shane's blog.

the painter

A lot has happened in a short amount of time. I've attempted to shift my focus towards introversion and focusing on what's within - this may be why my posts here have taken a back seat for a while. But although I haven't been writing any posts, there is no doubt in my mind that I have been growing and thriving in new ways. The one I wanted to talk about here took me by surprise.

For a while, I've been wanting to get back to regular and consistent book reading. I've tried incorporating reading other blogs into my routine, and sometimes it's successful, but as of late I've thought it would be much better to read books. For those that know me, however, this is incredibly difficult when I value the role of minimalism and striving for owning physical less stuff. How does one read books when they don't want to own them?

To answer this question, I originally purchased an iPad mini. Don't get me wrong, I love my iPad mini - the simplicity and portability of such a small yet powerful device has revolutionised my relationship with technology. As a book reading device, however, it isn't ideal. No matter how many times I've tried to read a book on it, I can't. Why? I think the sheer capability of the device means there is always a distraction. At the same time, I have always valued "buying once, and buying right" - this has been my minimalist philosophy for many years. My iPad mini does the task at hand, but I'm not reading. What does this mean?

I realised I had purchased the wrong device for reading. I think that down the track, I will consider getting another iPad for other kinds of tasks, however for reading I decided to venture outside Apple's walled garden and purchased the Kobo Libra 2 E-Ink eBook reader. Weird, right? I thought this myself, but I've never been this motivated to read!

One of the best parts of this device, and something I didn't know it did when I purchased it, is that it connects to OverDrive (also known as Libby) - a service that allows you to borrow library books from your local library in a digital format. Revolutionary! I can borrow books and read them before the return date, then pick up something new. I had zero motivation to read in this way on the iPad mini, even if I had purchased the book. But because I have the right device for the right task, I'm incredibly satisfied with the user experience on an e-ink display.

The first book I've borrowed is written by an author I was recommended to read by someone at my workplace: Murakami Haruki - with what has (so far) been a fascinating read in his work "Killing Commendatore". I've never been used to reading these genres of books, but with the right device, I've been wanting to read it everywhere! On the bus or train, on my lunch break, on a weekend in a cosy place, and before bed. This device has shifted my relationship towards a form of technology that allows me to connect with a medium I've long-since felt disconnected by, even though many people would consider an eBook reader somewhat antiquated.

The protagonist, a painter house-sitting in a famous Japanese painter's home, is experiencing a number of strange occurrences. I just want to keep reading and find out what will happen, and I'm far more drawn to reading a book like this than bingeing on a TV show since I can use my imagination in different ways.

So that this doesn't become a ramble, the summary is that by shifting to an e-ink display I'm able to meaningfully connect with books in a way that a far more advanced iPad mini simply has not allowed me to do. This experience is one that I intend on exploring as I borrow more books and read a lot more, and hopefully I can gauge how much of an impact this device has on my life into the near future.