Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Amazon Kindle Deals!

Some of you may know that I own a Kindle - and love it. I still predominantly read physical books, but I love the convenience of e-books - as a kid, I used to bring five or six books on long car rides so I had a variety to choose from; now when I travel, I bring fifty or sixty books! 

Amazon is pretty great about having cheap e-books - the trick is to keep an eye on their Kindle Daily Deal page. Four new e-books are offered each day, but they also have monthly deals. I was browsing today and noticed that a few books I really enjoyed are $3.99 or less, so I thought I would share those with you! (Note - you can also purchase these e-books for iPad or other tablets; you just need to have the free Amazon Kindle app.)

Here's what caught my eye today:
  • Animal Dreams (Barbara Kingsolver) - I read this a few years ago (I think my freshman year at Baylor) and it immediately became one of my favorite books. I probably need to reread it because I don't remember much about it (which is why I don't include it in my mental list of favorite books anymore), but I do remember that this is an incredibly heartfelt book. Currently available for $1.99!
  • In One Person (John Irving) - I wrote about this book in an earlier blog post this year (February, if you're interested), so I won't repeat what I've already said. I admire John Irving for his willingness to write about controversial topics, and this book was no exception. Currently available for $2.99!!
  • The Sirens of Titan (Kurt Vonnegut) - Vonnegut's books are frequently featured in the Sci-Fi Kindle Daily Deal. The Sirens of Titan is probably one of my top three favorites by him - the book description on Amazon describes it as an "interplanetary Candide" which I think is perfect. If you're a Vonnegut fan and haven't read this one, here's your chance! Currently available for $1.99. 


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

July: Weeks One and Two

Books Read:
  • And the Mountains Echoed (Khaled Hosseini)
  • The Bookman's Tale (Charlie Lovett)
I'm writing this post early (or late, depending on how you look at it) because this week has been taken over by moving! Both of the books listed above are new releases. I loved Hosseini's new book - more than The Kite Runner, perhaps not quite as much as A Thousand Splendid Suns. It's pretty different from both of those, though - it's only nine chapters (long chapters), each of which is told from the perspective of a different character. It's more like a collection of short stories that overlap in one way or another than one continuous plot. As usual, Hosseini's writing is beautiful, but one of the interesting things about this book is the number of times he mentioned the idea of story-tellers feeling guilty for borrowing the stories of real-life people for their own gain. I read a short article recently that discussed his own guilt about his success...he said, "I wrote about people in Afghanistan who suffered for a long time, and their stories made me very successful. That has left me with a sense of debt. Writing is an act of thievery. You adapt experiences and anecdotes for your own purposes." (The Week, July 5) 

I was expecting The Bookman's Tale to be similar to one of my favorite books, The Shadow of the Wind, but it was more like National Treasure from a bibliophile's point of view. After spending a year immersed in the world of historical musicology (and working at a music library), I really appreciated the detail that went into this book (Lovett is a former antiquarian bookseller), perhaps even moreso than the story itself. This is a book written by a book lover for other book lovers - I enjoyed it! 

Monday, July 1, 2013

June: Week Four

Books Read:
  • Silver Girl (Elin Hildenbrand)
  • The Kitchen House (Kathleen Grissom)
  • A Natural History of Dragons (Marie Brennan) 
This was a week for light summer reading...well, except for The Kitchen House, I guess. Silver Girl is a straight up beach read...it was ok - a little melodramatic, but a good vacation read. A Natural History of Dragons had the potential to be a really cute read (about a female protagonist in a Victorian-style fictional country who wanted to study dragons, which was of course totally inappropriate for a lady), but the plot never really went anywhere, so that was disappointing. 

I would recommend The Kitchen House to pretty much everyone, especially if you liked The Help (the book version). The Kitchen House examines slavery in the late 1700s/early 1800s from a different perspective. There are two alternating narrators - Lavinia, an orphaned Irish girl who is sent to live in with the kitchen house slaves until she is old enough to be married off, and Belle, a kitchen house slave who is the white master's daughter. The chapters narrated by Lavinia are always longer - this is mostly her story - but the Belle chapters are important because Lavinia (especially when she is younger) doesn't understand everything that is going on. Great book - I flew through this one! (With that said, I would be interested to know how historically accurate this book is - I wish there had been more historical information about indentured servants, for example.)