So much for thinking I would do an end of month summary of the books I both liked, and disliked, for that period. Again I am halfway through April and haven’t shared the books read in the month of March. Looking back at the list of books I’ve read since I last posted on this subject I found this may be one of the most eclectic months of reading in a long time.
First, I had the opportunity to read two very different books by fellow bloggers and enjoyed them both.
The Case of Deceit by JL Phillips better known to many of you as Jackie at To Breathe is to Write. This was a fun, fast-paced Private Detective story involving Dee Dee Watson and her sidekick pup, Tee. I have loved getting to know Jackie for her wit which spills over in her character of Dee Dee. This is one laugh-out-loud story and I look forward to the next edition of this series.
Rightsizing: A SMART Living 365 Guide to Reinventing Retirement by Kathy Gottberg. Kathy blogs at SMART Living 365, and in this book Kathy has compiled a collection of her blog posts pertaining to retirement. It’s nice to have the structure this book offers over searching through the pages of posts on her website, although please feel free to go visit as there is wealth of wonderful articles to be found. While this book is about reinventing retirement I wouldn’t just recommend this to those retired or about to retire as the information is invaluable to those of all ages and the younger you know what you want the easier it will be to retire comfortably or maybe even earlier than one would expect.
In an attempt to help my son get the word out about his writing since he doesn’t have a blog I read Kill Your Blog: 12 Reasons Why You Should Stop F#$%ing Blogging! by Buck Flogging aka Matt Stone. Stone had a very successful blog with readership in the hundreds of thousands but was much like my son interested in blogging only to get attention for his books. Stone shut down his blog and tells us how he freed up time for his real writing passion and how you too can get the attention for much less time invested than a blog requires. Stone goes on to show how his sales increased dramatically after he killed his blog. His tips do require an increased time commitment in the beginning to get noticed but after that initial period things settled down freeing up those hours to write his books.
I turned my attention to learning more about my health by reading Dr. John McDougall’s Digestive Tune Up. I have been searching for years a simple answer to what happens in the body once a gallbladder has been removed. I finally found the answer. This is an interesting book as McDougall tells his story in a personable manner by using two clients and their conversations as they discuss their health problems during appointments with Dr. McDougall. If these are in fact real people they were two of the sickest people possible but at least they are humorous. The information, which could have been dull and dry, was highly entertaining while educational.
Being disappointed in Money Secrets of the Amish by Loriliee Craker (you can find my review here) I spotted Amish Values for Your Family: What We Can Learn From the Simple Life by Suzanne Woods Fisher on Scribd and decided to give it a chance. This was a better book with humorous quotes and lovely personal stories from Amish individuals. To sum up in a few words Amish Values for Your Family could have been written about any generation or group of people who kept themselves separate from the rampant consumerism we see around us. Not a bad book but not one I would read again.
In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson, I satisfied my curiosity about Australia in a way only Bryson could tell the story. I don’t know how Australians handle the amount of dangers the face (deadly insects and such) do day in, day out. Bryson, takes us back through the founding of Australia right through to present day while he treks from one side of the country to the next. He makes quite the case against the common practice of introducing non-native plants and animals into an ecosystem as well. In one story about a man who brought 24 rabbits to the country and let them loose for his enjoyment multiplied so quickly because they had no predators that the rabbits completely devoured the grass and plants without which the minuscule topsoil was blown away leaving barren land that spread covering a wide area.
But it’s Bryson’s wit that holds me. There are gems such as a little girl who tells a banker she built a house and when asked if she will be building a house next week too replies, “I will if we ever get the fucking bricks.” I bet her mother was proud at that moment. Or the story of a man who asks another man if he knows why the seat between them is empty at a football game, not a common occurrence the game is so popular. The second man replies that it belonged to his wife who has passed away. After expressing his condolence the first man suggests he could have given the extra ticket to a friend or family member to which the widowed man responds “Oh no, they’re all at the funeral.”
I began reading Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States through Scribd but hit my limit and wasn’t permitted more than a sample of the book, which I didn’t realize up front. What I read was enlightening and I highly recommend the book to everyone. There’s a lot of history left out of our education that explains a lot about the place we find ourselves today.
This is on my list to find at the library and complete my history lesson on my country.
The one book I didn’t enjoy was Choke by Chuck Palahniuk (best known for Fight Club). The summary sounded interesting. Victor, a med school student, leaves school to find employment upon learning his mother has placed responsibility for her medical care on him. To come up with enough money to pay for her nursing home he makes the rounds of the best restaurants in the area and pretends to choke on food “allowing” people to save him and therefore feel responsible for him. In return they send him money to help with various stories he has given to each. This story line was so implausible, if you are so down on your luck how is it that you could afford to dine at high end establishments in the first place? Anyway, there is very little about this choking for income and more about Victor’s sex addiction (very explicit scenes). What I did find interesting though was the story of Victor’s best friend, Denny. Denny, also a sex addict, would have been the perfect character to build a story of addiction and ways addicts will substitute one addiction for another. I should be fair here and tell you I passed this book on to my son, a Palahniuk fan who loved it. This is one of those cases where you either love the book or hate it, I fell into the latter category.
Add to these I’ve also read my son’s latest books, Threads is a great trilogy I reviewed earlier. I also read his full-length novel Duality, a story about the good versus evil sides to our personalities, which he is currently using to test the traditional publishing path.
I could swear I read more books than that but those are all the ones I can recall.
As the months pass I find myself moving away from the subscription services for reading. My first experiment was with Oyster, which closed shop. I loved that service and miss it very much. I decided to give Scribd a go and found it less than acceptable for me. Popular titles, if available, are available only as audio books, which I don’t enjoy, with one audio book per month per customer. The only thing “unlimited” about the service is sheet music which I have no use for.
I considered the Kindle Unlimited but doing a search found titles I had an interest in reading weren’t included. I don’t understand the interest in Kindle Unlimited as it competes with Kindle Prime. For less money, Prime gives you free two day shipping on orders, free books in the lending library (a much more extensive library than that offered by Unlimited) and free movies. So why do people pay for Unlimited?
To add insult to injury my tablet died a week ago. One minute I’m reading then all of a sudden the screen becomes blurry and then just dies. If I want to read using a Kindle app I’ll have to use my phone to do so. I’m not against using my phone, although I did like the larger screen of a tablet but I don’t find a lot of books offered for free of interest. As a result expect to see more books read in print (my favorite anyway) that I’ll borrow from the library in coming months.