Tag Archives: Books

To kindle or not to kindle

Several people I know have been talking about their new kindles lately. It looks like it was a very popular present over the Christmas period…

It is my birthday soon and I was thinking of presents that I would like to have. The kindle came to mind and I have been pondering about it.

I am concious about the prons and cons, and I agree that the prons greatly make up for the cons. However, after really thinking seriously about it, I have decided that the kindle is not for me.

Why?

Well, the main reason is that I think that it’s a gadget for gadget’s sake, if you know what I mean.

Secondly, I don’t commute by public transport, so I don’t have the chance to take advantage of that “wasted time” by reading.

At the same time, because I don’t have that much of spare time due to the huge amount of commuting, I don’t read as much as I would like. I read about a 300page book once a month. It’s not a lot, I know.

And last, but not least, one important reason why I don’t think kindles are for me is because I feel quite connected to my books. I am not an avid reader, but the books I do read, I love. I like to touch them, open them, smell them. I write on them or underline sentences that catch my eye… I put them on my bookshelves and I like to just look at them.

One day, when I’m rich, I will have my own little library in my house, and then I won’t regret having gone digital.

Book List

Everytime I start reading a new book, I sign it and write the date on the first page after the cover (you know, the blank one that all books seem to have just for the sake of it). It’s something I’ve been doing for years and I don’t think I’ll stop doing any time soon.

The thing is, it is a reminder of how long I have been reading a book. It turns out that I’ve been trying to read Iris Murdoch’s The Philosopher’s Pupil for 5 months now. It is a long time, I know. The problem is that it has taken me a long time to get into the story. Once a huge fan of Iris Murdoch, I have really struggled to get past the first 200 odd pages or so. Too much information. Too many characters. Too deep and philosophical. Now that I’m on page 231 I am starting to enjoy it. All the characters have been introduced. The plot is set (-ish). Now I actually enjoy reading it and I know it won’t take me too long to finish it.

A downside of taking so long with just one book is that I still keep buying/getting books to read regularly, so now I’ve got quite a list “pending”!

So here it is, in no particular order:

1) Dave Pelzer’s trilogy: A child called ‘it’, The lost boy and A man named Dave. Our friend Pat recommended these and she lent them to me last summer when we went to visit her. Apparently, they are very hard books about this kid who gets abused by his alcoholic mother. I suppose I’ll have to read a comedy book first before attempting to start with this ones. Otherwise I fear it’ll affect my mental health!

Boy it

2) I play the drums in a band called okay by Toby Litt. No idea where I got the inspiration for this one. Maybe I read a review, maybe someone recommended it, maybe I liked the cover. Somehow now I’ve got a feeling that it’s the type of book that I would have loved in my emo times. Not sure if I’ll enjoy it that much now.

Band Okay

3) Lord of the flies by William Golding. Okay, this one is a bit embarrasing, as I should have read it like 10 years ago, at Uni. Jon and I were in a bookshop not that long ago when I saw it and casually commented: “One day I should read that one”. He turned his head and looked at me in amazement. He simply couldn’t believe that I hadn’t read it yet! So, it came to me to the checkout and then home to sit in my “pending” book list.

Lord flies

4) Nick Hornby’s Juliet, Naked. This one is my most recent acquisition. I only bought it last week. In Tescos. For like £4. Bargain. I hope it’s better than the last one (Slam – I didn’t rate it much). Although I’ve got a feeling that I am going to enjoy this one. Even when Hornby is not very inspired, he’s always funny.

0905806a-b003-4e87-a40d-87461eee2acc_412x232.jpg

5) The time traveller’s wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I had never heard of this book before until the film was released last year (which I haven’t seen either – I want to read the book first) but somehow suddenly everybody around me HAD read it and I was the odd one out. So it had to be bought. Also, it seems that the book is 1,000 times better than the film, so that is already promising. (By the way, it took me a while to find the book with a cover that didn’t show the film cover too – I hate that…)

Time travellers wife

6) No bed for me, by Eric Chambers. This one is the oldest in my list. I’ve had it since November 2007. And I know the precise date because the author signed it and dated it for me! Eric Chambers is local to the Woking area. He happened to be in Waterstones one Saturday morning when Jon and I were shopping around. He was there, standing in front of a desk, with a pile of books, looking eagerly at people, hoping they would approach him and talk to him. And I did. And he was the cutest of grandads, very nice to talk to, and I kind of felt sorry for him and bought his book.
I will read it eventually, but I must say that it will stay in the bottom of my list whilst I have anything better to read (I hope he proves me wrong and I hope the book turns out to be a great read)

No bed

Oh Gosh, I almost forgot! Marian Keyes has a new book out! I must get that one too!

Reading, reading… in English!

I remember when I “got into reading”. I must have been 15 or so when I read Suskind’s Perfume. That book blew me away. It’s not that I didn’t use to read before that, I did, but never so passionately. Since then, my love for books has become greater and greater, and I never go more than a couple of days without reading some book or other.

In the last couple of months I’ve read all kinds of books, from The Pillars of the Earth and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time, to Catcher in the Rye and Ines of my Soul.

It is Isabel Allende’s Ines of my soul that I am reading at the moment. And I am reading it in English! After having read Arturo Perez Reverte’s Capitan Alatriste in English last year, I promised myself that I would never ever again read a Spanish author in English. The translation for Alatriste was aweful. I spent more time translating back to the Spanish than actually paying any attention to what I was reading. So I decided that I would wait until I could buy the books in their original language before doing something like that again. But then… I was in the bookshop… I saw that book… I couldn’t resist myself. And yes, I did it again. I bought a Spanish-language book, in English!

BUT. Big but. This one is actually translated properly. You can actually read fluently without stopping at every sentence thinking to yourself “Oh, that actually makes no sense translated like that from Spanish, the translator should have written….”. Of course, as it happens with every book based in real places with real names, you get lots of references to places and people that you can’t translate, and people without either the geographical or historical knowledge wouldn’t know what the book is talking about (but you can always use your imagination in those cases)

15187523.jpg The first Isabel Allende’s book I ever read was “The House of the Spirits” and I thought it was a magical book, so well written, with so much life on it. Ines of my Soul uses the same writing technique, that very special style of Allende. This is what the book is about (I’ve copied this from her website, which will explain the plot in better words than mine): It is the beginning of the Spanish conquest of the Americans, and when Inés’s shiftless husband disappears to the New World, she uses the opportunity to search for him as an excuse to flee her stifling homeland and seek adventure. After a treacherous journey to Peru, she learns of his death in battle. She meets and begins a passionate love affair with a man who seeks only honor and glory: Pedro Valdivia, war hero and field marshal to the famed Francisco Pizarro. Together, Inés and Valdivia will build the new city of Santiago and wage a ruthless war against the indigenous Chileans. The horrific struggle will change them forever, pulling each toward their separate destinies.

I can’t wait to keep on reading a bit more! I’m off to bed, to read… Good night!