Archive | Books RSS feed for this section

Review: Kindle 4

25 Jul

I was totally shocked when I opened up my three year anniversary gift to find a Kindle 4 from my wonderful boyfriend. Shocked, and slightly concerned. As much as I used to hate to admit it, I’ve never been much of a reader. I have this awful habit of starting a new book, then abandoning it halfway in for a new craft or to watch the entirety of “30 Rock” again on Netflix. Right now I can name four books sitting in various places across mine and Alex’s homes that need to be finished.

So I was concerned, mostly because I didn’t want Alex- who has this amazing way of finding the most creative and surprising gifts- to see this new toy go unused like I feared it might.  I’ve also been a fan of the actual book (as a print reporter I kind of encourage paper-based reading as much as possible). Tucked away on book shelves, rows and rows creating pretty new color schemes. I just wasn’t sure if I’d be on board for the e-reader movement.

I couldn’t have been more off base.

So far I have read six books in a little bit less than a month. That’s about as many as I’ve read in two years. It’s just so easy! I have this little library about the size of a piece of mail, and at any time I can grab it for a quick and easy read. No tabbing pages, or finding where you are if you’re lost, or carrying a bulky and sometimes heavy book with you. People aren’t grabbing you while you’re reading to ask what your book is about, because it’s pretty discreet. No strangers scanning the back cover while you’re in public. It really gives me no excuse not to read.

The Kindle 4 is currently my favorite piece of technology that I own. It’s small and incredibly lightweight, which means I can hold it in one hand and throw it in my bag without ever knowing it’s there. It’s got a great screen for reading that doesn’t tire my eyes out like a computer screen. And you know how they’re always flaunting that it isn’t hard to read in intense sunlight? Yeah, that’s a lot more exciting when you see it in person. The brighter the light, the easier it actually is to read.

Most importantly to me is that it’s really affordable, and Alex saved money buying the version with ads, which only pop up when I put it on sleep or at the bottom of my home page. They go entirely unnoticed and I don’t know why anyone would waste fifty dollars on the ad-free Kindle 4. Most library have e-reader rentals for free that last up to two weeks, and Amazon runs deals on all of their Kindle e-readers. I got my first book, The Hunger Games, for $3. So far I’ve payed maybe about $5 for books.

I really dig the lack of a touch screen. There are two buttons on each side of the e-reader, with a larger one to turn the page forward on both sides and a smaller one to go back just above. Engineered perfectly, so they don’t turn a page if you move your hand the wrong way. Then there’s a few small keys at the bottom as other guides. This isn’t designed for typing, so why make it annoying with a touch screen? Plus, in the month that I’ve had the Kindle 4 I have charged it once. I use it at least 3-4 times a day, about 3 hours a day, and I have only had to charge it for about 3 hours once a few weeks ago. It’s beyond convenient.

And the best part about the Kindle 4? It is nothing more than an e-reader. A fabulous, tiny little e-reader. Sure you can buy books on the Amazon site when around wi-fi, and when you’re done reading a book you can post a tweet that says you finished it, but there isn’t a Facebook notification popping up every time someone posts a new picture of them at a bar. It doesn’t vibrate every time I get a spam e-mail from some Nigerian prince. I am disconnected, and still able to access my own collection of reading. And let’s face it, who my age really needs a tablet? I mean how many tweets are you reading that are so urgent that you need to constantly be connected all day, every day. My Kindle pulls me away from the constant noise of social media for a few hours a day. I really can’t explain what it does for my mind. It feels like one big, long, giganticly refreshing sigh.

I absolutely love my Kindle. I would be so bored and boring without it. I tell everyone I know to go out and buy this instead of a bulky iPod. Just read!

Advertisements

The Girl That Didn’t Win a Pulitzer Prize

16 Apr

…That’s me. I know, guys, shocking, I know. That video I posted about the penguins on an airplane at least deserved some recognition… but somehow I’ll get over it.

In all seriousness Pulitzer time has always been something I’ve admired. Even as a kid in the library my weird little mind would take me directly to Pulitzer Prize winners before anything else. When I would write short stories in class I would imagine that shiny gold sticker stamped over the corner of my story

Not mine.

about *NSYNC or Crazy Bones or whatever it was I was in love with at the time.  This year the Philadelphia Inquirer by me has had some winners of their own, which is very exciting because Philadelphia is better than everywhere else in the world.

Having winners so close to me also makes me wonder if I’ll ever get the chance to do something that monumental. I mean, it’s a big deal. It’s what every writer that has had something published aspires to earn; basically a big shiny medal that says “You Da Best.”

I hate to toot my own horn, but I know I’m pretty good at what I do. The thing that concerns me is that I don’t think I’m motivated enough to earn what these guys have earned, which I think can be the case for a lot of people in a million different careers. Entry level can kind of suck. Doing the bottom rung work all day, not earning any money for it, and not getting much credit: that’s pretty much entry level in a nutshell. And I think that kind of kills my motivation to go forward and do more. I guess that’s what makes it easy for people to settle into a career they don’t love and lose sight of bigger goals. But there’s still that little twang of jealousy every time I hear of Pulitzer Prize winners, so maybe hope isn’t completely lost.

Maybe in a few years I’ll be celebrating with my own gold sticker on my own children’s book for little nerds like my childhood self to pick up. But this year, I think I’ll just go through the pages of this blog, watching videos of talking animals and pictures of cute animals.

It’s Not that I Have a Problem with The Hunger Games…

23 Mar

I just don’t understand it so I wish people would stop talking about it! This has been the topic of conversation for every television channel, Facebook post and radio station for entirely too long.

I’m sure if I were to sit down and read the books I would really like them. I’m kind of trend-obsessed and this is right up my alley.  I just am too busy online shopping and drinking Diet Coke working to get absorbed into another obsession.

This is kind of how my mind worked out: The Hunger Games? Oh that sounds like a good series to read… Oh, crap they’re expensive… Great, there will be a movie!… oh that guy that’s dating Miley Cyrus is in it… she’s annoying… is she in it?… I think I’ll pass…

So no I won’t be going to see The Hunger Games and I understand that my logic is crazy, but who cares. Let me be a grumpy old lady.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Suess!

2 Mar

If you didn’t grow up reading Dr. Suess, I feel sad for you. The man who provided children all over the world with so many amazingly wacky and fantastic stories, like “The Cat and the Hat” and “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” would have been 108 today.

Dr. Suess made it okay for kids like me to turn the world into a colorful world of craziness every once in a while. He brightened up life in his stories, and through that he inspired me to be more creative in writing and drawing. I was genuinely driven to live life a little more uniquely because of him.

I think the world is better off because of the his books. They did so much while saying so little, and in a world full of blabber I can really appreciate that. Happy birthday, Dr. Suess!

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.” 

Cutest Book Ever

24 Jan

I’ve never been much of a girly girl.

Let me rephrase that: I am girly, but when around my female friends I somehow end up being extremely non-girly. That never seemed to be a problem when surrounded by my infinite number of gay friends in high school (oh yeah, I was the epitome of a teenage Grace Adler. I absolutely loved it, and my date and I looked awesome at prom, so there.), but now my conversations have switched from fashion and hunky celebs to finding out if Bryzgalov of Bobrovsky is in goal tonight. So, yeah, I’ve steered more towards the tomboy style in my later years, but I still love a lot of girly stuff. Fashion, shopping, adorable anything and Mindy Kaling’s book.

“Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me? And Other Concerns” is a genuinely cute and funny book. Written by The Office’s Mindly Kaling (comedy writer who also plays ultimate girly-girl Kelly Kapoor on the show), it is basically a collection of essays about her life and personal beliefs and memories. Sounds heavy huh? It’s actually not, it’s just adorable. It’s a series of thoughts and stories that are so embarrassingly true to every girl’s own personal life, the things you were always kind of nervous to say out loud but were always thinking.

My favorite part? Definitely her chapter on love and weddings. It was just the moment for me that showed how much sense and how much heart she really had. In it she says:

“In real life, shouldn’t a wedding be an awesome party you throw with your great pal, in the presence of a bunch of your other friends? A great day, for sure, but not the beginning and certainly not the end of your friendship with a person you can’t wait to talk about gardening with for the next forty years.”

You. Go. Girl. Everything I’ve ever felt about love and marriage summed up into one neat mini-paragraph. Yeah, I got choked up when I read that for the first time, so what?

This book ends up putting you into a scene, giving you the general feeling that you’re sitting around on a big comfy (probably pink) couch with Mindy, wearing sweatpants, drinking wine and just dishing about life. Which is great because she seems like an all-around fabulous girl and the exact person I would want to force my girly side out. Homegirl’s got spunk, and she rocks it.

P.S. Mindy, if you happen to read this, it actually took me a little more than 2 months to read your book. Yes, I know there is something wrong with that, but I had a lot of episodes of “Bridezillas” to catch up on in between.