindle, iPad, KoboReader and it all felt superior to usual analog books.

I still own some paper books I was either unable to find in the e-form, or that were presents having a sparkle of sentimentality, but I don’t really like reading them, it’s not comfortable for me.

Some of the books I still own

Some of the books I still own

Issues I have with paper

Making notes

Part of my reading process is making highlights of the material I find useful for remembering and future referencing. With paper books, it’s just not really feasible. Yes, you can make highlights with some marker or just right stuff down somewhere but it’s quite time-consuming and, in the first case, makes the book not really well suited for the resell or give-away process.

Reading in whatever lighting condition and position

I want to be able to read the book I want not only sitting in a cozy chair with the perfect lampshade light. I want to do it anywhere in any lighting condition: during the sleepless night, or somewhere in the hotel with bad illumination or whatever.

Physical pages

A lot of books, especially in the soft cover are pretty bad at turning pages and holding the book comfortably, really. You also have to keep a bunch of physical bookmarks to remember your reading position as well.

Taking up space and gathering dust

That’s quite obvious: books take up space. They are gathering dust. They are an additional weight and hustle during the moving around or changing apartments.

(bonus) The way I tend to read

Some DALL-e image

Some DALL-e image

Device and sofware

Around half a year ago I purchased a new e-ink reader - the Kobo Libra 2 to be exact and it was awesome. It is lightweight, really comfortable in your hand(s), has a good backlight, WIFI/BT connectivity, very long battery life, USB type C, and is very pleasing to touch and look through. Like most e-ink readers it has its own issues, primarily a screen refresh speed not comparable to modern OLED/OLED screens, ghosting, a little sluggishness browsing through PDFs, but that’s mostly what you will see in all of the readers at comparable price points.

Accompanies the e-reader the KOReader application. It’s a cross-platform multi-device e-books reader application with heck-of-a-lot features (SSH-server, Carl!) and plugins. It’s also open-source and pretty well written in C and Lua mostly.

I also use Calibre to manage my book collection and keep proper metadata of books I have.

Choice of the book

With sooooo much content flying around it’s pretty easy to get lost and consume every single content piece you find. That’s why you have to be pretty thorough in your search process. I maintain a list of things I want to read in the Todoist application, adding items I’d like to read there, and asking myself a bunch of questions:

  • if it’s non-fiction - what do I want to know from this book? Will I be able to find answers to some questions I have on the topic? Is the author’s writing good and can be trusted in general?
  • if it’s a fiction - will I like it? Reading some book samples gives a good idea about the writing style, setting, and your own level of involvement in the world.


I like collecting highlights, notes, and ideas from books. If I find something interesting - I highlight it. Then, via a pretty complex system involving the Obsidian software, Syncthing, some custom-written Lua plugins, and go services it gets into a single space - the Obsidian vault. I try to preserve those highlights from all across the time of reading stuff on various devices and I have a bunch of scripts, utilities, and plugins to export data, for example, from the Moon+ Reader application data formats, Apple Books, Kindle highlights and the KOReader application as well.

Most of them are really rubbish, but I love going through some of them randomly and remembering some concepts or ideas, maybe even re-reading the source material once again.

Giving up if I don’t feel like reading

If I chose the book and amidst the process of reading I understood that something just doesn’t go well: the reading pacing is slow, I get bored, I don’t really find material useful or entertaining, or thought-provoking - I give the book up. I know some people who just can not give up the book - I’m not one of them.