Sunday, 6 July 2014

busy work

Hello, friends and neighbors!

Just wanted to say a few words about my new hobby - reading! Now, before all my relatives start laughing, let me say that while I USED to read all the time, I got out of the habit for quite a while. But in the last few months, I have rediscovered the joy of reading, thanks in large part to my "new" phone (got it in December) and Kindle for Android, by Amazon. In case you don't know, Amazon sells Kindles as a stand-alone tablet-type device, but they also provide free Kindle programs for computers and all types of smart phones. Beyond this, they offer a multitude of books for free on the Kindle platform.  Many of the free books are titles that are aged out of the copyright system and are public domain - you can also get these on a few other platforms both online and by "apps." But many other books are offered on Amazon for free for a single day/days/week in order to boost "sales" of said book and make it more noticeable to the general public. I do feel obliged to mention that Kindle works great on my phone, but often hangs up on my PC.

So anyway, I wanted to write a review of several of the books individually, but realizing that won't happen, I thought it would be nice to at least mention some of them.

Just finished The Memoirs of a Prague Executioner by Josef Svatek. Maybe I should have said that my tastes have become more eclectic of late. :) This is "A historical novel based on actual events" set in the mid 1500s to early 1600s and gives a bit of history and insight into how society worked in that place and time. It was a little gruesome in places, but not gratuitously so, and I enjoyed the overall idea of the book (dignity and justice were strong themes).

Veggies NOT Included by Christine Lee. A story/guide to losing weight by counting calories rather than sticking to any particular format. Ms. Lee lost 130 lbs while eating fast food and ice cream nearly every day.

The Man at the Door by Elizabeth Carr. This was an engaging but unbelievable story supposedly set in Europe at the time of Napoleon, but coming across as fantasy rather than historical fiction. There was a strong theme of overcoming abuse, and choosing what to believe about yourself rather than accepting what others say about you.

Prism by Rachel Moschell. The story left a few gaps, and went from fiction to fantastic at the end, but I enjoyed it for a light read and wouldn't mind seeing the sequel.  About a group of missionaries in Bolivia and a group of "We're not terrorists" guys-who-blow-things-up-to-restore-justice-in-the-world based in Pakistan, and how their lives crossed and were changed forever by a miracle and intervention from a secretive peaceful organization. 

The Planner by Alexandria Swann. A modern-day dystopian novel. This one agitated me a bit because all these terrible things were happening, and the main characters just took it all in stride. Towards the end of the book the lights started coming on for them, and the stage was set for the next book.

Foreclosed by Traci Hilton. This was supposed to be a mystery in the guise of "If Legally Blond had been about a realtor." Not so much. The plot wasn't near as mysterious as the behavior of the characters (not like real people at all).

City of God by R.S. Ingermanson. Some guys build a time machine and send an unsuspecting girl back to Jerusalem, A.D. 57. They both follow, and one of them is a bad guy! shrug. I really don't have a feeling about this one way or the other.

Prophet by R. J. Larson. Fantasy, Old Testamentish, about a girl called to represent God to her people. I liked it mostly, as the story was engaging and the characters interesting, if not entirely believable. The horse was cute and would make for a good movie. 

Asylum Harbor by Traci Hohenstein. A detective is called to investigate a girl gone missing from a cruise ship and uncovers a drug ring. Not a lot to it - fairly light and predictable. 

Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell. This was interesting. Written 1864-66, parts were very dull and parts were quite insightful. The author died before finishing it, and it still came to 800 pages. A quote I shared on Facebook, because it puts well my own opinion on arguments: "I like everybody to have an opinion of their own; only when my opinions are based on thought and experience, which few people have had equal opportunities of acquiring, I think it is but proper deference in others to allow themselves to be convinced." :) I did find it rather hard to believe that a formerly healthy young woman would become so upset by a friend's death that she would be sent to her sick bed for most of a year, and everyone around her would be accepting if not supportive. 

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself by Harriet Jacobs. Wow. Eye-opening for anybody who tries to think that slavery was somehow an acceptable way of life. 

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Another long one, also with bits of insight and bits that I just skimmed over. I could have done without Anna herself, but enjoyed some of the other characters. I enjoyed the glimpses of Russian life and the looks at human nature that were offered.   

A few others were started, but either the Kindle conversion was too poor or they failed to hold my interest. And I've read a few books in real life, but I'm tired of typing now.


Wil said...

"Kindle for Android"

Marline has enjoyed many books this way, including a few she paid for. Oddly, many of them don't fit on the screen well, or can't zoom. Makes for a frustrating read.

"...losing weight..."

I often joke with Marline about my (not real) theory that all that matters is *mass* -- calories, fat, sugar, carbs, etc. are irrelevant -- eat more mass, gain weight; eat less mass, lose weight.

"...all these terrible things were happening, and the main characters just took it all in stride..."

Sounds like real life. :-(

"...behavior of the characters (not like real people at all)..."

That always bugs me when authors can't create believable characters (when they're clearly trying to). On the other hand, living my life has taught me that some real people are less believable than most fictional characters.

"Asylum Harbor" -- your description of it reminds me of the game "Beyond Balderdash" and some of the silly movie plots.

"...slavery was somehow..."

I actually see the argument fairly often in the news, from allegedly educated people, that "slavery wasn't that bad" (just Google those exact words), including viable candidates to high office. If slavery was just fine, I don't see why the founding fathers of the U.S. argued over it so vehemently

Thanks for these mini-reviews, and I'm glad to know you're still reading. :-)

Anonymous said...

That's a lot of reading! Wow! I just finished a book I bought in 2011. Only finished because I bought another I want to read. I have about six on my iPad just sitting there. Got almost all of them free. jcr