Archive for the ‘books’ Category

Kindle-ing New Stuff

I sure like my Kindle.  I inherited Bruce’s about two years ago.  On trips it is so handy, even trips to the doctor’s office (heaven knows, I’ve had plenty of those this past year).  Ordering a book and having it “delivered” in a matter of seconds is so convenient, I can barely contain my delight.  Wow.  Wish I had thought of that.

Well — in the world of electronic devices, my “old” Kindle was getting out-dated.  (What’s the time frame for that?  A few months?  I used to want to choke a person who would say, soon after I would buy a new computer, “You know that’s now obsolete?”  Justifiable homicide.)

We have so many books already, although we seem to weed through them often, we really don’t need more paper books.  Electronic versions sure are a quick solution.  Seldom do I re-read a book anymore.  There are too many new ones yet to read.   I love the bigger fonts; speed reading made super easy.  Easy on the eyes and the brain.

Too bad my new Kindle Paperwhite couldn’t be just as easy on the wallet.


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Several years ago Bruce bought me an ipod for my birthday.  He loaded it up with the kind of music I enjoy.  I was all set up.  Except — I seldom used it.  Truth is I like my music in the room with me.  And I do mean — in the room — surround sound style.

I think I’ve seen too many shows and movies where someone sneaks up on another person because they weren’t “tuned in.”  I grew up with a deaf mother who jumped when she didn’t know you were there.  I’ve even tried to vacuum facing the middle of the room since I too hate finding Bruce in the room when I haven’t heard him coming.  It just creeps me out.  Really, the only time I want to be tuned out to the world is on a crowded airplane.  Then I’d do anything to get the coughing, the crying babies and the yakking and giggling to go away so I don’t have to think about how many humans are actually crammed into that plane.  Music in my ears and some Zen meditation or a good book are perfect.

Consequently, the ipod sat in the drawer and I felt guilty.  Then one day he asked if he could use it and since then, it’s been on his desk, not mine.  Awww, end of the guilt trip.

On his last birthday, after much deliberation, he asked for a Kindle.  We had already picked David’s brain about its pros and cons.  He-who-likes-electronic-devices dutifully loaded it up and used it.  For about two weeks.  Then he admitted that it gave him a headache and eye strain.  It sat deserted on the coffee table.  I eyeballed it every once in a while.  Finally, I realized that there was a solution to the huge hardback book I was struggling with.  I was loving The Fall of Giants by Ken Follett, but the physical book weighs several pounds — it’s enormous!  Usually, I try to buy the long historical fiction that I love in paperback version.  They are simply easier to handle.  However, Bruce had this one from his book club and had heartily recommended it.  Once in a while, that gigantic book would fall on me — and it hurt!  So — going against my usual frugal adage — don’t buy another version of anything you already have — I purchased an electronic version of The Fall of  Giants.  Now I curl up with “my” Kindle, set to a nice easy to read font and away I go to Fictionland.  I even use a clip on reading light — just like on an airplane.

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The Green Mile

This morning I finished the book, The Green Mile, by Stephen King.  The movie by the same name is one of my favorites.   I’ve watched it twice in the past three months.   Recognizing that a book almost always contains more information than the movie, I recently picked up the book at my favorite used bookstore.  This morning, before I did anything else, I sat down to finish it — with a tissue.  The ending is a real tear-jerker.  Again — one of the advantages of retirement — time to do something like that.  And it wasn’t even Saturday.

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A Week Away

For us, a week away from home was spent between the north Georgia mountains where we slept snug in our sleeping bags and along the Atlantic Ocean coastline of southern South Carolina where we slept on top of our sleeping bags under a sheet. The music of the Bluegrass festival was great; the waves were equally wonderful. (See Bruce’s blog — Red Clay and Sand.)

I read two books, partly by flashlight. Bruce found me a neat little light that shines right on my page. I can read to my heart’s delight. I would highly recommend them both. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is about the German occupation of the one of the Channel Islands during WWII and its heroic islanders. Prayers for Sale chronicles the life of a young Civil War widow and her 70 years in Colorado in a gold mining camp. I loved the language of each of them. Some people don’t like dialect. I do. Good reads for either beach or mountains.

Thanks to a timely purchase of a fan, we were comfortable, but the heat and humidity of the South isn’t exactly the best weather for camping. This might be the end of the camping for awhile unless we go back to the mountains. We’ll see. Maybe we’ll have a cool summer.

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Read On

Occasionally I have spells where I want to curl up on the sofa with a huge cup of endless tea, a box of chocolate bonbons, and read, read, read. Forget the laundry, the housework, ignore the dust, pick up only the large pieces of dirt on the carpet, order in delivery food and forget the world except for what’s in between the pages. Woe is me. No can do.

I keep thinking that if I just hurry through my work, I can park my backside. That seldom happens, except on Sunday afternoons. After church we eat out, come home, get in our softies and veg out. Sunday night supper is what Bruce calls “a refrigerator dive.” Dig in and find something — anything — or a bowl of cereal or a peanut butter sandwich. Leftovers are best but sometimes we had them on Saturday. Dive — dive!

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Good for the Soul

It started with the book shelves in the study, moved on to the book shelves in the back hallway, into the back bedroom and returned to the study in the file cabinets. It was a purge. Thin ’em out, toss ’em out, clean ’em out!

We whittled down the whole shelf of Holy Bibles we own. Bruce had many Bibles; so did I. We have purchased even more since our marriage. Multiple translations are necessary for good Bible study, however, we still had way too many. Some we had to keep. Ones belonging to our respective mothers, or with special significance. But the duplicates and extras had to go. What to do? Bruce recalled seeing a collection bin at the local Christian bookstore so he gave them a call. They donate them to the local rescue mission downtown they said, so Bruce phoned them. The mission director was delighted! Bruce even took them some religious books he had. He left the mission one big box lighter to the comment — “Bless you, brother!”

Three boxes went to the Salvation Army store, one to the church’s library, and even one box for my dear friend, Betty, another voracious reader. We found three copies of Alice in Wonderland. One is more than enough, don’t you think? We kept those books we couldn’t part with, for whatever reason, plus those we hadn’t yet read. When we lived in the Midwest, part of my “storm preparation package” was plenty to read, just in case we got snow bound for a week — or three. Though that is unlikely here, Augusta did have a three day ice storm in January 2004. I spent a lot of time on the sofa, which was pulled half way between the big window, for light, and the fireplace, for warmth. I even dug out the kerosene lamps so I could read at night. Without TV, the radio and the pets and my books were all the company I had then. I kept a kettle of hot water at the edge of the fire. Books and hot tea go together, especially when ice is hanging from tree branches. But I digress.

We even weeded out the shelves with videos. I found several ones from my teaching days. I had forgotten about the times I had to be videotaped in my classes. Heavens — I was so young and energetic. One was from my days at Laney, the other one from Davidson. It was fun to watch and see my students.

We dug through files and tossed old stuff. We decided the tax files belonged next to the copies of death certificates I have for Dad, Mom, Christine and Dale.

So the trash can is full. The shelves are cleaner. Perhaps it’s time for a trip to Barnes and Noble.

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If I blogged as often as I think about blogging, I’d do little else. I started this blog because, most of my life, I’ve chided myself for not keeping a journal. I always felt somewhat deficient. I was an English major, for heavens sake. English majors are supposed to read and write. A lot. And I have — just not as much as I think I’m capable of doing. Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion even has a “sponsor” called POEM — the Professional Organization of English Majors. I should be a dues paying member. (smile.) In the early 90s I wrote poetry rather regularly. Then I went back to graduate school for my specialist degree and that seemed to stifle any creative energies. That degree was in education, not English. (gag . . . gag) At least my BA and MA required me to read a great deal. It was legitimate. State sponsored, if you will.

I still don’t think I read enough. Somehow I think I should read a book a week. I could — if I spent half of my days with a book under my nose. Reading still seems like a wonderful luxury to me and my Puritan work ethic says anything you enjoy that much is probably not nice. Maybe even illegal. As a child I used to sneak books after “lights out.” Just hide the flashlight I’d take from the kitchen drawer. Stash it under the pillow. Make the sheets into a tent and I was all set. Mother will never find the flashlight when she makes the bed the next morning, I hoped. Dad will never notice the glow of light under the bedroom door. I also went through a phase when I snuck candy into my illicit late night reading sessions. Boy, Mother did notice the chocolate stains on the sheets, and I got into trouble. (This is the woman who kept a bag of chocolate stars next to her murder mysteries which were all stashed in her bedside table. Years later when I would borrow a book from her, I’d often find a chocolate stain on the corner of a page.) Finally, though, I wised up and switched to Maple Nut Goodies and Circus Peanuts. They didn’t melt. However, Dad often complained about the flashlight. The batteries always seemed to be dead.

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