Search this site
Other stuff

All banner artwork by Brady Johnson, college student and (semi-) starving artist.

My latest books:


        Available now

       Available Now

Available now 

My book Machines are the easy part; people are the hard part is now available as a free download at Lulu.

 The Blue Skunk Page on Facebook


EdTech Update




« Future predictions at odds | Main | Personalizing or depersonalizing learning with technology? »

Do you have a backup (book)?


Having a good backup is the first rule of computer security and sanity. In case of media failure, your thesis, book draft, lesson plans or last will and testament, ought to be stored in at least two places. For anyone who has lost a draft of any form of writing or lost data of any type, a corrupted or lost file can ruin your whole day. 

Having a backup book, however, is also a necessity for me.

I cannot remember a time that I was not actively reading a book. Whether Henry Huggins or Hardy Boys or Robert Heinlein or James Bond or Michael Connelly (or occasionally a college text), I have always been "working" on a book. Reading a book is as much a part of my day as is breakfast. One of Johnson's 3 rules of travel is "Always have a book to read" since much of vacation time is spent waiting. I have carried books to the top of Kilimanjaro and into the depths of Columbian mountains and in a canoe into Quetico. I guess if I have a serious mental health problem it is an addiction to reading.

This addiction also includes not just having a book, but having a backup book, knowing exactly what I will read next. What if I were on a flight to Narita with 6 hours to go and finish the book I was reading! The horror! This is why I like taking my Kindle on trips. I have enough books downloaded on it to last me for 20 years in solitary confinement or a week on a cruise ship.

My guess is I am not alone in having a fear of being without access to a book. Judging from my friends, many of us, have not just a backup book, but huge backlog of books on our Kindles or by our bedsides or on hold at the library. It seems to me, librarians are especially prone to this phobia (Does a fear of not having a book have a name?)

While I try to make a very limited use of social media, I do like Goodreads to help control my fear. Goodreads is a great source of getting book recommendations from like-minded people, creating of list of "want to read" titles, and recording those books you have read - over the course of a year or eventually over your life, I suppose. Once or twice I have started reading a book and thought "Gee, this sounds familiar" and go back and look at my Goodreads list to find I did read the book a few years earlier. If it is a mystery, I usually go ahead and reread it anyway since I usually don't remember who-done-it.

I also write a short review, a sentence or two usually, so inform others about my opinion of what I have read. 

Do librarians and others for whom reading may be a passion, get kids onto Goodreads or another social reading site to help stimulate their interest in reading? (I could not find any age restrictions for Goodreads.) If not, shouldn't we actively encourage this healthy form of social networking?

Image source

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (3)

As a child who learned to read before tablets, I know the struggle of traveling with books because one was not enough. My children live far from home, and we have laughed about the fact that even with tablets and ebooks, we still have to travel with a “few” real books. It was good to see we are not alone . . .

January 10, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMarcia Smith

There are many such services for kids. One popular one is Biblionaseum.

I'm with you on the back up books and loving e-readers for that very reason. I've even had the thing you mention about not being sure if I read a book before. I was once in a used bookstore I used to do some trading with and came across and interesting title only to find my own name written on the inside cover!

January 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJim

Hi Marcia,

Pre-ebook days, I would make sure to take some tome like James Michner, purchsed used. Then I would tear off each section as I read it to lighten the load! (Maybe I shouldn't be telling a book lover this!)



Thanks for the tip about Biblionaeum. I know Follett also offers a means for kids to discuss books as a part of its circ system. Let's get kids on them and share the joy!


January 13, 2018 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>