Read the Old-Fashioned Way

I am a die hard reader.   I read daily at least an hour, sometimes more if I can fit it in.     In the days before the e-reader I had piles of books beside my bed, beside my chair and they filled a whole bookcase  in the family room.    Since I made the conversion to the e-reader my pile though invisible to RangerSir is larger than ever.   I still keep one shelf of books in the case of a power failure.    It is full of those lifetime keepers, but also a few books that are  pulp fiction, because if was an apocalyptic event we would need some levity.   My paper collection of books  is more discriminating than the collection on my e-reader because I am limited to one shelf since I seldom read hard copy any more.   This week for the first time in a long time I am utilizing my safety net of real books.

how_to_read_a_pile_of_books

I am rediscovering the paper book right now because I am without an e-reader for the first time in many years.   My current reader after years of daily use for at least an hour was starting to need to be charged more than once a week.  It wasn’t at the end of its lifespan, but for the first time I was becoming aware that there will be an end in the future. As a result I was toying with upgrading, but nothing had gotten me off the dime to do so.    E-readers are not like computers or phones, they are simple one use devices.  There are few changes and most of they don’t make a big difference so we tend not to upgrade as often as manufactures would like us to do so.   This week Amazon gave me the push I need they were offering to buy my device and give me an additional $20 e-reader credit.   For me that was $55, more than half of the price of a new one.   The sucky part was that they did not give you all this wonderful credit until they first had the old one in there hands.   This was major stupid.   I sent my old one back last week and now I wait for it to arrive at Amazon, credit to appear on my account and then I can get my new one.   I suspect I will be without an e-reader for a little over a week.   I realized the inconvenience already when I was in a waiting room and realized  my reader wasn’t in my purse and I had not brought my book along because it would not fit in my purse.  Last night I put a paperback in the Goodwill box because the font was just too small. The book had potential but event with cheaters reading was a struggle.  I did not realize until I was holding a book again that the Kindle really was much easier to manage than an 800 plus page book.

I am hoping today my UPS tracking tag tells me that Amazon has received my old e-reader and I soon get a new one.   I knew how much I liked my e-reader, but never as much as now.

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Can’t Put It Down

Anyone who enjoys reading, knows the feeling of reading a book they can not put down.   After waiting months to get “Gone Girl” from the library, my number finally came up, and I checked out the long awaited book.

I just finished the book this morning.   For me it was a bit of a slow start when I first picked it up, then that all changed.     I can say  it twisted and turned more than I ever imagined, even as I turned each page.  When I thought I had imagined the worst and what could come next, I was thrown a curve ball.   Soon I was reading it in the morning before I got out of bed and it was the last thing I read at night.   I forgot my Kindle at home when I went to get my hair done, and found myself downloading it to an app on my phone.   There I sat reading it on my phone while I sat under the drier.   That was a new first for me.     I was reading it on the treadmill.    I was sneaking it in whenever I found a chance.      Now that I finished it,  all I can say is whoa they are nuts.

I am now ready to watch the movie.   Not that I expect it to be the same, movies always change things some to make it work and flow for a movie, but  I will know what is really going in the character’s crazy minds.   I will fill in any blanks the movie doesn’t.   I am thinking that this movie is this generations “Fatal Attraction.”

Now I am on to a lighter, mindless, fun, easy read.   Possibly off to edit and work on National Novel Writing Month, unfinished novel.   It is time to look at finishing or at least moving that along in the process.

Book Clubs

I have never belonged to a book club, but I am thinking it may be time to try one.   I am a veracious reader.   I have a small stash of hardcover books that I likely will never get rid of and another small sash of books in case we have a holocaust and my paperwhite is rendered useless.   I read a little of everything because it challenges me and how I look at things.   I also read a diverse selection of books because  I hate it when folks condemn a book based on what they have heard or someone has told them.   I don’t want to be one of them, a person who is swayed without information.   I read books from the library, freebies from Amazon, borrow from others on the ebook site lendle and  buy a few as well.   So the idea of reading a book that someone suggests and getting together to discuss it has some appeal.

On the other hand I am a little leery as I am one of those people who goes a little bonkers when people say things in the book represent something.   The Old Man and the Sea by Earnest Hemingway, according to everyone is full of symbolism.   Unless Earnest himself told us that, how do we know?   Aren’t we putting things in his mouth and telling others what it suppose to be?    If you say when you read this it gives you this impression, or you see a parallelism, to me that is ok because  it is your point of view.    But for everyone to say that this is what Earnest meant, well that gets me going.

The local library has a book club that meets once a month.   Next month’s book is A Woman’s Crusade: Alice Paul and the Battle for the Ballot.   I was introduced to Alice Paul when I watched Iron Jawed Angels and have since read other books about Alice Paul.   I think it would be interesting to read another book about her and then discuss it with others. This sounds like a safe intro to a book club.  I guess I  have made up my mind to give this a go.   Time to buy a new book and set aside some time a month from now to go the library to meet some new folks and see what this book club concept is all about.      I will let you know how it goes.

All Books are Not the Same

 “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” ― Jorge Luis Borges

With the advent of the E-reader life has changed for want-to-be writers.   It has become easy to by pass the gatekeepers of what gets published and what doesn’t,  the editors of all the publishing houses, and self-publish.

In some ways this era of self-publishing  is good, because the big publishing houses have not always done a great job of recognizing a new author or genre.   The famous 50 shades series began as self-published after being turned down by big print publishing houses.   It was only after she self-published did she hit the NYT best seller list.    I think part of it is because because this major publishers want to find that next piece of great literature, or Pulitzer prize winning title.

Most people read for relaxation, and what they read is a guilty pleasure.  Most of what ends up on best seller lists never makes any literary milestones other than selling a ton of books.     Mr. Ranger Sir reads classic sci-fi, though that genre is becoming so much more segmented and specialized I am not sure what sci-fi means any more.  A friend reads everything Nora Roberts publishes.  Another family member devours biographies everything from celebrities to historic people who changed the world.   A cousin enjoys Christian historical fiction.  My mom and her group of friends swap pulp romances that they read by the hundreds.     I enjoy the “who done it?” with an imperfect middle aged female protagonist.

If you are a veracious reader it also an expensive habit.   Prior to the E-reader you depended on friends sharing books,  used book stores, rummage sales and your local library to make your addiction affordable.   With the E-reader it takes a little more effort to keep your reading habit from sending you to the poor farm. E-books are often not lendable, or if so only once!   Libraries are as a good of a deal as they were before you had an E-reader, you just need to get signed up and start checking books out.   There are lending sites for eBooks out there, though not widely use I have found success with one (lendle.me) and will continue to put my purchased books out there, lending and borrowing titles.  I also watch the daily Amazon top 100 free books.   I have picked up titles that big names are a giving away for an hour or two.    I have also taken out many unknowns.   Some have prompted me to buy others by the same author.   Others were worth just what I paid for them nothing.    After a chapter and it is clearly not worth the read, I go to the end, give it one star and delete it.   Without taking a minute to rate the book, you are doing other readers and the author a disservice.   We all need feedback.   If you want to write a review go for it, but just giving it a rating helps to let folks know if free is good or not.   If you are the only one star it won’t make a difference, if you are part of a crowd who was disappointed the rating will help tell the story.

In the meantime summer is a great time for reading and relaxing may you find a great guilty pleasure.

New Discovery for my Kindle

I read daily and love my Kindle.  I take it with me everywhere I go, and as a result the amount I read has gone up over prior reading habits when I only read print books.   I have found new authors and tried books in genres that I don’t normally choose.

I was a person who spend hours and lots of money at the used book store.    I now needed to find similar ways to prevent spending hundreds of dollars a year in books for my reader.   I get free books from Amazon, and check out books the local public library.   One of the mysteries with a Kindle is how to leverage the loan option when I am not sure who would want to borrow a book or how I find a book I want to borrow.

Enter two websites who match make for loaning ebooks possible.

lendle.me

booklending.com

Neither one has a huge database, but I have signed up for both.   I am not sure it is the right thing to do because ebooks can only  be lent once.   How do you manage lending if you have the same book registered on two sites.    Many publishers and authors don’t allow any lending at all.   It is a new area and they are feeling their way around the ereader concept.  No  books being recycled like at the used book store over and over.

So far here are my impressions of the two lending sites.  At this point I am leaning toward using only lendle, but the are both in their infancy so will likely hang out with both for awhile longer.

lendle.me  I have lent 4 books, and borrowed 3.

Pro

    • Love the information showing how many books are available, or if there is a waiting list. 
    • love that I know where I am in a waiting list after I requested the book
    • Borrowing was easy, and I loved that I got to thank the lender.
    • the number books on the database is displayed and you can see that it is growing.

Con

    • Website feels cluttered/layout not as clean or as intuitive
    • keeping track of your lends isn’t as easy as booklending

booklending.com I have lent 2 books, and have not been able to borrow any books.

Pro

    • Cleaner, easier to navigate site. 
    • single step loan and tracking

Con

    • You have no idea if there is an abundance of books when you ask to borrow or if you could wait an eternity. 
    • I don’t seem to be making any matches for my benefit, only as a lender

If you are the owner of a reader, let me know your thoughts.   Have you found something else out there to help fulfill your reading needs without breaking the bank?

Out of My Element

I am a veracious read, and with the purchase of my Kindle the number of books I read has exploded exponentially.    I have by tradition been a suspense book reader, with some mindless escape romances, historical fiction, a biography thrown in regularly and a few unexpected recommendations that I pick up.   At least once a year I read something science fiction, because it is my husband’s favorite genre, and though for the life of me I can’t find a redeeming quality in it except that my husband loves it.

Before Kindle, I spent hours scrounging for books at the thrift stores, libraries, rummage sales, book stores in any town I visit and online.   I was the keeper of piles of books beside my nightstand  for my reading pleasure.   I did not realize it, but I bought these books by their dust jackets and back covers.    If it wasn’t my kind of book, back on the shelf it went.   I had to make a conscious effort to read something out of the norm.   I had to be willing to take a risk on a book based on something a publicist had written to sell the book to the market audience.   If I was going to venture outside of my norm, then they were probably not writing to entice me to buy the book.

This change in my reading habits is due to owning a Kindle and  in part to Amazon’s “Top 100 Free” list that I visit regularly.  It is there that I grab books off the top 100 list that have a four or five-star rating.   I don’t read the reviews or what the book is about for the most part.    I also look at the top free  titles  in some of my favorite genres as well.    I cruise the best sellers that are discounted and the 100 for $3.99 or less.   Now these choices that require my hard-earned cash, and  I am more careful about my selections.  I select those things that interest me  and sound like a good read.   Money spent should be for a book you expect to finish.   One caveat to all this is that we have a Prime Membership.   Living in a rural area with limited services, we like the benefits of Prime, one of which is the ability to borrow one book a month free.  If you catch it just right , and we have, you can  pick up some really good in-demand at the library books using the Prime option.

With my Kindle, it has not only resulted in an explosion on my the numbers of books I read, but also the kinds of books.   Without the filter I had employed before, I end up with books of all sorts.   I will admit that if I start a book and that first chapter is poorly written, or does not suck me in, I rate it one star and delete it.  I would give a no star rating if possible, but Amazon has said one star is as bad as it gets.   On the other hand I have read some books that the whole time I am reading it I say “I can’t believe I am really reading this.”   I just finished a book about a mob family, gruesome, nasty book.  Lots of characters I really didn’t like but was fascinated by their character flaws and relationships.   It was not a five star book, but the author wrote that first chapter so well, I wanted to know more.   I could not deleted it after one chapter, in spite of the fact I did not like the subject matter.   I kept thinking I will skip forward to see how this is resolved, but found myself reading each page for the details and nuances of what was going on.   This is not the only book I have read out my element since becoming a Kindle owner but it was by far the one I am still most amazed I read from cover to cover.

So in the past I could clearly say I read certain genres.   Now I think that I have a preference for certain genres, but am finding that a well written book will draw me no matter the type…wait I still find that science fiction a chore to get one book read a year.   I am beginning to think I don’t have the right imagination to properly appreciate them.  All that aside I am finding myself reading much more out of me element and enjoying it.

 

 

The Library Never Closes

The holiday weekend here is providing terrible weather.   We started with snow on Friday and it is still coming down.   Not like winter snow, but it is damp, overcast and cold.    It makes me want to curl up with a cup of tea and a good book.

I have a collection of books on my Kindle, but tonight I want a quick easy read.   Nothing seems to be what I want.    I am looking for one of those pulp fiction novels you buy at rummage sales or Goodwill.   The freebies on Amazon are not fitting the bill for my mood.    Of course it is Sunday night and our local library is closed, it is late and many businesses are closed for the holiday weekend.

Enter my library’s electronic option.   Even in Montana many of our libraries have an electronic collection.  Tonight I signed in to library browsed the ebook collection.   I found something that met my wish for reading material tonight.  Two minutes later it is on my Kindle and the hot water is boiling.

I hope that everyone who reads this blog takes a look at their library’s electronic collection.   If you have a reader, you may be able to check out ebooks.   If you like audio books, your library will  have a great collection available to you.   I am guessing your system is likely as sophisticated as the one that many the rural libraries in Montana share.   It supports all sorts of formats in ebooks, not just the Kindle and Nook, but many other generic readers.   Audio books can be downloaded to iPods, MP3 players, your computer media players and more.     I can check out books anytime, the library does not have to open.   Libraries are not dead, and full of dusty old books, they are changing to meet our reading habits.  Check it out.