Sunday, November 25, 2012

Readin' up a Storm...

And I should be crafting...well, I am...working on my very first pine needle basket...It's coming along nicely...I'm trying to figure out how to add shells to the sides while still coiling the basket around. Haven't figured it out yet....
But I'm loving my new Kindle Fire HD...It's really fun downloading books to it...Less than two minutes and a whole book awaits to draw me in and capture my imagination and deteriorating thinking skills. I say deteriorating because I haven't read an entire book in more than five years. I love magazines instead. Guess that sort of fits my ADD personality...Quick read, lots of pictures...  :-)  I love "light" magazines---People, Shop Smart (published by Consumer Reports), Oprah, and the Woman's World and First magazines. Those last two are truly "light" reading. 

So when I got my Kindle, I had previously made a list of books I wanted to read if I ever thought I'd slow down enough, put down my crafts and read seriously. I started working my way through my list....Wild by Cheryl Strayed, a memoir about a young woman, Cheryl, trying to find herself by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, over 1000 miles. A woman who had made many bad decisions, she had never hiked a day in her life. It's a compelling read, and hard to put down...I enjoyed it! Made me think briefly about hiking the Appalachian Trail....I think about that a LOT, off and on, I'd really like to do it, despite my age (62). You are never to old to follow your dreams. There are just a lot of things demanding practicality that are preventing me from fulfilling this dream at the moment..And if I never get to do it, that's ok...I'm hiking while traveling, and that's pretty wonderful, too!

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larsen....all about Germany in 1933 through the eyes of Walter Dodd, a very ordinary man reluctantly chosen to be the ambassador to Berlin. Dodd served for four years, the worst time to be in Berlin. Larsen chronicles Ambassador "Dud" as he was known in political circles, as he tried to maintain his dignity and convince America of the rising dangers of Hitler's command. The flirtatious exploits of his daughter, Martha, as she dabbled with the enemy, were intriguing. It was interesting to see  Germany's and Hitler's rise to power from a different angle. I found this historical narrative hard to follow at times. But anyone interested in world history would probably find this a fascinating read.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins--the final installment in the trilogy, The Hunger Games. These are young adult novels, (Catching Fire was #2, which I also read) but appealed very much to me, having taught teenagers for many, many years. The author was inspired by the Roman gladiator battles and Greek mythology. I really got into these books, and the themes of hardship, starvation, poverty, the effects of war, making moral decisions and persistent loyalty had me glued to the books. They were hard to put down!

As a child, I read an amazing number of books of all different kinds of genres. We had to read lots of different types of books in middle grades and high school..The Good Earth by Pearl Buck stands out in my mind. I remember reading LOTS of science fiction, that seemed to be one of my favorite types of reading while in elementary school. I used to read the Book of Knowledge Encyclopedia for fun (!) as a grammar school kid. Reading was an escape for me from a very unhappy childhood. Then, as I went off to high school, college and beyond, graduating, starting a family, reading became a lost art to me. For years, I worked hard, raised my girls as a single parent, and kept working at a frenzied pace in my spare time after the girls got older, to make stuff...I crafted all kinds of things. Crafting became a way to have some beauty come into my life, to forget about unhappy times, difficult times and very lonely times.  I submersed myself in my crafts and forgot about reading. I didn't have time! Once I retired, I had trouble sitting still and relaxing. I couldn't seem to just sit and read...I was still going 100 miles an hour....

Finally, this year seems to be the year after 2 1/2 years on the road, where I'm starting to slow down a bit...You just can't plan some kind of outing or exploratory trip every day to see the local sights. So I thought by getting a Kindle, since I like technology so much, I might like reading a book on a Kindle, and I do! I'm on a roll. Getting my books through the public library...Next book is Anna Quindlen's Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. With only two weeks allowed to hang onto the book, it forces me to take time to relax and read. I should have thought of this a long time ago! :-)  

It's so weird...the book "disappears" from your device...where does it go? How does the library "store" a digital book? They seem to have only a limited number of digital copies. That I understand, it costs money to have them. But how does the library get the book "returned"? And how about "the Cloud"? I know that's digital storage space "out there" but I still don't get it. Some of my books are stored in the "cloud", some are stored on my device and I don't know why. But I'm working on trying to get a handle on it. Some technology I'll never quite grasp, especially as it moves faster and faster to new technology. But I sure enjoy the fruits of it!

1 comment:

  1. This is weird, but I used to read the Book of Knowledge, too. And the Encyclopedia, but I looked the B of K best. I read everything, even the dictionary.

    I think the library e-books all have options on how long you can keep the books, somewhere from 1 to 4 weeks, depending on the library. So you can probably check them out for longer than two weeks if you want.

    Also, if you go to

    and sign up, you can choose the genres you like, and every day you'll get an e-mail with 25 free downloadable Kindle books. They are mostly from new authors, or authors trying to push their books.

    Some days I chose a few, some days I didn't, you just have the option to download the ones you like. I have almost 800 books on my Kindle now, and finally stopped that daily e-mail.

    Enjoy - I love mine, especially the free books! :)