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C.S. Lewis

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I know, I know. I’m a bad blogger. But in order to earn your forgiveness, I’m letting you know about a great sale on C.S. Lewis books for Kindle. Here is the complete list. And here are the ones I bought:

The Business of Heaven: Daily Readings from C. S. Lewis
On Stories: And Other Essays on Literature
Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold
A Mind Awake: An Anthology of C. S. Lewis
The Four Loves (Harvest Book)

I can’t wait to start reading! How about you?

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Updates

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I know, it’s been almost two months since I’ve updated. Strange how sometimes I have tons of ideas and find writing therapeutic, and other times there’s just nothing there. So they say the only cure for writer’s block is to write, so here’s a few updates on what’s going on.

The Kid

MB is doing great in Kindergarten. So far she’s gotten a star every day! She started Girl Scouts (Daisy Scouts) about a month ago, and she seems to enjoy it (at least she says she does), although she acts really shy while she’s there. She does seem to be opening up a little, though, so I’m hoping it will be a good way to get to know some different kids.

We’ve been doing less well at home. We moved her bedtime up, and that seems to be helping.

The Job

Well, not exactly, but I’m doing an Android development study group with some co-workers. We just started a couple of weeks ago, but I’m blaming that retroactively for sucking up quite a bit of my time. It’s fun, but a lot of reading, listening, and experimenting.

TV

I finished watching Fringe season 4 on DVD, so I am now watching the fifth and final season along with the rest of the world, which is exciting. Strangely, though, I’m finding this season somewhat weaker than the previous ones. That deserves its own post, so I’ll try to get to that soon. Expect spoilers if you’re not caught up.

Hmmm, I just realized that my last post was about the time that I received the DVDs. I’m blaming my blogging hiatus on that, then.

However, since I’m no longer devouring Fringe like a crazy person, I’ve had to branch out to some other show. In particular, DH and I are both enjoying Last Resort, which is a minor miracle. I’m worried that they won’t be able to keep the premise going for long, but I also worried about the same thing with Lost, and that turned out fine (in my opinion!). We’ve also given Nashville a try, but I’m probably not going to make an effort to keep up with it. I’m not sure how DH feels about it, but I think it’s a little too soapy. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still watch it if I happen to catch it, but I’m not going to make an effort to catch it, or to watch it later if I miss it. On Netflix, I have discovered Twin Peaks. I’ve heard so many good things about this show that I’ve wanted to give it a try, and I’m enjoying it and pretty much watching it straight through. There are only two short seasons, plus a movie, so it’s not a huge commitment, and I don’t feel too bad about taking a break from my other Netflix viewing.

Books

Ah, books. I’m still reading as much as ever. I made a goal a couple of months ago to read one non-fiction book per month, and so far I’ve done it. My most recent read was When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself, which was excellent, and I’ve started The Historian, which is turning out to be a great Halloween read. I’ve actually read quite a few pretty amazing books in the last few months that may make it into a future post. Stay tuned. Oh, and I’m still rocking along on the Outlander audio books – I’m almost finished with the third book, Voyager.


Well, I’m at almost 600 words, so it looks like I haven’t done too bad for not knowing what to write about! I’ll try to do better. I’m also wanting to start writing on my other blog, Marianne Plays With Computers, which I haven’t updated for over a year. (See how good you have it over here?) Till next time (hopefully sooner rather than later!).

Something Different in YA

It’s been a crazy few weeks around here. School started this week, so first there were all the pre-school fuss with teacher visits, meet the teacher night, and making sure we had everything MB needed. Then there was the first day. Then there was parent orientation. And figuring out how the logistical stuff was going to work now that MB is closer to home, but farther from both of our workplaces. So that’s what’s been going on and why I haven’t been able to think much about blogging lately. I do have a few ideas, though, so stay tuned.

I’m still reading as much as ever, though, so today it’s about a book I read recently that is a little different from anything I’d read before, and it’s a YA book, too. It’s Liar by Justine Larbalestier.

Micah Wilkins is a liar. Since the story is told in first person, she is the most unreliable narrator you could wish for, despite her initial promise to tell us the truth. One thing does seem to be true is that her boyfriend, Zach, is dead, and no one is sure what exactly happened to him. Micah and his other friends, including his “real” girlfriend, are being questioned by the police, and Micah may be a suspect because of her illicit relationship with him.

The book is divided into three parts, “Telling the Truth,” “Telling the True Truth,” and “The Actual Real Truth.” Each begins with Micah’s confession of lies in the past and a resolution to now tell the real truth, complete with a confession that throws a whole new light on the story told in the previous part.

The story is intriguing. Personally, I just went with whatever Micah was saying at the time, expecting to be able to figure it all out in retrospect. When it was over, I still wasn’t sure exactly what the truth was, although I certainly understood more than I had before. And I had realized that Micah was so deep into her lies that she probably didn’t fully understand the truth, either.

Sorry if that’s a really cryptic description, but the book itself is as well. Despite (or more likely, because of) its weirdness, I really enjoyed this book. It kept me in suspense until the very end. Actually, beyond that. If you look at the reviews, it’s clear that people aren’t quite sure what to think of it. If you’re OK with having to stay on your toes and not having complete a complete resolution at the end (ie., if you are a fan of Lost), you will probably enjoy this book in the same way. If that kind of thing drives you crazy, stay away.

What’s on My Kindle – WWII Edition

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Well I didn’t plan it this way, but for some reason I’m reading a lot of World War II books on my Kindle right now.

I recently finished Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. It’s actually a relatively short book. It was on my list because it’s often associated with Lost. With good reason, because it’s about a man who becomes “unstuck” in time. The effects aren’t the same as they were for Desmond, though.

Then, for some reason, I decided to start The Book Thief. Now this book is pretty popular and gets a lot of rave reviews, with good reason. But it’s also about a girl living in Germany during WWII and opens with the death of her brother, so it’s kind of a downer, too.

I then saw something online about a Kindle Single called Double-Edged Sword. It’s available in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library for Amazon Prime Members, so I decided to go ahead and borrow it for July. I further decided to preempt The Book Thief in favor of this one since it’s pretty short (clocking in at around 70 pages). It’s also much more light-hearted, about a Spanish double agent. So far it’s a pretty good read, so I’ll let you know how I like it overall after I’m done.

So that’s what’s on my Kindle right now. I’m going to make it a point to ensure that my next read is completely unrelated to World War II, though. How about you? What’s on your e-reader or nightstand?

The Kingkiller Chronicle

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This is another one that I’ve been meaning to write a post about for a while. I was first introduced to these books a couple of years ago. A Kindle message board I’m a member of has a monthly game where they pair people up to assign each other to read a book that may be a little outside their respective comfort zones. I decided to participate over the summer, and I was given The Name of the Wind as my assignment.

The book is a fantasy, a genre I certainly don’t have anything against, since there are a few on my all-time favorites list. Still, it’s a tricky genre for me. I feel like it’s a fine line to walk between having a fully-formed, believable world and too much unnecessary detail. I don’t typically seek out a fantasy book unless I’ve gotten a specific recommendation.

In this case I did have a recommendation, so I toodled off to Amazon to purchase the Kindle version. I started reading, and found it a bit hard to get into at first. It feels like we get dropped into the middle of some sort of political and/or metaphysical conflict that the characters understand somewhat but the reader does not. The characters are all sort of bland and stereotypical small village-type people. (That is, people living in a small village, not a short rock group.) A man named Chronicler is robbed on the road and then rescued from spider-shaped demons by Kote, the local innkeeper. After the ordeal is over, Chronicler recognizes Kote as Kvothe, an almost mythological figure in that land. Chronicler gets Kote to agree to tell his story so he can record it. Kote says it will take three days, and The Name of the Wind is the first day of the story.

This is where things started to get interesting. Once Kote/Kvothe took over the narrative, the book sprang to life for me, kind of like Dorothy stepping into a Technicolor Oz. The characters he talked about were real, flawed, beautiful people. I don’t want to spoil any of the story for you, but Kvothe goes through more situations in his early life than you would have thought possible. From traveling with his family of performers to learning what we would call magic (although they treat it very scientifically) at University, the thread that runs through the story is his desire to learn more about the Chandrian, some sort of evil beings, or spirits, that most people in his world believe to be fairy tales, especially at the University. When bad things happened to Kvothe, my own gut twisted with the unfairness of it all. When things worked out for him, I was elated. It was hard to put the book down.

The end of the book comes at the end of the day. Kote the innkeeper wraps up a few threads of the story, but we know that there is plenty more to come in the next two days. Somehow this all must connect to what is going on in the “present.” A late-night visit and request that Chronicler receives from Kote’s student (or at least that seems to be their relationship) only adds to the mystery.

Thankfully I didn’t have long to wait for the second book, The Wise Man’s Fear, which came out later that year. I was anxious to spend more time with Kvothe, and I devoured this one, too. I have to admit that I didn’t find the second installment quite as compelling as the first. It seemed to drag a bit in the middle. (Frankly, part of the draginess was that Kvothe discovered sex.) The story did advance quite a bit, although we still haven’t learned why Kvothe was called “kingkiller” (despite his stint in the royal court during which no kings died, killed by Kvothe or otherwise) or much new information about what is going on in the “present,” except my growing conviction that it must have something to do with the Chandrian.

Now I’m stuck with all the rest of author Patrick Rothfuss’s fans waiting for book three, though, which isn’t even available for pre-order yet. (According to Goodreads.com it’s projected release date is May 1, 2013.) Sigh. At least that gives me plenty of time to re-read the first two books, the first of which weighs in at a hearty 676 pages, the second at just over 1000!

Bottom line, these books are excellent overall. Except for the knowledge that sex is being had, they are pretty tame and probably appropriate for the YA crowd. You should check them out. I’d love to know what you think about them!

Audible Love

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So I did buy the Outlander audio books – all seven of them – as I told you I thought I would. I’ve finished listening to Outlander, the first in the series. I’m catching up on some podcast listening before moving on to the next, but I am excited to start it.

The series is narrated by Davina Porter. At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about her voice. It’s a bit low-pitched for a woman’s voice, and even a little rough. She has definitely grown on me, though. She does a wonderful job of providing different voices to the different characters, and her accents are amazing.

As for the story, well, you know how I feel about it. I love spending time with Claire, Jaime, and the rest. I loved them in print (well, on the Kindle), and I’m loving them again in audio.

One last thing to note is that I’m not typically an audio learner. That’s probably why I’ve been so reluctant to get into audio books thus far. I have really gotten into listening to podcasts in the last few years, though, especially while at work and in the car, so I thought maybe it was time to give audio books a go. All that to say that I think I’m particularly enjoying the experience because I had already read the books. I worry that if listening was my first experience with the books I wouldn’t catch as much as I did reading them. Maybe that will be my next audible adventure – listening to a new (at least to me) fiction book. It will be a while, though, since I have a couple hundred more hours of Outlander goodness to enjoy!

The Big Deal is Back!

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The Big Deal sale on Amazon Kindle books is back. But hurry because it ends tomorrow! (Sorry!) You want to know my picks this time? Here ya go – I aim to please!

I also picked up a few other cheap books today, all $2.99 Christian non-fiction recommended by Julie Clawson:

I’m not sure whether these are part of the Big Deal sale or not, so I’m not sure what the prices on these will do after tomorrow. (Heck, I don’t know what the prices will do on the others, either. Sometimes it’s more of a “highlight good, cheap books” thing rather than a temporary sale.)