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What to Do When You Can't Leave a Book Behind

I've been running this site for well over a year now, and have been thinking about it or working on it for close to two years.

Given that, you’d think I’d find it easy to explain why I like short ebooks enough to run a website dedicated to them. But I always struggle with that question. This site makes me no money (in fact, it costs me money, since I pay for the hosting), and although I've met some wonderful new people through this project, it is not bringing me fame or acclaim, either. So I’m not really doing this for any personal gain, financial or otherwise.

The site started as a learning project, something I could build entirely on my own, thereby forcing me to update some web skills that I’d let get stale. It is past that stage now, and yet I keep going. This site has reaffirmed my belief that content is king, and it turns out I’m surprisingly dedicated to the content of this site. I truly do love short ebooks, and want to convince more people to read them, so that more people will write them, thereby giving me more books to read.

So what is it about short ebooks, anyway? I've tried before to enumerate my reasons for loving short ebooks, but that is not a complete list. I've left off at least one reason I love short ebooks: as I mentioned in an earlier post, they make excellent palate cleansers. For as long as I can remember reading, I can remember that unsettled feeling that I sometimes get after finishing a really great book. I want to read, but I've finished my book and am not yet ready to leave the world of that book behind and immerse myself in another.

Short ebooks provide the perfect solution to that dilemma: now, when I can't bring myself to start a new long book, I pick a short ebook to read. I’ll often choose a non-fiction one, and can enjoy reading it without displacing the wonderful world from the book I've just finished. After a couple of days, I’m usually ready to commit to another long book again.

Sometimes, I choose something that is completely different from the book I've just finished, and sometimes I choose something that is similar. For instance, I recently read Cover Her Face, P.D. James’ first book. I’m the sort of reader that has a hard time putting a good mystery down, so I’d read it rather quickly. I desperately wanted to read another mystery, but couldn’t afford to lose another couple of days to immersive reading. So I chose a short mystery from the backlog of short ebooks on my reader (This is when I read the Judge Dee mysteries.)

Similarly, I wanted more fantasy to read after finishing N.K Jemisin’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. I wanted to start the next book in the series, but knew that would be unwise since I needed to go to work the next day. So I started Long Hidden, a wonderful collection of stories put out by Crossed Genres. This turned out to be the type of collection that I want to read slowly, to allow each story some time to bounce around in my head. I’m still reading it, although I’m starting to think that I should perhaps read it more quickly, so that I can post it as a recommendation sooner rather than later!

This palate-cleansing function is one of my favorite things about short ebooks, but as those earlier posts show, it is not my only reason for loving them. Of course, someone asking me about my reasons is not generally looking for an entire blog post as an answer, so I generally say something about how they let me try new authors and even new genres without eating up a lot of my limited reading time- which is also true. But as my kids get older and I have more time to read again, it is increasingly the palate-cleansing function that keeps me loading more short ebooks on my reader, ready for use whenever I can’t quite bring myself to leave a book I've just finished behind.

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