Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Book Recommendation – Feb. 26

My favorite fellow book reader bought me a page-a-day calendar this year that is all about great books. I was going to start collecting a pile of the days/books that I wanted to add to my list, but I thought it would be more fun to post them here. Please provide feedback if I ever post one that you've read so I know whether or not to keep it on my list! (I have a few from earlier in the year, but I just thought of this idea now ... so maybe those can be future posts.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

amazon kindle

A friend emailed me quite a while back (sorry Mark!) about this cool new device from Amazon.com, and at first I was skeptical, but now I think this thing could be the coolest new device I've seen in a long time.

The Kindle is an automatic book reader that holds over 200 titles. It's the size of a paperback book, weighs about 10 oz, has an electronic-paper display that eliminates eyestrain, and doesn't require any wireless plan. Amazing! You can download from a huge list of titles (books, magazines and newspapers) right from Amazon's Kindle store and most books cost $9.99 or less. You can also subscribe to blogs as well as house Word documents and photos on it. Check out the demo video in the Kindle link to see even more cool features. The downside is that the cost of the unit is $399 and they are currently out of stock because demand has been so high.

I am really excited by this technology. It seems like such a great way to travel lighter (I have a serious over-packing problem). On the other hand, one of my favorite things to do on vacation is walk around the pool or down the aisle of the plane and observe what everyone else is reading. I love the smell of a new book and the feeling I get when I crack it open to the first chapter. I even have a dictionary in my nightstand in case I need to look up a word in a hurry and don't want to leave the warm sheets! But Kindle has a built-in dictionary – oh I am so torn! I'm thinking I will wait for the price to go down (it always does) and try one out. It will never replace the real thing, but I'm techie enough to want one. Unless of course someone needs a good gift idea for me....

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Almost Moon

It's no secret what the opening line of The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold is: "When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily." And I was definitely intrigued by that crazy sentence. But once I got past the first page I was mostly speechless at how incredibly morbid, creepy and tense the rest of the book was. I will admit that the story flowed and I read it relatively quickly, but I couldn't help but be completely offended as I turned each page. I was wondering what I could possibly say about it in this post, and I'm pretty sure I'm still speechless. Instead, I am including a review from Publisher's Weekly and a warning from me: Read at your own risk.

"Sebold's disappointing second novel (after much-lauded The Lovely Bones) opens with the narrator's statement that she has killed her mother. Helen Knightly, herself the mother of two daughters and an art class model old enough to be the mother of the students who sketch her nude figure, is the dutiful but resentful caretaker for her senile 88-year-old mother, Clair. One day, traumatized by the stink of Clair's voided bowels and determined to bathe her, Helen succumbs to a life-long dream and smothers Clair, who had sucked the life out of [Helen] day by day, year by year. After dragging Clair's corpse into the cellar and phoning her ex-husband to confess her crime, Helen has sex with her best friend's 30-year-old blond-god doofus son. Jumping between past and present, Sebold reveals the family's fractured past (insane, agoraphobic mother; tormented father, dead by suicide) and creates a portrait of Clair that resembles Sebold's own mother as portrayed in her memoir, Lucky. While Helen has clearly suffered at her mother's hands, the matricide is woefully contrived, and Helen's handling of the body and her subsequent actions seem almost slapstick. Sebold can write, that's clear, but her sophomore effort is not in line with her talent."