Gouda Buddha Books

Devouring books since 2009.

Posts Tagged ‘kindle

The Summer We Read Gatsby.

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The problem with the Kindle is that when the book you downloaded jumps the literary shark, you cannot throw it at the wall.

Yes, readers, I caved after much encouragement from my dearest Sonika and her magical tales of being able to breastfeed while reading, I took the plunge and bought a Kindle.  But I made an error in my first downloaded book, The Summer We Read Gatsby.  I went for the easy beach read with the thought that I would be able to better process the story even on little sleep.

What I did not count on was the book making my head hurt with the uneven quality of writing- I was quite surprised, and much less forgiving, once I learned it was not a first novel.  This has led to me yelling at the book on the Kindle- like players on a TV screen-“Show, don’t tell!”  Certainly don’t end a chapter with things like, “I was falling in love with (insert name)” when the guy hasn’t even appeared for a chapter and a half.  Ugh.  And definitely don’t end it with that sentence when six chapters earlier you used the last sentence, “I was falling in love with my half-sister” when the only emotion I’ve picked up on is annoyance.  Double ugh.

The author’s main problem, aside from apparently not getting any honest feedback from an editor, is that she didn’t know what she wanted the book to be and tried to do too many things.  This same problem shows up in movies like The Break-Up and other books, such as Her Fearful SymmetryThe Summer We Read Gatsby tries to be a light summer romance but also family reconnection book while also throwing in some barely developed mystery and literary tributes to Fitzgerald.  Ultimately it fails because while beach reads are supposed to be light, an utter lack of substance means the story won’t hold together from chapter to chapter- much like a season of Glee– and the reader has no motivation to care about any of the characters.

As I’ve said, I’ve not yet finished the book, although I am 86% done.  I am also 57% unsatisfied.  The other 29% of me is just annoyed I can’t take this book to the nearest used bookstore and turn it in.  Nope, I’m just out my $9.99.

Next time, I’ll choose more wisely.  You win this round, e-reader!

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Written by questionsandanchors

July 27, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Kindle: Mama’s Best Friend.

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To say I was hesitant to invest in an e-reader is an understatement. I was loath to do so. Oh how I love the physicality of books. I love holding books. I love smelling books. My obsession with books doesn’t just verge on unhealthy, it crosses the line and keeps on running straight into insanity. Some of my favorite books I own in multiple editions and I will always, always spring for a hardcover just because they’re beautiful and sturdy.

My hesitation to abandon the once hailed destruction of literature that is the printing press for the newest destruction of literature that is the e-reader also had a practical element. I have a neurological disorder that is accompanied by severe photosensitivity. I get sick from such exciting things as “flash photography.” I can’t play 99% of video games and even some iPhone games make me seriously dizzy. I tried out the Kindle app on my husband’s iPad and got motion sick due to the combo of backlighting and my speed reading (seriously, faster than a speeding bullet am I).

Then came breastfeeding. Nothing like being trapped under a baby to make a person feel bored and braindead. I desperately wanted to read, even if I was just reading fluff, and found that holding a book wasn’t going to work out for me while also trying to snuggle an eel (seriously, this child and the squirming). I could manage Paulo one-handed, but I couldn’t also manage a book in the other hand. I had the brilliant idea that maybe, just maybe I could hold a Kindle… if only I could test drive one to see if this “e-ink” was as easy on the eyes as advertised.

As soon as I got this brilliant idea – when my son was approximately a week old – we hightailed it to Best Buy to see about investing in my sanity. I was going through book withdrawal. I tried out a Kindle and found that while I found the page-turning animation to be mildly irritating, it didn’t physically bother me. I bought the smaller size, as to hold in one hand with greater ease, and went home to binge on literature.

Actually, that’s not true. Due to the ability to just download books faster than anyone could read them, I have set very strict limits on myself that I can’t download anything unless I’m actively reading it. I must say, that I didn’t think about this feature too much before getting my Kindle, but the “read a sample” option is seriously the greatest thing ever. Sure, you *could* do that in a bookstore, but who ever does? Now, I totally read a chapter before deciding to buy a book. And ok, I almost always decide to buy it anyway, but I test drove it first! Also, being able to buy a book from my bedroom? Amazing.

I even subscribed to the New Yorker to be able to read it without piles of unread issues cluttering my living room! My husband was actually thrilled that I bought a Kindle due to the book… problem… in our home. I don’t even have half of my books in our house and my shelves overfloweth. Living with a minimalist who once tried to limit me to 50 books is trying indeed. He’s totally over the moon that I can continue getting my book fix without adding one more thing to make him twitch.

(Honestly, he’s so bad with stuff that when I got pregnant one of my close relatives asked me which one of the cats he was planning on getting rid of to trade off for the baby.)

(I’m sort of surprised we still have both cats, actually.)

I credit the Kindle with my getting a few books read while nursing my son. Though I will say that since it’s also so easy to delete books and I pay so much less for them than I do for physical copies that I’ve given up on almost as many as I’ve read. This is also one of the ways in being a parent has changed my priorities. If a book isn’t so good that I look forward to nursing to read another chapter, I’m not wasting my time on it.

If you know a new mama or mama-to-be and have $150 or so to drop on a swanky gift, seriously. The Kindle. Do it.

Written by Sonja

June 23, 2011 at 8:18 pm

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