Why I Only Read On My Kindle and The Wondrous Kate Atkinson

I never thought I’d be that person. I never thought I would give up real books and go completely digital. I mean, I love real books. The feel, the smell, the touch . . . but I’ve given it all up.

A few years ago I got my first Kindle. It was the same one as in the picture up there. And it rocked. It changed my world. Suddenly I really only had to think about a book and BOOM! there it was (well, I had to pay for it, but still . . .). But I continued to check books out of the library because Amazon wasn’t, at the time, library compatible.

And then BOOM! again, Amazon became library compatible. And books prices dropped, and went up, and dropped again, but I could get books from the library (which has become a little tougher, but that’s a different story) and I could get books at a pretty good price. And I could carry six or seven books with me (actually, six or seven HUNDRED, if you count the ones in my cloud) wherever I went. And I switched it up and got a Kindle Fire, then a Kindle Fire HD, and I could listen to my Audible and library books while driving. Or I could watch a movie, but that’s a different story . . .

I have some great shelves with some beautiful old books, and I love the look of them. But I realize I like having my entire library at my fingertips. I also like being able to have some fun books in my library and not feel judged for reading what I call ‘brain candy.’ (I know the judgment is in my mind, but I still feel the judgment. Mostly from myself.) I like that if I read about a great book (on my Kindle, my phone, my laptop), I can immediately link to it on Amazon and purchase it right then. I don’t have to drive anywhere when I’m out of reading material–it is instant gratification at its finest.

I am happy with my choice. I love my Kindle, and I love Amazon for providing me with books at the moment I need them. I also love that it has given so many authors a chance to be published, authors who may never have had a chance with an agent, a publishing house, and the traditional route.

The only thing that worries me about my Kindle and my choice is the zombie scenario (aka the end-of-the-civilized-world). How will I get to read if we have no electricity? I’m going to have to get a great generator just for my Kindle . . . .


“What if we had a chance to do it again and again,” Teddy said, “until we finally did get it right? Wouldn’t that be wonderful?”

Kate Atkinson, what can I say. I am in love. I don’t know how I am just discovering her. I began early in the summer (maybe May) reading “Life After Life” and I was hooked. This is the story of Ursula Todd, who dies at birth in pre-World War I England when the doctor is waylaid thanks to a snowstorm. Or, it is the story of Ursula Todd, born in pre-World War I England because the doctor got there in time. And the book goes on, trudging through different tangents, all telling us how different Ursula’s life, and the lives of those around her) could have been if she had done things slightly differently. Atkinson does the wonderfully, mapping out so many different paths that it made me think about the small choices I make every day.

I have since gone on to read her Jackson Brodie series; “Case Histories,” “One Good Turn,” and “When Will There Be Good News?” They are considered mysteries, and I guess they are, in the most general way. Brodie is a police man who left the force to open his own agency, dreaming of retiring in rural France. The books have mysteries in them, but you follow Brodie and watch as his ‘clients’ lives unfold, and in the end you care more about their outcome than the solving of the mysteries. The BBC made these into a television show a couple of years ago, but I haven’t gotten around to watching them. It has been shown on PBS as well, or so I have heard.

This writer will be on my watch list for years to come.


Comfortable at home and cozy comforts with Maeve Binchy

It’s spring time in Ohio. Finally, I guess. As a girl raised in Colorado, I’m used to a winter that can rear its ugly head all the way into May, or even June or July if you live in the higher elevations. Of course, in Colorado you can have beautiful, sunny days reaching into the 70’s in January. Weather in Colorado is incredibly wonky–but I’ve decided that almost every state says that–except California, who seems to think every day there is sunny. Every day is not sunny in California, but don’t tell them that.

Back to Ohio. Ohio does have some weather fluctuations, but there almost one constant. It is gray A LOT of the year. Sunny days are celebrated and loved. It took me a while to adjust; Colorado is sunny almost all the time, except when it is snowing or, in the summer, an afternoon thunderstorm. But I have adjusted, and have celebrated the last few sunny days along with my fellow Ohioans. All the sun came to an end last night, with the loud crash boom of a sudden thunderstorm, and now we have a rainy day. I really don’t mind. Except that I have to work, and I would rather hibernate under a warm comforter and read my Kindle all day. My work day doesn’t start until noon or so, so today I did cuddle up and read. I did not go to the gym (my excuse? My hair was colored yesterday, today was my swimming day, and I didn’t want to mess up my new wonderful color), so I snuck back under my down comforter and read. And read comfort. I read Maeve Binchy. So, onto that review.

“Because we always regret what we don’t do, rarely what we do do.”

I don’t know why but I went off of Binchy for awhile. And by awhile I mean about four years. May be I was feeling high brow and eschewing all feel-good literature. Maybe I was into dark mysteries. Maybe, because my senior thesis was on James Joyce, I was feeling Binchy would be too happy, too ‘comforting’, compared to Joyce. Maybe it was because I always read her when I went to my mother-in-law’s house and she passed away, and reading Binchy made me sad. I think it was that last one, since I’m tearing up a bit now.

Any way, I decided to read her again last week when I heard about her passing. Her books are a bit of fluff, but fluff like going to your hometown and only seeing the good parts. Fluff like going to your grandma’s, who doesn’t say anything about your faults and even spoils you a bit. Fluff that makes you feel good even though you know outside there is a world where everything is not perfect, where you have to pay your bills, and make dinner for your family. So I fell into the fluff. And it was awesome.

Binchy creates a wonderous vision of Ireland, mainly Dublin, where everyone is closely connected and all the wrongs are righted in the end. She has a knack for bringing back many characters from earlier books, much like another favorite, Stephen King (although they are nothing alike, they do share this tendency).  This makes Dublin seem like a big community where everyone is only one connection away from the shopkeeper down the street. Because of this large sense of community, all it takes is for the right people to meet and the lonely fall in love, alcoholics see the light, bitchy women get there comeuppance and apologize to those they hurt, misunderstandings are straightened out, and adulterers, drug dealers, and/or women beaters are kicked to the curb and usually meet a bad end. Just as we wish it was in real life.

While I was reading this book I found myself reading (mostly in my head, but sometimes out loud) with an Irish accent, inserting words like ‘GRAND’ and ‘LOVELY’ every once and awhile. I nestled in and didn’t want to put the book down. I wanted to go to St. Brigid’s Heart Center and get a job just so I could be part of this wonderful Ireland.

I did not want Heart and Soul to end, as I remember feeling with all Binchy books. I wanted to curl up and continue to be engulfed in this world. Ensconced. Enmeshed. Entranced. Hmm, I may have to pick up another Binchy book for tonight. Her books make me smile and sigh contendedly, and I don’t think this is a bad thing. In fact, I think every once and awhile a book should make you smile and sigh. Everyone needs a reason for that.

The newest Binchy book is A Week in Winterpublished a couple of months ago. It’s on my to read list, but will have to wait a bit. I wish I could jump right in, but I have so many books on my Kindle that I can’t justify it. I’ll wait for another rainy day or a sad patch in life, whichever comes first, and then take the trip back to Ireland. I can’t wait to be sad.