Tuesday, March 2, 2010

February Books

In February I managed to read books that weren't free downloads on the Kindle.

For one thing, I returned to my favorite type of reading -- non-fiction. And I've decided that I really prefer non-fiction to be in a real book with real pages. Also, to be blunt, sometimes the formatting on the Kindle sucks, and the diagrams accompanying a text end up in really odd places.

I tried the free sample download of Why Don't Students Like School by Dan Willingham, and it was an annoying mess on the Kindle. So I got the actual hardback, and discovered true love ... which you already know if you've been around me in real life this past month, since I've probably been waving it in your face and gushing about it like a televangelist, even quoting passages as though they're scripture. Really, I can't distill my enthusiasm into a few sentences. So let's just say I LIKE THIS BOOK. And maybe you should read it, too.

Then, while reading the 180 Degree Health blog (one of my favorite blogs), I noticed a list of books down the sidebar. Scrolling through, I discovered that Dr. Schwarzbein has written a new book, entitled The Schwarzbein Principle II. I'd read The Schwarzbein Principle a couple of years ago (got it from the library, and later put it on my Paperbackswap.com list). So I was eager to read this new, improved version. Fascinating stuff. Although I didn't actually read every word of the book (there are lots of books I browse through -- particularly gardening books like Gayla Trail's Grow Great Grub, or the piles of cookbooks I get from the library -- nice books, but I don't actually READ them). I disagree with some of what Schwarzbein says, but the vast majority of it is sensible.

Reading 2 non-fiction books was enough for my brain to absorb for the month, so I filled in the rest of the time with fiction. On the Kindle.

First up, I downloaded Tiger's Curse for 99 cents. What a fun book! Okay, at times the writing is clunky, and she could've benefitted from a good editing (do we really need an essay on the history of aviation plopped in the middle of a conversation?). But I kept reading through the less well-written bits simply because I wanted to see where the book was headed. I sort of want to read the next book, except that I'm concerned that a) I won't like it as well because the male leads are spending more time as men than as tigers, and the whole thing could slip into a sappy mess (a la Twilight) because of that, and b) the 3rd book isn't written yet, so if I do enjoy book 2 I'll have to wait until who-knows-when to see how things turn out.

Next, a free download, Off the Record by Elizabeth White. Christian romance. Really dippy. If I'd seen this book in the library I wouldn't have checked it out; if I'd seen this book in a "free book" bin I wouldn't have picked it up. So why did I download it and waste my time reading it? I guess because I kept thinking that it would get better, and I couldn't fan through the pages to see where it was heading. I have no problem throwing out crummy paperbacks partially unread; I need to learn to delete crummy downloads without wasting more time finishing them.

Another free download was The Almost True Story of Ryan Fisher by Rob Stennett. The book is Christian satire. Sometimes it struck me as absolutely hilarious, sometimes as downright creepy. The writing seemed choppy at times, although that might have been a function of the formatting on the Kindle -- I had the impression that some parts would've read better if there had been more white space on the page, or the elements had somehow been arranged differently. In any event, I loved the premise -- a non-Christian decides to be "Christian" simply in order to make money off of Christians (I've met those people before, notably that plumber with the flashy cross and the flashy ichthus on his paperwork who turned out to be as incompetent and creepy as I thought he would basis those very symbols). If you read it, expect to see passages along the lines of:

"But she decided to push those feelings away, she decided to side with Jesus and forget about her past mistakes even though siding with Jesus probably wasn't the Christian thing to do," and

"...in his den he had a large collection of unwrapped Star Wars action figures organized alphabetically by home planet," and

"'But I'm what Christians need. I'm their new voice. And I can think so much more clearly than other pastors. I can be articulate and politically correct because I'm not encumbered by things like the Bible and Jesus.' "

And, finally, I just finished my free download of My Name is Russell Fink by Michael Snyder, which is apparently "Lad Lit" (I didn't know this was a genre). Very quirky, very well-written. I laughed, I cried, I was a little peeved that it ended when it did, although I understand why it did. I didn't mark any favorite passages because I was too busy reading. Overall, the best fiction I've read in a long time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oooo... a book list! I see two on there I'm going to go check out now.

I went to school with an artist who made "art for Jesus." They guy wasn't religious at all, just a very talented artist who was smart enough to know he could turn a good buck (enough to help pay for school) by creating Christian-themed artwork.