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Archive for February 9th, 2011

I’ve learned a thing or two about choosing books in the three months I’ve owned my Kindle—or it has owned me. Very catlike is this little device. It sleeps as much as you will let it, even as it tugs your thoughts to the page (or pages) it holds for you, waiting—waiting until you give it the equivalent of a scratch behind the ears and bring it to life. One you’ve flipped that little switch Kindle has your undivided attention.  Your whole (new) library lies in your lap. If you are one who reads multiple books at a time, you find you begin to do this on steroids.

There may be good reason for switching from book to book on Kindle, especially if you’ve downloaded a lot of freebies or 99 cent books, and here’s why. You read a few reviews of a book and it sounds pretty good, Pretty good is enough to hit the “one click” button if it’s free. How bad can it be? I’ll admit I haven’t gotten books with a lot of misspellings as others have, but some have broken very basic principals in writing. You have to wonder how they got on Amazon. Yes, this is early e-book era and yes, they are free or cheap, but supposedly an editor or critique group at the very least has read them before they made it this far. The sad thing is that some have good stories and characters and I might have really enjoyed them had not POV ping ponged back and forth so freely that I didn’t know who was thinking what. Then there were fairly prominent characters flimsily developed.

Several of these experiences have been with Christian lit. Now you don’t know they are Christian lit until you get into them in most cases. I am a Christian and the characters’ actions seemed natural to me even as they stood out because I rarely see characters in mainstream literature doing or thinking as these do. “Invisible” by Lorena McCourtney falls in this category. I thoroughly enjoyed her self-appointed senior investigator Ivy Malone. She was endearing and daring, a real fun read. I will not name the book I forced myself to finish (the POV gone wild book) because I am hoping for better ones from this author. Her plot was interesting, as were most of the characters.

Even as I read the last word of my favorite blind download I was asking, “Was this Christian lit?” and perhaps that’s the best compliment of all. I suspect the title, “The Dirty Parts of the Bible” will attract a wide, curious audience: They won’t be disappointed in this humorous novel set during the Great Depression. The humor wanes a bit during the odyssey Tobias is forced to take in desperate times. He is son of a fundamentalist preacher who questions all he has been taught and gains insight from the unlikeliest of characters. Sam Torode has written an unforgettable novel I suspect will do well.

You can’t go wrong with the (free) classics. This was my chance to re-read “The Secret Garden,” last heard when my second grade teacher read it to the class. I have since learned that every child in Texas apparently had this novel read to them in school. I was just as engrossed today as I was then, and probably learned the lessons the author intended even better. There is also Poe, Twain, London and so many favorites there for the taking.

I’ve even downloaded something called “Anywhere Abs,” which gently prods me to exercise my abs on the road or anywhere. Of course, I have to open it up, get on the floor and sweat.

For reference I have a dictionary, familiar quotations, the Bible, and Kindle Users Guide and Shortcuts—so far.

Kindle is changing the way I entertain myself. When the daily TV schedule shows few or no shows I enjoy, instead of disappointment I see a chance to open that new download or continue with one I am reading. In waiting rooms I open one of several books with short pieces, like “Stupid American History.” The rest of the time my Kindle sits there in its little red cover purring like a kitten—or is that me?

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