Skip to content
Taking a reading break with my favorite tea - Mighty Leaf tropical green

I think it’s fair to say I have a book habit – I love collecting and reading books. While I still enjoy and buy “real” books, most of my reading has been on a tablet for the past few years. Coffee table books are great, but nothing beats the convenience of carrying a whole bookshelf worth of books in a device smaller than a magazine. You can touch any word and instantly get the definition, add notes and highlights, and change the size and color of the text or background for day or night reading. The days of having the backseat of my car layered with books are over for good.

I started on Amazon’s original Kindle, and upgraded to the Kindle 2 when it was released. However, the first iPad quickly became my reader of choice once I read my first book on it. It was in color, had a bigger screen, and had that Apple elegance and user experience that’s hard to describe until you actually experience it yourself. I even tried the Kindle Fire for a while, but I kept coming back to the iPad and its superior screen and user interface. The new generation of interactive media rich books and magazines for the iPad are great, and I’m sure we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

I enjoy reading all sorts of books that I find interesting and stimulating, and my current iPad 2 makes carrying a large library around extremely easy. I split my time between the Kindle app and Apple’s iBooks app, but prefer the iBooks app for it’s better book management and support for the epub format (the most common format for ebooks). I also like the way it handles PDF files so I use it to store and read my growing PDF library. Most books are now usually available at both Amazon or the iTunes book store, so I usually choose the better price.

While I have not upgraded to the new iPad, photographs on the new retina display look incredible, and that may tip the scales for me at some point in the future.

Anyhow, here’s a list of what I’ve been reading over the past few months, and I’ve got a pretty long que which should keep me busy for the rest of the year.

The Visual Story – Bruce Block – visual design, composition, storytelling, all great concepts explained in this book geared towards film makers, but equally applicable to photographers.

Photographically Speaking – David duChemin – a great primer for beginners and advanced photographers alike, plus many great examples and photo critiques that help understand what makes an image work.

Writing Down the Bones -Natalie Goldberg – explore the inner workings of the creative process, and so applicable to photography.

Van Gogh – Stephen Naifeh – an in-depth biography of this influential but mentally disturbed painter, lots of great insight and historical perspective on art at the end of the 19th century. I love reading biographies, and this one is one of my favorites.

Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson – amazing story of tis iconic thinker and his influence on all of our lives over the past 25 years.

No Death, No Fear – Thich Nhat Hanh –  teacher and poet examines our concepts of death, fear, and the very nature of existence.

Would love to hear your comments and feedback, or questions in general about the iPad – thanks!


Experience your work in the real world. The Printmaker Masterclass is live and growing! Learn more here.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. I have not yet downloaded an ibook, mainly because I have had difficulties reading magazines, but I’d love to try. If I purchase a “kindle edition” will I need a special app to read it on my ipad? I must say, I do love your selection – have read several of those in print. But I can see the benefit of carrying one lightweight “reader” instead of several bulky ones.

    1. Hi Chris – thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments. There are good magazines and not so good magazines for the iPad. My favorites are the Zinio App (which allows you to access hundreds of magazines), National Geographic, Wired, and the New Yorker. Those are all interactive, are very easy to read, and look great. If you buy a Kindle version (.mobi) of a mag or book, yes you will need the Kindle app which I mentioned – it is very good and free. I’l have more posts on there iPad soon…


  2. Robert,
    I have the latest, new iPad, and it’s my first iPad. Can’t really thoroughly compare the previous generations based on personal experience but for consuming information, playing occasional games, and some simple photo editing, it’s a great device. I’ve used a Nook Color for some time now and at times prefer that over the iPad for reading. The Nook is smaller and lighter and feels more like a book. Text is definitely clear and crisp on the new iPad. High resolution images look great when filling the screen. I’m sure if you get the new one you won’t be disappointed.

    1. Hi Michael, thanks for the feedback! I’m hot sure there is a bad iPad, they are all amazing devices, and we use the 1st and 2nd generation iPad’s here in the house heavily. Yes I agree a smaller book size is often better, but for magazines I think the iPad is hard to beat. I did try a Kindle Fire for a while, and while I liked the smaller size, the whole user interface and experience of the iPad (and Apple products in general) is just so much more enjoyable. There are rumors of a 7″ iPad coming soon, so that may really shake things up in the tablet market. Thanks again.


  3. I appreciate you sharing your reading list. I just got Photographically Speaking and I like the creative exercises that David has at the end of the chapters and his thought process on his 20 photographs. I don’t have it for the iPad. I still enjoy going to the bookstore grabbing a book that sparks my curiosity.

    1. Hi Clark – yes I do enjoy visiting book stores myself, it’s a pastime for me! Browsing a book shelf is a great way to see what catches my interest, but as far as having access to many books, the iPad is hard to beat. Thanks for the feedback!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *