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Posts Tagged ‘Kindle’

  1. Water for Elephants

    March 22, 2011 by superlative

    Over the last week I have read Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. It was another recommendation from a friend, as I was looking for something a bit more modern to read on my Kindle that wasn’t set in the 1800s. I actually paid for this book too, which I think is only the second time I’ve paid for something on Kindle; all the other stuff I have read has been free.

    Water for Elephants is a great book and I heartily recommend it. It has recently been made into a film that I think is going to be released in the next couple of months, starring Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon, and I was actually quite pleased to be able to read it before they start publicising the film so I can say “oh yes, I’ve read the book of that” if people talk about it.

    The novel is set in 1930s America, and is the story of a young man, Jacob, who after suffering some personal hardships impulsively leaves town one night and jumps onto a passing train. The train turns out to belong to a travelling circus, and having nowhere else to go and having almost finished a degree in veterinary medicine, Jacob becomes part of the circus and is put in charge of caring for the animals. While there he meets Marlena, the beautiful star of the equestrian act,  her brutal husband August (you can probably see where this is going), and Rosie, a lovable but seemingly untrainable elephant.

    It is a great and passionate novel, and the setting of the circus gives it a unique feel and atmosphere. It’s a life of sparkle and sadness, dazzle and desperation. You can tell the author spent a lot of time researching it, and many of the more minor events come from real-life experiences of circusfolk that she read about.

    It is really good, and only took me a week to read, so if you’ve got a bit of time or want something to read on holiday, I’d really recommend it.


  2. Kindle update #2

    March 14, 2011 by superlative

    Following on from my previous post about what I have read on my Kindle, I can now add to the list:

    • Jane Eyre
    • Wuthering Heights
    • Silas Marner

    I have also read Nineteen Eighty-Four in paperback, and I’m quite impressed that I have read eight books in the last 4-5 months. That’s more than I normally read, and I’m really pleased that having my Kindle as a new toy has made me spend more time reading than I have done for ages. It has also made me read lots of titles that I would never have picked up normally, so it has been a really good purchse so far.

    Nineteen Eighty-Four was a really good book (I’m going to include it in this post even though it wasn’t on Kindle, because I’m a rebel and I make my own rules). It wasn’t really what I was expecting, based on the very vague ideas I had of there being a Big Brother in it and something about a box of rats. I enjoyed it very much, and found it more engaging and believable than Brave New World. The only problem I had with it was that many of the ideas and names of things in it (like Big Brother and Room 101 in particular) have been so cheapened by their use in popular culture that they had less impact for me than they would have done when it was written.

    I quite liked that the protagonist wasn’t a dynamic sort of hero, and in many ways Winston reminded me of Pereira in Pereira Declares by Antonio Tabucchi, an Italian book I read at university. I quite liked Julia, despite her being a bit intentionally vacuous, and I enjoyed the depth and complexity of the world created by George Orwell.

    I went back to my Kindle after Nineteen Eighty-Four and read Jane Eyre, which has knocked Sherlock Holmes off the top of the list of books I’ve most enjoyed on the Kindle so far. Again I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I found it an exciting and compelling book, much more so than I had anticipated given its age. It is hard to dislike the character of Jane Eyre, with her relentless determination and almost self-destructive adherence to her moral values. I also liked the way it is written as an autobiography, and the feeling of the entire arc of Jane’s life that you get from it.

    Wuthering Heights, in comparison, I found a bit disappointing. Cathy and Heathcliff get referenced frequently today as these tragic, tempestuous lovers, and so that was what I was expecting the book to be about. In reality I found their relationship to be a relatively minor part of it, even if most of the events are affected by it. I didn’t expect Cathy to pop her clogs so early on (in quite annoying circumstances – her cause of death is quite wussy and dissatisfying), and then basically the whole of the rest of the book boils down to Heathcliff being horrible to everybody, all the time, just because he’ s a horrible person. It was OK, but as I said, I was disappointed.

    Yesterday I finished Silas Marner, by George Eliot. I’d never even heard of it (although I’ve heard of George Eliot, I’m not thick), but I read it on a recommendation from a friend. I was surprised how good it was, and how in quite a short book you can become so attached to an unsociable old weaver in a little English village.

    Most of the books that I have read on my Kindle have been set in the 19th century, and that has given them quite a similar feel. That is due mostly to me reading books that are free, which tend to be classics, and while that’s fine I have an appetite for something a bit lighter and more modern next. So my intention when I get home is to purchase Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen, again on a recommendation from someone. It should be completely different to what I’ve read so far, and it has some excellent reviews. I shall let you know what I think.


  3. Kindle update

    January 5, 2011 by superlative

    So far on the lovely Kindle that I treated myself to in November, I have read:

    • War of the Worlds
    • Dracula
    • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
    • Brave New World

    War of the Worlds was good, particularly when you read it knowing that it was the first Martian invasion-type story written. It was also nice for me as a modern reader to read about an alien invasion set in a past version of Britain, as that gave it a very different feel to the stories you see now, although of course it was set in the present day when H. G. Wells wrote it. I did think that it ended extremely suddenly though, and so that was a bit disappointing.

    Dracula was also good, and again it was interesting knowing that it was the origin of all the subsequent Dracula stories and much of the vampire lore that we’re now so familiar with. The main disappointment for me was Professor Van Helsing, who wasn’t at all as I had expected, but I suppose that’s because my image of him has been poisoned by later versions of the Van Helsing vampire-fighting character. I found his personality and his awkward use of English extremely annoying, as was the general sappiness of some of the other individuals in the book (I’m looking at you, Mina). And the same as with the War of the Worlds, I felt the story ended a little abruptly. I still enjoyed it overall and am glad that I read it.

    The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was a recommendation from a friend, and is probably the novel I’ve most enjoyed so far from these four. I liked the short story style of each of the cases, and the fun you have in your mind trying to figure out the mystery yourself before Sherlock Holmes reveals all the details. All of these last three novels were set just before 1900 though, and so I was getting a bit fatigued by turn of the century England by the end of this one.

    So to make a change I shot forward a few hundred years into the utopian dystopia of Brave New World. I have been wanting to read this for a while, and I really enjoyed it, particularly the first half. I was getting a little bit bored towards the end though, and as more and more of Huxley’s vision of the future was described I went off it a little bit. I realise it was written in the 1930s, but for me his world was so extreme and implausible that it failed for me as a warning against unbridled consumerism. It simply didn’t fit with my understanding of human nature and what people would and wouldn’t be prepared to give up, and so it drifted away from social commentary and became just a neat little fantasy that could never escape from the confines of the book. I’m again pleased that I read it though.

    I’ll probably read 1984 next, but shock horror I shall be reading it on actual paper as Chris owns a copy of it and it’s not free on the Kindle.

    My verdict on the Kindle in general though is that it is lovely to read on and works really well. And the added excited feeling of having a neat little gadget in my hand is a bonus that goes alongside the reading of books I’d probably never have bought in hard copy.


  4. Blue sheets in the morning

    November 12, 2010 by superlative

    I haven’t been blogging much lately partly because I’ve had a cold for three weeks that simply will not fuck off, and partly because I’m just a rubbish blogger. I’ve actually been doing a fair few things though, so I shall try to catch up on them now.

    Flat hunting
    We are still looking officially, but it has slowed way way down in the last week. After the flat I talked about before that we made an offer for, we upped our offer a bit but he still wanted more money and so we had to walk away. He actually seems to be a completely unrealistic seller, and he has since raised the asking price again have previously dropped it by £20K, so I really don’t know what he thinks he’s doing. It won’t sell at that price, he’s just wasting everyone’s time.

    We found a second flat in a posh listed building further into Kemptown, and again we put in a couple of offers, but they wanted more than we could afford to pay and we didn’t get it. And other than that there has been virtually nothing coming onto the market that we’re interested in. It’s not the best time of year to be looking at all, so I think we’re going to end up waiting until after Christmas when lots more stuff will come up for sale and we’ll have a bit more choice. And actually our flat isn’t too bad at the moment – it’s freezing cold in the winter due to the lack of double glazing and central heating, but the current neighbours are quite good and living there hasn’t been too annoying.

    Halloween
    We had another little dressing up outing for Halloween, which was quite successful. I was Frankenstein’s Monster, Chris was Mumm-Ra The Ever Living, and our friend Sarah was a demonic china dolly:

    The house party we went to was quite good, but from what I gather we left at the right time because it all turned a bit ugly towards the end of the night. 30 people the hosts didn’t really know turned up, then basically refused to leave, did loads of coke in the bathroom, and one of the hosts nearly got involved in a punch up with one of them. The neighbours started complaining about the noise, and it was all rather stressful and annoying for them.

    We did try to go clubbing after the party, but failed miserably due to the amount of gin we’d already drunk. We staggered from the party to Legends, got as far as ordering and  paying for some drinks at the bar, and then Chris pretty much passed out on his feet. The barmaid, handing me my change, noticed and said “Erm, he needs to go home right now”, so we had to abandon our untouched drinks on the bar and escort him from the building.

    He managed to do that thing drunks do where they suddenly perk up and move at high speed (I think he thought he might be sick), and to my horror he charged into the revolving door unaccompanied. I was afraid he’d get his cape caught, or simply pass out inside it, but after looking slightly confused for a moment he emerged from the other side successfully and the three of us tottered home.

    Chris didn’t last beyond getting home, obviously, and promptly passed out on the bed still in full blue body paint. In the meantime Sarah had passed out on the sofa, so all I could do really was put a blanket over her, wash off my green face, and pass out myself. Needless to say our sheets were rather blue in the morning with a distinctly Mumm-Ra-like shape all over one half of them. Chris woke optimistically hoping that we might have bathed him before putting him to bed, and was disappointed that we hadn’t.

    We had fun anyway, and I think I’ve got the various body and face paints out of most of my furnishings now.

    And that’s been my last couple of weeks really. Oo yes, my other exciting thing is I’ve bought myself a Kindle, which arrived yesterday. It was meant to be something I got for Christmas, but I couldn’t be bothered to wait so I’ve just treated myself to it. I really like it so far – it’s ever so thin, and reading on it is really easy. There are LOADS of free classics you can get for it, so I’m not actually planning on paying for any books on it for a while yet, and it will let me read lots of things I’ve always wanted to read but without hard copies of them cluttering up my house.

    It was a bit extravagant just to buy it for myself, but whatever. As Cheryl would say, Ahm worrth et.