Tag Archives: kindle

Small crimes

People are always saying that things have shrunk over the years and on the whole I would agree. For example, last week I was given a wagon wheel. When I was a kid finding a wagon wheel in my lunchbox was like a lottery win (although obviously I wouldn’t have thought that exact thought at the time, as it was pre-lottery) The wheel of chocolate that was a wagon were massive and they were much favoured over the usual non branded chocolate biscuits. This time whilst it was very nice, it just seemed very small, more tonka toy wheel than wagon. You could dunk it in a cup of coffee and I’m sure you wouldn’t have been able to do that years ago.

Monster munch, there’s another micro snack. You can’t bite the toes of a pickled onion foot anymore, the whole thing is only one bite.

Music players have shrunk to Lilliputian standards from the big record players you played vinyl on, to the tiny mp3 players people use now. I saw a man walking down the road listening to a portable cd player the other day and even that looked huge.

Books however, I think are the complete opposite. This week I started reading a book by Carl Hiaasen that a friend lent me. Its an old paperback version and it seems tiny. I know it might just be because the last few books I’ve read have been hardbacks which by necessity are much bigger, but even compared to the paperbacks I’ve bought recently it is really small.

I like to think, in my romantic view of the world, that it is all because paper and ink is affordable now. In Georgian times they used to put a pineapple in the middle of their table to prove their wealth. Now we all want to show off our wealth by buying bigger books.

I suspect though that as with so many things, it’s just about greed. People want more for less, more clothes at less money, 300 channels on their tv, triple whopper double bacon burgers, and now to top it all off bigger books.

Of course there is a third argument, that this may just be a ploy by Amazon to sell their kindles. The bigger the books get, the more we are all going to hate carrying them around, hence the more e-books will sell. That would seem a clever bit of marketing! Luckily the smallness of the book isn’t affecting my enjoyment of Carl Hiaasen, although I won’t be buying any wagon wheels in the near future.

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The Cutting Room by Jilliane Hoffman – a review

This was one of the books I treated myself too at Harrogate, so it was a nice change to read a hardback book for once, and as much as I do love my kindle you can’t beat the feel of a proper book.

In this story women are being brutally killed which heralds the return of serial killer and death row dweller Bill Bantling who we’ve met in Jilliane Hoffman’s previous books. This book felt almost like two separate stories. There was the rich ‘boy about town’ who is accused of murder, and then the development of the Bill Bantling and CJ Townsend story. Bill apparently knows members of the the snuff club that is linked to the murder and offers this knowledge in return for being moved to a different prison.

I’ve read Jilliane Hoffman’s previous books and enjoyed them, and this was no exception. Her books are always nerve wracking, and she has an ability to build suspense that makes them a real page turner. Some scenes such as one which leads to a room in a basement make you want to scream at the characters to stop being so stupid!

If I’m honest though this book was not quite as good as the previous ones and it felt very much that it was a stepping stone to bring back CJ and to bridge a gap to the next proper novel. The new character of Daria seemed a bit one dimensional and from the start I felt she was more of a plot device rather than a new main protagonist.

Although there was a lot of back story included in the Cutting Room, I imagine it would have been tricky to read without having read the previous books as there was a lot of referencing of the previous stories. I quite like a series of books though, as sometimes it is good to follow a character through the years and you feel almost rewarded for the effort and investment put into reading.

The ending was a little bit unsatisfying, not to mention in part slightly unbelievable, which may be why I felt that it was a stopgap to the next book. Although having just been onto Jilliane Hoffman’s website she describes the Cutting Room as the third and final instalment of the CJ/Cupid ‘Thrillogy’ so I’m obviously wrong. In which case dare I say it, the ending was actually very unsatisfying.

Lets hope she changes her mind and we can actually look forward to the return of the clown masked killer!

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Elephants can remember

Unfortunately the blog has been a bit quiet recently, mainly due to work getting in the way, if only I could read for a living! The reviews might be a bit behind but it doesn’t mean the reading is not still happening and the kindle has been getting a good work out as I’ve spent a lot of time travelling recently.

So has my credit card mind you in order to keep up with my demand for kindle books. If only there was a kindle lending library. The card work out is only going to get worse though as I’m off to Hong Kong for two weeks in October so a 15 hour flight is going to need a lot of books. Hopefully some more authors will have been announced for the 2013 festival by then, otherwise all suggestions of books will be gratefully received.

One of my recent non-work trips was down to Colchester to see some friends which was a lovely couple of days. It was great to spend a day being a lady who lunches whilst catching up with an old friend (I even got to feed an elephant!)

My friend’s have a 5 year old girl who nearly enjoyed the day at the zoo as much as me. Spending so much time with a little person was fun (despite the constant stream of conversation from the moment she woke up) it also showed just how much we take for granted.

Reading is completely second nature to most people, you don’t think about it, it just happens (apparently its just like riding a bike, although anyone who has seen me attempting to ride a bike this past year would disagree if they managed to stop laughing long enough) But to a five year old its a completely new experience.

Like all good parents around the world my friends (who are both keen readers themselves) are constantly making the little girl spell out words and ‘put it all together then’ from the litter bin to the sign for the giant ants. It was like one long game to her, but of course had a more serious side of teaching her to read.

It made me realise that reading is just like any other skill, it needs practice and the more you practice the better you get. Equally though to want to learn a skill it has to be something you enjoy. I love reading, I also love books in general and when I can’t read such as on the walk to work I listen to audio books. I’m lucky in that despite my hatred of trains, it gives me lots of time to read and probably explains why I’m quite a fast reader. It does mean though that a two week holiday with a 15 hour flight at each end is going to need a lot of books to keep me occupied!

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The Memory Game

I suspect that people read less nowadays then they used to. Obviously I have no scientific evidence for this at all, but I think its probably common sense. When Charlotte Bronte was penning her stories up in Howarth her other options for entertainment were housework or painting (or maybe polishing the church pews!) so writing and reading would have been all she had to do.

Nowadays of course, we not only have tv and radio, but computers, the internet, games consoles, mobile phones the list goes on. I read somewhere recently that nowadays people go for months without hand writing anything. This means that soon adults will forget how to write completely and will only be able to type. I think it’s hard not to argue that tv and social media has had a massive effect on reading as well and definitely its had a negative effect on peoples ability to concentrate.

TV shows tend to treat us as though we have the attention span of a half dead goldfish. I recently watched an hours show about criminal psychology on Channel 5 (I know, it’s the red top of the terrestrial tv world) It started by telling us what they were going to show in the programme, then we had 10 minutes of actual show, before we got ‘Coming up…’ Then of course we had the first of 3 ad breaks (all over 3 minutes long) Then back to the show which spent 5 minutes telling us what we’d seen before the ad break, just in case we’d forgotten in the space of those 3 minutes.

This went on for the entire show. I imagine if you added it up (which I may try shortly) you would probably only get about 30 minutes of unique material in the whole hour.

This is why I think people no longer read books. Unless they can actually sit and read them in a whole session (Do they still make Dick and Jane books?) then people forget what they’ve read the following day. They are so used to having everything repeated and repeated that without someone going – ‘Welcome to chapter 2, in Chapter 1 we found out…’ – they can’t remember what happened.

Maybe this could be a new business idea? In a recent conversation with a friend she pointed out that my ability to read very fast is a great attribute. Maybe I could use that to start a whole new series of books. I’ll read a book and then turn it into the equivalent of a channel 5 documentary with a few pages at the beginning of each chapter summarizing what you are about to read, and a few pages at the end of each one saying what is about to happen in the next one. Of course this will definitely have to only be available as kindle editions – can you imagine the size of a Mark Billingham novel if you did this?

It could be a winner though and yet another great reason for owning a kindle. I’m off to contact Amazon now (This idea is copyright of acrimereadersblog…)

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