On the 18th of February this year, I was sitting in a rather chilly Buchanan Bus Station, waiting for nearly 11pm to strike so that I could get on the bus that was going to take me all the way down to Bristol, where I would change and head on to Cardiff.
As with my upcoming repeat version of this journey, except this time it'll involve air travel instead of motorways, I took my Kindle. There's something nice about knowing you've got thousands of books at your disposal, without having to pay for three of four extra suitcases on your journey.
I'd finished reading if... and scrolled to the very end of my 'Recent Books' list to select my next bit of reading material. I feel like I should add here, this is my current method for selecting what to read. I've had a Kindle since 2012 now and there are a huge number of free books I've downloaded but never gotten around to reading, all the while I'm downloading more and more books. To address this problem, I simply select the ones which have been hanging around on my Kindle the longest. It seems fairest, like they're in some sort of waiting list.
This method presented me with a nice short, 66-page read, Phantasmagoria and Other Poems by Lewis Carroll.
I was glad when this came up as the next one to read because I was selecting it to kill some time while I waited for my coach. I didn't want anything that I was going to get too engrossed in, nothing worse than rushing for your bus. I also didn't want anything too long. I wanted something which I could dip into if it did take me longer to read, not anything which was going to become a chore to read during downtime while I was at my Mum's.
It was freezing cold in the bus station and this definitely helped keep my mind off of it for about an hour. All of the poems were familiar to me as I've got them in my Jabberwocky poetry book. I think that's the complete collection of Carroll's poems. Personally I find them a lot easier to read on the page than on the screen. As is often the case with Kindle books, particularly the free ones, the formatting can go a little screwy at times.
I helpfully made a note in my book journal about two of the poems, but didn't include the titles so I'm not sure which ones they were. One was about a ghost, which I believe is 'Phantasmagoria' itself. The other one was about how to write a poem which some Googling has informed me is called 'Poeta Fit, Non Nascitur'. Thanks, Google.
This did make for a nice quick read, as I said, it's only 66 pages. It helped that I was familiar with the poems as well, though there were some, like the riddle and acrostic poems which I felt were lost on me. I know I've complained about that before though.
I used the same method to select my next book, this time at Bristol Bus Station as I prepared for the final leg of my journey.
It's broken down into a variety of different topics on things like relationships, work, finances, and home life. Most begin with a quiz, your answers to which determine what sort of a person you are or your thoughts and feelings on a subject, from there you're given a page to go to in order to find out how to fix things or improve yourself. Kind of like a self-help choose your own adventure book.
I fully expected to find this book kind of funny and kooky. I've always avoided self-help books for that very reason. I was sure I wouldn't be able to take it seriously and it would be an amusing little read for me while I was away. In actual fact, I found it quite interesting and I did genuinely enjoy it.
I liked the way that it was organised with the quizzes to find out your 'type' then tips to help you develop. Of course, I did the quizzes but then I just read all of the suggestions anyway. Some of the advise was quite similar and so I think it could be applied to more than one 'type' of person anyway. I think it's the sort of book I could dip back into again and make some notes on in my Bullet Journal.
One complaint I had with the quizzes was that they weren't very consistent. I kind of felt like they'd been compiled from women's magazines or something. Some you had to count the number of each letter that you scored, some you got points for each answer you selected, some were true or false. Not really a problem in itself, except that it didn't tell you which sort you were doing until the end, so there was a bit of flipping back and forth at those bits.
It probably would've worked better in print copy than Kindle version as well because the ideas weren't grouped together. So you'd do a quiz and then one outcome was at the front of the book, one was right after the quiz, one was somewhere near the end. It meant a lot of jumping around and you couldn't really read it from beginning to end because it jumped around so much.
I can't say that I've really changed anything as a result of reading this book, but it's the sort of book I might revisit in the future.