Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Through the Kindle Glass

I see it's only been a couple of weeks since I last blogged, but it seems longer.   I dropped through my Kindle screen for a couple of weeks.  Plus life has gotten very busy, so when I'm not reading, I'm usually trying to catch up on something.  

In this post I thought I would list the books I've read so I could keep up with my 52 books in 52 weeks.  The Kindle came on the 17th.   Since then I've read (starting with #5 out of the 52):


Anna Karenina.  Everyone else I know has read it, but somehow I never did, even though I was very interested in Russian literature in high school and even took a class on it in college.


The Scarlet Letter.  I read this one a long time ago, but after I read AK I thought I could continue either with the adultery theme (literarily speaking)  or the Russian lit theme.  All the Russian novels looked too long to tackle right after AK so I decided to go with Hawthorne. 


The Pressures of Teaching:  How Teachers Cope with Classroom Stress 
I read this one for a change of pace as I was reading the heavy novels!  It was quite readable, basically just essays from different teachers on different stressful facets of the teacher's life -- like out of control kids, or out of control paperwork and benchmark tests, multiculturalism, and things like that.


The Betrothed
A friend recommended this (I got it for free at Google Ebooks, and then converted it from Epub to Mobi (which is Kindle-compatible) by using a free program called Calibre).   It didn't convert perfectly, but it was good enough so that I could read it.  You can also buy it at Amazon for less than a dollar and the conversion would probably be better.   It was a really good book!  Very Catholic, and many historical and cultural sidelights in the style of say, Walter Scott, or Victor Hugo, from a period when writing didn't have to be snappy and dialogue-based and could build up its effects slowly.


Resilience in the Classroom:  Helping Students with Special Needs
Another teacher's book.  This one was about the concept of "resilience" and how it can be fostered in classroom settings.  It took different "special needs" (deprived background, math problems, ADD, dyslexia) and presented a kid with the issue and how the writer, a sort of social worker who came into classrooms and worked one on one with targeted kids) helped the child solve the problem.  Then there were lists of different ways to target and help the kids with this issue in a creative way.   Interesting concept.

By the way, this might be a good time to mention that if you have a Kindle or Kindle for PC you might want to regularly check the Limited Time Promotional Offers!  Several of these books I downloaded and read actually aren't even available in Kindle editions at all, let alone for free as I got them.    If you go to the Amazon Free Book Collection Page and scroll down looking on the right sidebar you will see a list of the limited time offers.   Some -- many -- are trashy-looking romances but you can also find some Fairly Good Stuff.


En Route:  A Paramedic's Story
This was another promotional freebie that apparently isn't even normally available for Kindle at all.  It was really quite a good book, written by an EMT/paramedic.  -- stories of some of his experiences on the route.  Some gruesomeness, and a slightly cynical tone and definitely quite a bit of language, but interesting reading especially since I've quite often been on the "other side" of an ambulance story as one of the relatives of the patient (only a couple of them very serious, fortunately_


Lives in the Balances:  Nurses Stories' from the ICU
Another one that was a freebie, but is no longer there. (Sorry!  In future I'll try to recommend them BEFORE they go off).    It was also good writing and interesting reading.... stories from different nurses on different facets of the ICU experience.  Again, I've been there often on the "other side" so I could relate to lots of the stories even though they were mostly about adult patients and my experiences have been mostly pediatric and neonatal ICUs.  


The Apothecary's Daughter
Another freebie, this one is still available as of this writing.  It was sort of twaddle, a regency romance with a Christian theme.  The research was well done, some of the plot points rather anachronistic, but the tone was sweet and there was nothing explicit in the romance.  It was rather unique in that there were about five "prospects" for the romance and you couldn't really tell until the last couple of chapters which one was going to be Mr Right.  I haven't read a regency romance since high school if you don't count Jane Austen, George Eliot or Elizabeth Gaskell, but this one was fun if you are looking for light reading. 


Probably another twaddly one, easy to read, but also quite sweet.  This was a mystery novel with a geriatric protaganist -- an elderly widow who gets involved in a murder mystery sort of by accident.  The elderly widow was likeable, the plot was actually quite well construed, particularly for a first novel, I thought.   Bits of it might have been slightly improbable -- like when the old lady climbs out of a bathroom window or scrambles under a car to look for a hidden key.  It also had an explicitly Christian "born again" theme, which extended to the old lady inviting several people to church and witnessing to them about the Good News.   Has Christianity gone mainstream since I stopped reading light novels, or perhaps the Kindle Limited Time is a haven for moderately well-done Christian genre fiction?   Anyway, it was a nice read, especially the day before my husband showed me our new AARP cards (lol -- he's 50 now and qualifies and that makes me qualify too)


 The Rosary

This is a public domain book available for free at Amazon.   With the title, I thought it would be a Catholic book, but it wasn't really particularly so.  It was strongly Christian but in a more general way.  The "Rosary" of the title is actually from the title of a real song, which is sung by the heroine.  Yes, it was a romance, an odd one.   I don't know quite how to describe it without spoiling some of the unexpected twists and turns.  I don't think anyone could possible write such a book nowadays.  I think Tommy the macaw was my favorite character, though I did find the hero and heroine fairly charming (the hero is a painter in love with beauty, and the heroine goes to Egypt and climbs a mountain at some point).   The heroine weighs 12 stone, which is 168 pounds in case you don't like to do multiplication problems in your head, and she is 30 years old, which seems young to me but is old for a romantic heroine.  Then the heroine disguises herself as a nurse and the .... oh well, I can't tell you any more.  Here is The Rosary sung by Dame Vera Lynn -- I guess it was quite a popular song at one time.  This is a fun book and another easy read.    There is a duchess, too, and even an American heiress and her social-climbing aunt. And a Scottish doctor!  Really, you could not ask for much more in a book.

Well, that took a long time to write out!  But at least you can see that I am getting a good start on the 52 books for this year.   Hopefully this will be inspiring and not discouraging, or at least make you feel superior that YOU have better things to do than sit around reading 10 books in slightly over two weeks.  But really, I have been doing other things too -- it's been blog reading and blog-writing that has fallen by the wayside, more than anything else.


  1. Wow! I think you should go for 152 instead of just measly 52! I'm jealous of your reading power!

    I have been wanting to read the Betrothed for a while now. Think I'll get it on my Kindle.

  2. First are "playing catch-up" because you are reading too much :)

    and second, that Kindle has you reading more fiction in just two weeks than you sometimes read in a year!!! ;)

    Faith, I am that friend that read The Betrothed...and I have not yet met anyone who has read it, join the club! It is worthwhile. I just finished writing a blog post about it....and someday will actually publish it :)

    BTW, Willa....I have actually been checking your blog a couple of times a week in the last few weeks...and have been disappointed by your lack of writing :)

  3. oh, I LOVE the title of this blog post. Clever!


I would love to hear your thoughts on this!