#MysteryMonday – Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

I’m sure I’m not the only one that gets turned off by baits like “a gripping psychological thriller…” added at the end of every new book title. I know I had seen this book on Kindle-Shop around spring last year but didn’t buy it only because of this headline. It wasn’t until the price went down to 2,99 € that it really caught my attention!

Mystery Monday – (n.) A series of hashtags I wanted to try out and share with you. Why? Because I can’t stop talking about books anyway so I thought I should just talk about them here. I have been reading on a few mysteries (thanks to Goodreads Choice Awards nominations) and I’ve been wanting to write some reviews anyway, so…

My first book of choice for this series is Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris. It’s not the last book I read but it’s the one that stuck with me the most. As I have mentioned before, I am quite the slow reader but I’ve finished this one within 36h so I guess it’s safe to say that I was hooked. I had trouble putting it down, dreading the 8-hour gaps I had to take for work and sleep.

The conflict in the story was revealed about 30% into the book. By that time I thought: okay, mystery solved, what now? Well, that’s exactly the point. The rest of the story was about solving the problem, and it left me curious the whole time.

I don’t want to reveal too much but, from the title itself, this book will leave you claustrophobic. Very.

Ending

The ending has left me hanging. I read this on my Kindle and the book ended at 91%. By this time I was calculating how much sleep I will lose to finish the book that same night when one revealing factor has just concluded the story. My wife was in the same room while I was reading and I just said “Oh” and looked up and that caught her attention. I must have looked miserable because she automatically came over to comfort me because it’s probably safer to do so, considering I might smash my Kindle against the wall.

This book got me to read more of the nominees under the Mystery/Thriller category on Goodreads. I eventually voted for it for best Mystery/Thriller and best debut but it didn’t make the cut for either category. I especially loved the style and technique of the author’s storytelling and I will make sure to read some of their work in the future. It’s absolutely brilliant.

If you want to read this book, it’s probably cheapest in Kindle edition at 3,99 €.

Print VS eReader

I was asked some weeks ago by a colleague why I owned a Kindle and whether it made much of a difference to reading an actual book. I kind of hoped that people’s stigma towards the eReader would have died down by now. By this, I don’t mean that I thought we would have gone digital one by one after the eReader first came out, but I assumed that people would eventually get the hang of the whole idea. I often get, “yeah, I don’t know if I can read a book without actually feeling its weight” or “I need to smell it while I’m reading it” etc etc.

In my case, I have decided to partially go digital four years ago for practical reasons. Some of which include:

  1. Access to books written in the english language. There’s a very limited selection of english books in your regular bookstore here in Germany.
  2. Price. They vary. Your advantage with printed books is that you may choose to buy them second hand, which of course is a lot cheaper. With ebooks, you pay full price for each book, but it’s usually cheaper than the full price in print (brand new), and sometimes you catch them on great discounts! Classics are often for free or cost 99c each.
  3. Speed of delivery. Of course, downloading an eBook will only take up to a few minutes to complete and you don’t have to worry about running to the next bookstore or worse, wait a few days for a printed book you bought online to reach your home.
  4. Reading in the dark. Its built-in lighting helps me read without having to turn on the lights in the room and risk waking up my wife who is sleeping next to me. But don’t get me wrong, the Kindle Paperwhite’s lighting is not there to hurt your eyes! Its sole purpose is to illuminate the text on the screen that is why the lighting is built to face only that direction to seem like you are reading your book under a lamp and it’s easily adjustable too.

My Kindle

It was a birthday present from my wife four years ago and I have been using it since. It’s my favourite gadget along with my phone, laptop, and camera – a few of the material things I refuse to live without. I filled it with some classics, the latest mystery/thrillers, and a few other books that I didn’t find at the bookstore (brand new or second hand), or were cheaper in digital version.

Being able to dress it up, of course, is the fun part.

My Bookshelf

As you can see, my most important books are here. My collection of Sheldon, Anne Rice, copies of The Bell Jar in different editions (don’t judge) and books that I usually pick up from the airport or from the cities I travel to. A few of them I know I’ll let go of some day to make space for new ones. I like knowing that one day, someone else will enjoy reading the same lines I’ve read, touching the same page corners I’ve touched.

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Now, I really can’t tell which one I like better. Both have great qualities that I look for in my reading material so I leave it up to you to decide — but don’t feel like you have to! At the end of the day, what’s important is that you read. The content is not affected by whether it’s in print or in digital and you will be thankful for the experience a good book will let you have regardless of its form.

How do you feel about the eReader so far?

Surviving as a slow reader

Are you a slow reader? And if so, do you feel bad about it?

I am reading much more than I’ve ever had – even more than during those days when I had plenty of time and less worries. At the time when I felt like every day was a bad day, I read, because I literally had nothing else other than the 50c books from the 2nd hand bookstore nearby. Still, I can’t help but thinking I should read more. I know I want to, and it’s not like I don’t make time to do it. Until a few months ago, I had been taking the train to the city everyday for a whole year and I made sure to always bring a paperback or my Kindle with me to read for at least an hour at a time. But when we finally moved to Berlin, my everyday train ride has been reduced to 30 minutes from what had been 1.5h. No wonder I have been sitting on this Anne Rice novel for two weeks now.

Wait, two weeks? That’s a lot of time for a book with less than 400 pages. I know people who only need a few hours to finish a novel and, truth be told, I’m awfully jealous. In fact, I wish to have finished it in two days’ time. What I wouldn’t give to be on that pace, eventhough it’s still a little slow for some readers. But then, I could finish more books in less time, fill up my shelves and visit bookstores more often! There’s just so much out there that I haven’t read yet, and just so much more that has yet to come out that I would want to read.

So does this mean I’m a bad reader?

I’d like to think not. I mean, I think I like it as much as anyone with a goal of 100 books in their Goodreads Reading Challenge (with my goal of 30, and being 3 books behind schedule this late in the year). And while I don’t believe I need to prove anything to anyone especially about this matter, I just don’t want to miss out on all the books out there, waiting to be read. It’s my goal to read a lot and I don’t want to feel like I’m failing.

How to read more in less time:

I have gathered some tricks to make you want to read and on how to keep wanting it. I mean, it really has to start there.

  1. Talk to someone about books. I have a friend I talk to regularly about the books we read. In fact, this friendship has started with this very topic of conversation. We have read about 30 books in common, a handful of them we just recommended to one another over one year of friendship. This has helped me a lot because since then, I clearly have read less books that I felt I just wasted time on. That way, I can read more quality books and get more excited to finish them because I know I have someone to talk to about them.
  2. Always have a book with you. Sometimes you’ll be stuck in the train for a while, or wait at the doctor’s office for an hour, or you’ll just decide to sit on a park bench before going back home.  All these are perfect excuses to open that book and read.
  3. Goals. Aside form the Goodreads Reading Challenge, I have set and achieved my personal goal of reading all of Sidney Sheldon’s novels. However, I didn’t really set a specific time to finish that one so it took me 6 years to gather and read all 18 books. Right now I just started Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles, currently on book one. And because I like her material so far, I already grabbed a copy of book two. After book three, I’ll decide if I want to continue and then maybe I’ll give myself a year to get to the latest and keep track of the release of the next one (so far there are 12). I think this also helps to get the hang of your author of choice’s writing and, therefore, read faster.
  4. Not reading before bed. I remember a few years back when I made a habit of it because it was the only quiet time I could get in a day. I would read until I fell asleep. But then, when I got some time to read during the day,  it made me sleepy because I had somehow conditioned myself that way. Worst case, as soon as I wake up, I’d already forgotten where I finished and would probably have to do a few pages of back-reading.
  5. Be around books. I rarely ever just pass by a bookstore. I don’t always come out with a book in my hand, but I look around to see if there’s anything I might be interested in and take note of it. Most of the time it’s just a reminder to finish the one you are reading now quickly, so you could jump to the next one (sometimes you’d lose one night’s worth of sleep but it’s worth it nonetheless.) 🙂