Michael M House

Michael Mabbutt is a devoted booklover who had no reason to read digitally. None at all. That is, until “she” wanted to hit the gym early and the bedside light kept her awake far too late at night.

“When I was a young boy I was nicknamed Bookworm,” says Mabbutt, who grew up in Wiltshire, England, moved to Canada in 1976 and has just recently retired, or, more literally, has entered years when he can read full-time. “I have to have a book with me at all times. A book is like a safety net, I always want to have one so if I had nothing to do or if I had to wait for something, I can just open my book.”

His early love was Dickens, the books so descriptive he could feel he was walking on those streets and experiencing those events. “You are a party to the story, not a third party,” he says. Then he found Stephen King and read practically everything he wrote, even checking out his playlists and other writing outside of the books. That led to an interest in thrillers.

Maybe it’s love, or maybe it’s age, but his tastes have started to change.

“I still read a lot of thrillers though now I find I want to read things that are a little softer. I like local stories set in England, or stories about everyday life. The thing is, I read the first few chapters of all kinds of books and if I can’t get into a book at that point I move on. I figure there are millions of books in the world, there’s lots to read and I shouldn’t waste any time on something that isn’t captivating me.”

Michael M Bench

Mabbutt’s wide-ranging tastes and voracious reading habits might make him a perfect candidate for digital reading. Digital reading, whether on a tablet or smartphone, or an eReader, means you can download new books to your library instantly, you can carry all of your books with you all the time – but technology was never his thing.

“I am no technical wizard,” said Mabbutt. “I’m always afraid I’m going to press the wrong button and get into the wrong area and not be able to get back again. I had some trepidations about trying to read on an eReader. I thought books might become a chore rather than a reading experience.”

Once he had an eReader in his hands, though, it didn’t seem so scary. His books were displayed on the home page. The light was easy to find and adjust for nighttime reading.

All in all, it was a fairly smooth entry into the digital world. But that was mostly because of the book itself.

“The first book I read on the eReader was The Late Show by Michael Connelly and it was just tremendous, a real page-turner and I got into it right away,” says Mabbutt.

He found there was an upside to the eReader he wasn’t expecting. He sets it up on the table at breakfast time (the sleep cover converts into a book stand) “and breakfast is quite different now that I don’t have to hold a book in one hand. I find that I can read a book faster now, and I am reading more.”

Michael M Park

He has also caught on to the fact that there’s no need to choose which book will be the day’s safety net. “I used to take a book with me everywhere and now I take my eReader. I love to walk, and will stop and read and then carry on. I was just thinking the other day -- I’m carrying a library as opposed to a book and I don’t have to panic if I finish one, I can just start another.”

And what of “she”? “Cheryl does enjoy the fact that she can get to sleep when she wants without the light on. And I like the fact I can read as long as I want. I can even fall asleep reading and the device shuts itself off. I’m learning more benefits to this every day.”

Michael Mabbutt’s Recommended Reads

The Old Curiosity Shop

The Bourne Legacy

The Eagle Has Landed

The Late Show

The Vanishing Point

The Illuminations


or anything by Stephen King