Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Light Reading

The Kindle TouchVera gave me a Kindle Touch for Christmas. I like it.

When I first heard of these e-readers my initial reaction was less than enthusiastic. I’m one of those people who has lived a life fairly devoted to books and reading, enough to have developed a strong affection for page-turning and the physical pleasures of books -- their feel, their look, even the way they smell. Even the weight of a book seems meaningful to me, like the literal weight of a book somehow represents its figurative “weight” or significance, too.

Meanwhile, this Kindle weighs just 7.8 ounces. Barely anything. Feels like small picture frame. Looks like a notepad. And smells like... well, nothing.

It took me about fifty tries before I stopped touching the screen a couple of lines before reaching the bottom of the page. I never realized it before, but I suppose when reading a book I had the habit of lifting the page a moment or two early, readying to flip the moment I had read the last word. Can’t do that with the Kindle.

I’m getting used to it, though, and I think it will probably lead to my reading more contemporary fiction and nonfiction in the coming year. Would be cool to be able to read blogs on this sucker, but it doesn’t appear to be set up for that. (I can get on the web via wi-fi with it, though, if I want.)

We have Amazon Prime, too, which means I can take books out of the “Lending Library.” Like many new Kindle users, I started out by taking out Suzanne Collins’ best seller The Hunger Games, and I have read about a hundred “pages” so far.

'The Hunger Games' (2008) by Suzanne CollinesI had actually been mildly curious about the book even before I saw it at the top of the list of suggested titles, mainly because last year we’d heard a lot about a film adaptation being shot not too far from where we live. In fact, there was a short period in there somewhere when I’d even considered going to a casting call for extras, but ultimately decided it would take too much time were I chosen to participate.

The book pretty obviously lifts its premise from Shirley Jackson’s famous New Yorker short story from 1948, “The Lottery.” Also borrows a lot from Stephen King, especially his early one The Long Walk (1979) which I once wrote about here, a book also clearly influenced by Jackson’s tale.

The story is entertaining enough so far, though. The set-up is rapidly delivered. It’s the U.S., only different. We’re a little ways into the future, following some sort of civil war that resulted in the Capitol wielding totalitarian-like dominance over the other twelve “districts.” Once a year two adolescents from each district are selected to participate in a barbaric fight-to-the-death from which only one survives (the “games” of the title).

The reason for the contest seems pretty sketchy -- they are “a yearly reminder” from the Capitol of their power over the districts and that any sort of rebellion like “the Dark Days” of the previous uprising “must never be repeated.” Erm, okay. I assume-slash-hope there is more back story to come.

The set up and story actually remind me somewhat of a freezeout multi-table tournament. I made a similar analogy in that post about The Long Walk during the WSOP Main Event a couple of years ago.

Like with an MTT, it’s a similar sort of scenario in which only one can possibly “survive.” And like in a poker tourney, the players in the “games” come to it with differing levels of preparedness and skill. There’s even talk of sponsorships perhaps unduly affecting players’ competitiveness, another detail that is making me think of the professional tourney circuit.

We’ll see where it goes, and whether or not I’ll be inspired to read more than just the first book of Collins’ trilogy.

'Same Difference' (2009) by Martin Harris (for the Kindle)Meanwhile, I’m seeing a lot of other cool titles for the Kindle. My novel Same Difference is in there, too, by the way, if you’re looking for something to add to your new Kindle. It’s a detective novel set in mid-1970s NYC amid the grindhouses and other sordid Times Square fare. I purposely priced the Kindle version on the low side, so if spicy murder mysteries are your thing, check it out.

I’ve had a few people tell me my book is a “page-turner,” which I’ve liked hearing. No way you can say that about the Kindle version, though.

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3 Comments:

Blogger KenP said...

Take a look a Calibre which is a great ebook management tool. It is freeware and support is via an active forum.

12/27/2011 12:29 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Re: reading blogs on the Kindle: I don't know of any decent RSS readers, but I've been using Instapaper to mark articles as something I'd like to read later on my Kindle. Then they're automatically sent to my Kindle every Friday.

In this new age, your novel becomes a "real e-ink refresher"...

12/27/2011 1:15 PM  
Blogger bellatrix78 said...

Man, I dont know if my earlier comment went through.

Just wanted to say that I really loved the Hunger Games. though I don't understand why it is labeled as "Young Adult". Especially the 2nd and 3rd books get darker and darker. Still, it is exciting to accompany our heroine through the depths of Panem and he quest to defeat the Capitol. Collins really explains the part of the accidental hero well. They are page turners but will leave you drained in the end.

12/29/2011 6:09 AM  

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