Monthly Archives: September 2009

My Sister’s Keeper

My first impulse purchase on the Kindle… I can see the wisdom behind the "download the first chapter(s) for free" business model.  The right book just sucks you in and by the end of their free sample, you don’t think twice to just buy it.  =)
 
This was such a touching story.  It was a little predictable, but very emotional.  It was pretty sad… almost needlessly tragic.  The characters were interesting and well-developed.  What I liked best was that it really makes you think.  Is it right to have a baby for the singular purpose to have "spare parts" for another child?  It feels so cold and calculating.  The mother’s character was so interesting to me.  Here’s a woman doing everything she can to keep one of her daughters alive.  She all but has given up on her son who lives in a mother-in-law apartment and is a serial arsenic developing cancer and alcoholism… and he’s 16.  She concieves a 2nd daughter just to have a built-in donor at her disposal to keep her other daughter who actually does have cancer alive.  On the one hand, her efforts keep this little girl alive 15+ years longer than was ever imagined.  But this comes at the cost of neglecting one child and subjecting the other child to unecessary invasive medical procedures.  What a hard choice… do you let your sick child go and focus on the kids who are healthy and have a standing chance at a long life?  Or do you do everything humanly possible to keep that child alive despite the havoc it’s wrecking on your family?  Tough.  And if you’re in the shoes of the younger daughter, are you more than happy to donate whatever it is your sister needs from you?  Or do you eventually resent being asked to give so much of yourself.  I just pray I’m never in a position to have to make that choice.
 
I do feel as though it was written to be made into a movie though.  Maybe I’m too cynical, but after having read Wuthering Heights, which is a classic, it felt like there were particular scenes that were a bit jolting as a written story but I could see it working cinematically.  The book is structured as a compilation of short chapters
rotating perspective through each of the main characters.  One of them is a flash back so it gives you the whole backstory.  I felt like I was in an ADD fit flip flopping between characters.  And there were some scenes that felt more cinematic than narrative.   I miss the classics.
 
All-in-all, I give it a thumbs up.  I’d be willing to read another Picoult book to see if the "cinematic" feeling is just her "style".  But I have to get back to my regular reading list… I think Jane Eyre is next.  I also want to squeeze in a David Sedaris book for some good laughs. 
 
 

Wuthering Heights… Kindle – yay or nay?

I just finished Wuthering Heights, the first book I read on my Kindle!!  I really enjoyed it.  What I liked most was how complex Heathcliff’s character was and how Bronte successfully makes you feel a wide range of conflicting feelings about him.  I want despise him, but then I also feel sorry for him.  I’m appalled by how cruel and downright mean he is but at the same time admire his devotion, passion and genuine love for Catherine.  Even though the book had an overall sadness and almost depressing tone, it’s also strangely uplifting.  It’s about redemption, growth, forgiveness and love.  Blah blah blah, more importantly… here’s what I think of the Kindle…
 
So… I have to admit, I actually like the Kindle a lot more than I thought I would.  But, as with everything, there are pros and cons:
 
Pros:
 
  • Form factor – I like that it’s easy to hold, turn the page, stuff into a purse, etc.
  • Whispernet – books miraculously zipped to your Kindle at the push of a button (ok, it’s not a miracle, it’s just the wireless network, but hey it’s still pretty damn cool)
  • Free books – there are SOO many classics that are free!  Every now and then, I just go online and look for my staples… Shakespeare, Kafka, Greek & Roman mythology, Jane Austen, King Author, Grimm’s (and other) fairy tales, etc.  Yeah, I have a weird idea of ‘staple’ books, but strangely enough I find comfort in knowing they’re not only on my bookshelf but also on my Kindle.  Not just that, periodically, other more popular and modern books will become free.
  • Samples – all the books have a free sample you can download a sample and try it out before buying

Cons:

  • It’s too easy to buy a butt load of books.  I have 36 books on my Kindle and I have read all of 1.  Actually, I have more than 36 since I buy collections, which typically have a compilation of books so it’s probably more like 50 books.  I’m not only a slow reader, I barely can find time to read.  I could barely keep up w/ the 3-6 books I would buy every few months let alone the 3-6 books I buy every couple weeks now!
  • They’re UI for purchasing sucks… Amazon definitely doesn’t make it obvious how much you’re spending on books (when you’re buying from the Kindle).  Also, it doesn’t make sense to me that you can find the same book at such different prices… $10 vs. free.  In the print version, it makes sense since there’s different print quality – binding, paper, etc.  But in the digital version, it’s all the same.  Shouldn’t the prices be all the same?  I prefer to do all my shopping online, which puts a little kink in the coolness of the wireless instant download, but I’m still pretty sure that feature will come in handy.
  • I miss bookstores.  I went to Border’s today and realized for the first time just how much I miss that experience.  Judging books by their cover, reading the first page, etc.  It’s great!  Bookstores used to be my weakness.  I could never walk into one without buying something and more often than not, I always end up buying 3-4 books.  Now I peruse the books and try to make a mental note to see if I can find it on Kindle later… how unsatisfying.  I also have to admit that I did have my Kindle on me and resisted all urge to whip it out and look up the books then and there (I know myself well enough to know my ‘mental notes’ don’t last long enough to make it into a post-it note). 

Overall, I’d have to say "yay" to the Kindle.  I love it!  Now I get to decide lucky book number two on the Kindle!