What a Difference a Page Makes – or Hindrances to Actual Reading

Jester reading a book (png version with transp...

Jester reading a book (png version with transparency) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Three Lao girls sit outside their sch...

English: Three Lao girls sit outside their school, each absorbed in reading a book. This photo was taken after a rural school book party by Big Brother Mouse, a publishing and literacy project in Laos, which provides many children with their very first books. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve just finished reading a book for New Books in German (so really I should be writing a report on it – I will, in a bit, honest) and it struck me as I was thinking about it, how much more I got into it as I went along.

Now partly that was because it took a while to get going, and for one of the main characters to stop being a totally drippy doormat, but it was also an issue of technology. I had agreed to take the book as a PDF to reduce postage costs etc thinking that it would be no problem to read on my E-reader. The trouble was, the pages had been scanned in a way that the reader just couldn’t cope with. This left me constantly fiddling with the settings or reading absolutely miniscule print, both of which seriously impacted the reading experience. I’d be just getting into my stride and then have to turn the page when the whole palaver started again. By about halfway through, I managed to find a compromise setting that worked for me – smaller print than ideal, but no faffing about and just able to swipe from one page to the next.

Hey presto! Suddenly reading was no longer a chore and I sailed through the rest of the book. Moral of the story – if you’re not getting on with a book, maybe it’s not just to do with the writing. There are so many other factors that come into play. For me it was something practical. Other times it’s been to do with my frame of mind, or the distractions going on around me.

What about you? Any books you need to give a second chance because of something like this? Do let me know!

About forwardtranslations

I'm a freelance literary translator from German and French to English. The title of my blog comes from Mary Schmich's description of reading: it struck home with me, and seems especially apt for translated fiction. Here are some of my musings on what I'm reading, re-reading, reading to my children, and translating.
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