Sunday, August 26, 2012

Kindle Love

After resisting for a long time, I broke down and bought a Kindle earlier this summer. I wasn't sure I'd like the digital format, since I'm a big fan of the tactile quality of paper pages.


I love my kindle. I wouldn't have made it through my hospital stay after the c-section without it. (And since the c-section was entirely unplanned, it was fortuitous that I had my kindle with me with multiple reading options). Now that I'm regularly feeding a baby, I love that the kindle stays open, unlike a regular book, so it's easy to read with one hand. I realize these aren't the reasons most people buy a Kindle, but they've worked for me.

There are a few drawbacks. 1) It's way too easy to buy books on Amazon with their 1-click option. I'm not sure I want to know how much money I've spent on books in the last two months. 2) It's also harder to get library books on Kindle than it is at the library. 3) This probably isn't a drawback for a lot of people, but I have a bad habit of reading ahead in books (yes, I'm one of those annoying people who will sometimes read the ending before I finish the book). I like to be able to see the shape of a book as I read. It's really hard to read ahead on the Kindle--which is probably a good thing in the end.

I also like that the Kindle helps me remember what books I've read, since the list is handily available when I turn on the device.

Here are some books I've read in the last two weeks:

Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen. I'd heard good things about this book and I loved it. I loved the language and the characters, but I especially loved the historical detail she put into the novel. I'd never known much (or cared) about the world of the train circus, but she made me care. It was fascinating. (It also clarified one of the words from the movie Dumbo that I'd never understood as a child: the men putting up the tents sing that they're "happy, hearty, roustabouts." Roustabout was a new term for me).

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson. I wasn't sure I'd like this, given what I knew of the content (rape, among other violent acts). I'm not normally a fan of gritty books, either. But I enjoyed this one. I thought Lisbeth Salander was a fascinating character, and I found the psychological mystery that takes up most of the book an intriguing one. I'm not sure that I'd hunt down the other books in the series, but if I come across them at the library I'd probably pick them up.

A Bone to Pick, Charlaine Harris. Second Aurora Teagarden mystery. While I like the characters here, this didn't seem like much of a mystery, which was a little disappointing. I was also frustrated by the fact that, after ending book one with Aurora in the enviable position of having two men vying for her affection, book two picks up with both relationships out of the picture. I would have liked to see that development, instead of having it happen of stage, as it were. I still think I'd read more, since I'm a sucker for cozies.

Speaking of cozy mysteries--I also read the newest Donna Andrews' Meg Langslow books: Some Like it Hawk. While I always enjoy reading about Meg's zany family and friends, this book just wasn't quite as much fun as others, although there were parts about the premise (the town archivist has barricaded himself in the town archives for the last 12 months after the evil financial company takes over all of the public town buildings, like City Hall) that were funny.

Finally, thanks to Amazon's 2.99 price for most of Georgette Heyer's Kindle books, I've been rereading some old favorites of hers: Frederica, Death in the Stocks, and Duplicate Death (although I have to say I like her regencies more than her mysteries).

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Catching Up

It's been a while since I posted--with good reason. This has been a crazy summer, given the premature birth of my son, his long hospital stay, and our adjustment at home.

But, I have been reading. Quite a bit, it turns out (funny how much time you have when feeding a baby or pumping milk for a feeding). I don't have time to review all of them in-depth, but here are some of the books I've read the past month.

Lindsay Leavitt's Farewell to Charms, the final book in her Princess for Hire series (very cute books; I imagine they'd be popular with pre-teen girls).

Deborah Harkness, A Discovery of Witches. Very cool book--even for people who are tired of vampire love-stories. Even though there are vampires, demons, and witches here, the academic geek in me loved the arcane trivia and the fact that the early part of the novel takes place at Oxford, in the Ashmolean museum.

Charlaine Harris, Real Murders. An interesting cozy mystery where a small town psycho recreates famous historic murders. I think I'll like the others, too, but the end of this book (which puts a 6-year-old in jeopardy) hit a little too close to home for me to be entirely comfortable with the story.

Stephanie Perkins, Lola and the Boy Next Door. I really enjoyed Perkins' Anna and the French Kiss, so I was excited to find this one the library. I liked this one, but didn't love it. Lola is an interesting character, and I loved Cricket (the titular boy next door), but I didn't love some of Lola's decisions.

Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why--major YA book, about a girl who commits suicide and then sends tapes, explaining why, to the 13 people involved in her death. Interesting and harrowing at the same time.

G. M. Malliet, Death of  Cozy Writer. I picked this up because it was compared to Agatha Cristie, and while I can see some resemblance (the upper-class characters in England), this was just okay for me.

Maeve Binchey, Minding Frankie, like all of Binche's books, this involves a vivid cast of characters and some heart-warming moments. I find it a little ironic that I read this shortly before Binchey passed away, since I haven't read any of her books for several years. But I liked it.

Ali Wentworth, Ali in Wonderland. I don't often read memoirs, so I'm not sure why I picked up this one (for a woman I don't really know much about, no less). It was a quick read, but I didn't love it.

Elle Lothlorien, The Frog Prince. Very light-weight, very predictable. Not sure I'd recommend it.

Myra McEntire, Hourglass. I know lots of people love this, but it didn't really work for me. I liked the characters, but I felt that the mood of the first part of the book didn't fit the tension/action of the second part of the book. Plus, I got irritated with the way the hero kept refusing to tell the heroine relevant information.

Carla Kelly, Borrowed Light. This won the Whitney award this year for best LDS romance--and I was surprisingly moved by it. This is a departure for Kelly, who usually writes regency romances, but I enjoyed the frontier story and the gradual transformations about the characters. It was less a love story and more a story of two people growing together.

Rachel Cohn, Dash and Lily's Book of Dares. I kept thinking, as I read this, that it reminded me of the movie Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist--but it wasn't until I finished the book that I realized why: Cohn wrote the book that the movie was based on. This was a fun, smart, unusual YA book about a girl and boy who meet when the girl leaves a notebook with a dare in a bookstore--and the boy finds it and leaves his own clues in the notebook.

Alexander McCall Smith, The Unbearable Lightness of Scones. Another 44 Scotland Street novel. I love Bertie--he's such a funny, sweet, sad, precocious six-year old. And now that my own son is six, I appreciate Bertie even more. The other characters are interesting, but Bertie is my favorite.

There are a few other books I've read in here too, but I can't remember what they are at the moment.