I’d been meaning to try it. E-reading. In theory, I knew it could be sensational.

In the ’90s audiobooks were often of poor production quality, and those I listened to were most useful as sleeping aids; audiobooks now are consistently quality productions and can be truly outstanding.

Things change, right?

So I never dismissed the idea of e-reading, because even though I hadn’t enjoyed reading the classics online on a computer screen, I knew it would be different with a device I could hold in my hand.

Features like page tinting and turning, virtual bookshelves and annotations? Sure, I’m still in the hold-the-book-in-your-hands reader, but those bits sound fun too

It’s hard to shift habits though, and I needed a good reason to move from the “someday” to the “now” camp.

Fierce Ink RedekopI couldn’t have predicted that Colleen McKie’s Fierce Ink Press would offer the incentive I needed: a short non-fiction piece by Corey Redekop, who wrote one of my favourite books from 2012.

Take one impatient reader, who has already read Shelf Monkey and has absolutely inhaled Husk.

Dangle new work only available as an e-publication in front of her, Corey Redekop’s “Cheating at the End of the World”.

And watch her squirm.

Maybe I need to accept that I am the sort of person who doesn’t make changes without serious coaxing.

I remember a French teacher encouraging me to read one of my favourite books in French to try to improve my vocabulary. I picked up Anne of Green Gables, but I set it aside almost immediately; I could read Anne in English, and had obsessively collected multiple copies of this book, so I wasn’t about to torture myself with taking twenty minutes to read a single page of the novel in French.

But our public library system didn’t have all of Marguerite Abouet’s Aya series (coming-of-age graphic novels illustrated by  Clément Oubrerie) in translation, so I ploddingly read the volumes in French which were not available in English because I desperately wanted to follow the story.

When necessary, I will make a change. And a press like Fierce Ink offered the perfect encouragement.

Colleen McKie and Kimberly Walsh founded this press to showcase high quality books of fiction and short non-fiction pieces by East Coast Canadian authors who write for young adults. (About Fierce Ink)

Colleen McKie edits the non-fiction series in their digital imprint of which Corey Redekop’s piece is one work.

“Fierce Shorts is a digital imprint of Fierce Ink Press featuring creative non-fiction pieces from some of the best authors on the East Coast of Canada. Inspired by Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” campaign these shorts offer glimpses into real teen experiences from successful adults. Partial proceeds from sales go toward a youth-related charity of each author’s choice.”

“Cheating at the End of the World” showcases the author’s humour and honesty.

In the blogpost announcing the work’s publication, Corey Redekop describes its genesis.

“’I’ve been struggling with some past guilt issues for some time now,’ Redekop says. ‘I thought writing them down might ease my conscience. It hasn’t, not even close. Please enjoy my pain, at least one of us will.’

There is no way to discuss the guilt behind this particular piece of writing without revealing the act(s), but the piece is not just about the details but about the universal experiences associated with coming-of-age.

“There’s no point in sugarcoating it: the teenage years are, for many, the tenth circle of hell.”

He has a way with words, doesn’t he? Forthrightness twinned with vulnerability.

“Grade nine was to be a new epoch, that first bold step toward maturity, the entrance to a world where voices would deepen and hair would grow in places unbecoming to talk about in polite society. But I didn’t fool myself into thinking it would be that different from grade eight. There would still be the same ratio of perfects to the rest of us and I’d still be me: introverted and often miserable.”

This is a piece rooted in ages-and-ages-hence, told from the perspective of one who has survived those introverted and miserable years.

But it is also a piece which will appeal to younger readers who are still inhabiting such unwelcoming spaces.

“My parents made the best of what they had, trying to better their circumstances through education, and the fact that they didn’t implode under the stress is nothing less than a miracle.
  When you get to adulthood, you will understand this.
  When you get to adulthood.
I was nowhere near adulthood.
And I was pissed. Right. Off.”

It is not a piece which promises answers, but one which engages readers in the process of remembering, in the depiction of one writer’s experience of the tenth circle of hell, in such a way that it is impossible not to read the piece in a single sitting. (Other works in the series, and the Fierce Ink catalogue, which contains any temptations are available here.)

It was the perfect introduction to reading in a different format; it seems that I enjoy a good e-story just as much when curled on the couch with a tablet as I enjoy a tree-story in a book.

This is the first of a series of posts this week in which I chat about new reading habits.

How about you? Where do you stand (er, sit) on e-reading? Do you do less or more of it than you might have once thought? Have you made any other changes to your reading habits?