Thursday, August 26, 2010

E-Readers and Books

Denise (a co-worker) and I were talking about books and Kindles the other day. She didn't have a Kindle and was asking how I liked mine.  Did I like it better than an actual book?...I do like my Kindle. But do I like it better than an actual book?  No.

Currently E-books are outpacing the sales of books which is no big surprise. They are cheaper and it's a new technology. But books are still magical. Don't you remember when you were little and you held that one special book in your hand? Even before you could really read?

After lunch Denise brought back some wonderful hardbound books that were given to her by her grandmother.  She keeps in her enclosed bookshelf and one of her favorite happens to be Evangeline by Longfellow. What a treat it was to thumb through the weathered, crisp pages with evidence of Denise's grandma's studious mind leaving a pencil trail of notes. I couldn't help myself but to take a whiff of the stale and glorious novel. It really was a beautiful tome. And why don't they have illustrations like that anymore?? I totally appreciated my friend sharing it with me.

I don't think E-readers will be the death of books. My Kindle hasn't really slowed my book-purchasing habit. If anything, it's increased it. I noticed on my Shelfari, I'm way ahead of the number of books I read last year. Perhaps because I purchase books on the Kindle and yet, I haven't stopped frequenting bookstores. When it stops being a fun past time for me and my family, then maybe I'll quit buying books? But for now, I'll just keep piling up the reads on my actual and virtual shelves...and truly, I predict that book sales will pick back up again. It's still an art form that people appreciate - especially the young-uns.

Of course, I could be way off on this. But my intuition tells me otherwise. I guess we'll see.

Just a Quote

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”
-Charles W. Eliot (1834-1926)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

On Sonia Choquette

Three books - I've read three of her books since I saw this inspirational speaker at the ICAN conference last April. And I highly recommend them ALL! Each has a distinctly different flavor, but they all impacted me greatly:

The Answer is Simple..Love Yourself, Live Your Spirit (Five Star with a Heart):  Read this book if you have a great need to boost your self-esteem or just need to find yourself or your spirituality. I found great inner peace. This book remains by my bedside at night.

Your Heart's Desire:  Looking to reach a particular goal, but having trouble getting there? READ THIS BOOK! It will be perfect for you. (Five Star)

Ask Your Guides: Connecting to your Divine Support: This book is nothing what I expected to be, but it was really wonderful. It sort of confirms everything that was taught to us in Sunday School and everything that we innately know, but sometimes choose not to believe. I love this book -- another Five Star and a Heart for Sonia.

Sonia Choquette is an amazing person. I visit her website regularly and check her inspirational comments on facebook. I really hope to meet her someday. But for now, I'll just keep reading her books!

The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard

Success! I got my hubby to read this suspenseful novel. It's definitely a page-turning, difficult-to-put-down tome. And Ms. Pickard is an enjoyable writer to read!

Perhaps I felt closer to this novel because of the small town setting, but I really think the author is masterful job at creating characters you care about. And she creates a few despicable ones - but what I found myself wondering near the end of this book, "should I be caring for...? Maybe he/she is the bad guy?" It adds to the suspense - and the fun of this book!

My rating - a four star, strong recommendation for anyone that wants to get lost in a cliffhanger! Oh, and there is definitely romance in the book...gotta to love that!

Sweetness of the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

I can't remember why I bought this - maybe an NPR recommendation? But the cover is adorable - bright green, dead snipe with a  bright orange stamp sticking through the beak. The artwork is wonderful.

The names in the book are lovely - Flavia De Luce, with sisters Ophelia and Daphne and I really do love Flavia. BUT, I do not for one minute believe that Flavia is eleven years old. Perhaps British children in the 1950's were incredibly cultured and way beyond my level of intelligence. Maybe it's just my blue collar background? Nonetheless, it doesn't take away from the fact that I really enjoyed the mystery behind the novel. And like I said, I really liked Flavia. (I just couldn't believe she was eleven - no matter her level of precociousness.)

And - I was disappointed with myself. Typically, a fairly good sleuth, I missed this one.  Maybe I was too focused on not knowing some of the cultural references to figure out the mystery. Perhaps that's Mr. Bradley's device?

My rating?  3.5 star -- almost 4. But, I would certainly recommend the book!

I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron

Because I was going to be traveling in my car during my two weeks vacation, I went to the library to check out some Bill Bryson audio books. Since our library only had Bill on cassette, I had to find something else. As fate would have it, my eyes were drawn to Nora Ephron's bright yellow cover "I Feel Bad About My Neck" which happenend to be on DVD.  And thank goodness. Because it was so hilarious, that I spent quite a bit of my vacation googling Ms. Ephron on watching her on YouTube and reading her articles in the New Yorker.

And I thought she just made movies. My, that woman is clever.

My review of Nora doesn't really mean squat, but if you're just feeling kind of bad about anything at all, this might be the book or audio for you. I almost recommend audio - hearing it in Nora's voice is par for the course. She doesn't try to cover up any of her heartache. She makes an art of self-deprecation. And she still knows how to laugh. But you know what's best about Nora? Underneath it all, it's quite evident that Nora is still a hopeless romantic. Who can't love this woman??? I just wish I could have coffee with her tomorrow. If I drank coffee.

I'm going to get her other stuff as soon as I get through about five other books waiting to be read. I'm just trying to decide - audio or paper? I'm pretty sure if I buy her books, I can imagine her voice since now every other book I read is now in Nora's voice (even those not written by her).

Rating? Five star and a smiley face. (No neck)

A Bride Most Begrudging by Deeanne Gist

This book got the little heart on my Shelfari bookshelf. Completely enjoyable - but I'm partial to historical fiction with witty dialogue.

Taking place in colonial America (circa 1640's), the story revolves around the tobacco brides that were traded among the Virginian farmers. The premise is that an independent (and educated!) daughter of an earl was mistakenly swept up on a ship to be sold as a bride in exchange for tobacco...well, you can imagine how the rest of the story might go. Yes, a bit predictable. However, the social context and commentary would be great for reading group for discussion. And again, I was completely delighted by a few scenes - the wedding night when the subject of the bible keeps rearing, a dinner fight, Christmas service where the London "scoop neck" has not yet been fashioned and the appearance of the earl himself near the end of the novel.

My rating - a definite five star, with a heart to boot.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Tired of vampire love stories? This YA story is a nice change of pace, especially if you lean toward Team Jacob. I wouldn't put it in the same league as the Hunger Games, but I was certainly compelled to find out what happened between Grace and Sam. Ms. Stiefvater seems particularly talented at creating vivid scenes.
And the ending certainly was set up for a sequel - you have to love that.

I'd give this book a strong 3 star - definitely worth the read.

Book Rap!

By the looks of this blog, it quite appears that nary a book I've read lately. Quite the contrary, actually! But, I'm not very good at updating this blog! I need to figure out how to link this up to Shelfari. Undoubtedly, there's a way and I could probably spend the next three hours trying to figure it out. Instead, I'm going to do a series of mini-posts with mini-reviews of the books I've read this read on for my picks and pans. (Well, I'm too nice to have any pans really.) So, read on for my picks and my super duper picks!