For the first time since I became a father, I read a book.
Last Friday I got an email from Amazon about the eBooks Antitrust Settlement. Suddenly I had $2.44 to spend at Amazon on books — physical or digital. It’s not a ton of money, but we’re talking about books, not iPhones.
So I poked around for a few minutes. I found The Martian: A Novel by Andy Weir.
I’m familiar with this book because I’ve seen one or two trailers for the Matt Damon movie based on it. I want to see the movie. I knew it was based on a book.
The Kindle version was priced at $5.99. Minus $2.44, I was going to pay $3.55. Good enough. Click.
After I got home from work I started reading it. I used the Kindle App on my iPhone 6. (Much easier to read a book on an iPhone 6 than previous models.) After my wife went to bed I got a good uninterrupted chunk of time and managed to get through between a quarter and a third of the book.
I read more on Saturday. Made it to the to about the three quarters mark.
On Sunday I finished it. The Martian isn’t the longest book ever, but this is among my fastest times for reading a book start to finish. (I got through Rising Sun in four days back when I was in high school, and I may have burned through Prey in two days when I couldn’t find a job after college. RIP, Michael Crichton, even though you may have been a little nuts.)
Since this is my Dad Blog, I think I can admit that I felt some guilt that I didn’t pay enough attention to my son during that weekend. In particular, when he was upset and didn’t want to go to bed on Sunday night, it occurred to me that I should have had more fun with him. If I just limit my book reading to one weekend every two years it should be okay.
The last book I read from start to finish was A Storm of Swords, the third book in A Song of Ice and Fire. (That’s Game of Thrones for you TV types.) I believe I finished it shortly before season 3 of the show started. (Let me check.) Yes, that sounds right. Season 3 ran from March to June of 2013, right before my son was born.
Or it may have been right before Season 2 started. Details.
Since then, my “Kindle device,” my iPad, has been converted to a YouTube for Kids player. (So has my wife’s iPad.) And of course, I have less free time. And my wife and I watch more TV. But we go out less. (A lot less.)
Shortly after I finished A Storm of Swords, I started A Feast for Crows, but I didn’t get far. I had just read three books about this world. And seen two seasons (or maybe just one season) of the show based on it. It was a lot of Westeros. My brain needed a break.
I probably won’t tear through the entirety of Crows this weekend. But why not? Why could I do it with The Martian? The first difference that comes to mind is the number of characters. Anyone who has delved into Game of Throne‘s Westeros knows that there are a lot of characters. It’s the classic “couldn’t keep track of all the characters while reading the book” problem. The majority of The Martian is about the day to day activities of one character — Mark Watney — who is stranded alone on Mars. Watney is not the only character, but the book does make it easy to keep characters straight.
I think this weekend, I’ll dip into my Kindle backlog.