• 27 . 01 . 11
  • On my recent joyful rediscovery of reading, a simple and inestimable pleasure that I let alone for too long, and a new bare-bones WordPress plugin I cobbled together tonight to list recently read books.

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Now Reading… More

In keeping with my aim to read and write something every day, I’ve been busy putting the new Kindle to good use. It remains the only tech purchase I’ve made that has exceeded my expectations, and for which I have no buyer’s remorse. I got out of the habit of carrying books with me, but with the Kindle there’s no excuse. I’ve rediscovered the act of reading for pleasure and have largely replaced time-wasting iPhone games like Angry Birds and Cut The Rope with something more meaningful. Suddenly time on the bus is eagerly anticipated, rather than avoided, and the empty satisfaction of beating some poor AI on Monopoly is replaced by the genuine joy of finishing a novel.

I was using Amazon’s Reading List application on LinkedIn and writing short reviews there, but I quite like the idea of having a history of what I’ve read on my own site. There are a couple of “now reading” plugins for WordPress, but none of them really did what I wanted, so I decided to scratch the itch and put something together. 30 minutes later and you can see the results in the sidebar on the homepage! Writing plugins for WordPress hasn’t really changed much since I was active in that area a few years ago, but the main posts table now seems to be used for all kinds of content. In that spirit, I just created a custom post type of ‘book’, inserted some data into the database and wrote a little widget to extract it. Reusing the guid column for ISBNs lets me make use of the wonderful Open Library for covers and the post content just becomes the text. I suppose I could have monetised it with Amazon links, but I’m sure I can live without the 5 bucks that would bring in a year! There’s a little more to do yet, like flesh out a main library URL, and introduce a simple backend page for adding books, but for now it does what I want.

Now I only wish I’d done this years ago, as the list appears pretty thin at the moment! I’ll just take that as yet another incentive to read more!