21 October 2014

The science of comprehension as it relates to reading actual books versus ebooks...

I just read an article about comprehension. A couple years ago I think I would have been skeptical of the findings. These days I am thinking that I agree with the article.

I do find that my vision pattern is not the same when I read an article on my iphone. I find that my reading is very "skippy". I don't track well. Why? My theory is that I am looking for "just the facts, Ma'am". I want instant gratification from online articles.

I haven't paid much attention to how I read an ebook on my Kindle or nook ereaders though. Lately, the books that I've been reading are from a favorite series or they are titles that I anticipate wanting to keep or wanting to lend and so I've been buying and reading actual printed books and not ebooks, for the most part.

I've also found that my brain power has ebbed a bit the past couple of years. I do not think it is a coincidence that I have read less the last couple years. We will choose not to pay heed to the fact that time rolls on and I have a birthday tomorrow. I'm sure age has nothing to do with it. 


What say you?

01 October 2014

Outlander (book 1) by Diana Gabaldon

I was aware of this series of books for a long time. I don't recall why I didn't begin reading them while we were living in England. So many of my friends have read them. 

The Starz network just began airing a television series portraying the events of the books. That got my attention. I knew I needed to read the books before watching the series. Time to get started!

I wanted to hurry up and begin so I bought the Kindle eBook and received an offer to buy the audiobook at a reduced price. I'm so very glad I bought the audio version. It was fantastic to hear the Scottish reader's accent and pronunciation as I read along. The ability to listen along whilst driving was a boon as I had many appointments this month. 

Claire is the main character of this series. The book opens by introducing us to her. She lives in England in 1943. She and her husband have spent the past five years apart, both serving in the war effort; him as a commander and her as a nurse. Finding themselves suddenly back together they head off on a getaway to get to know each other again. 

On the trip, her husband plans to continue some research of his family's history. One night the two of them venture off to secretly observe a midnight ritual at the stone henge in Craigh na Dun, Scotland. The next day Claire returns to the henge to gather some unusual flowers. As she does so she touches the main stone and is inexplicably transported though time. She ends up in 1743 and the story brings along Jamie Fraser. That's where things really become interesting.

I really enjoy a good story. This one has great depth; I can already tell that some seemingly small things that have happened in the book are going to turn out to have great significance later. 

I plan to continue reading this series, and watching the show. The filming of it is spectacular but the portrayal of the characters is even better. Caitriona Balfe plays Claire and Sam Heughan is Jamie. The chemistry between the two of them is spot on. (Parental Guidance recommended) Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, available at Amazon

05 August 2014

My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business: A Memoir by Dick van Dyke

Ahhhh...Dick van Dyke. He makes me swoon. Looks and laughter all packaged together. I find it interesting that Mary Tyler Moore is the celebrity crush of one of my brothers. 

Dick manages to tell his story without really telling tales for the most part. The things he does tell seem to be common knowledge, at least of certain people, if not myself. 

He starts from his earliest memories. I like a memoir that does that. It gives one the sense for how a life has changed over time. He grew up in the same general area where my dad grew up. His story carries on through the date of publishing, which was 2011. 

There is only one facet of his life that made me sad. He had an affair while still married to his first wife. He never exactly states that it was absolutely a wrong thing to do, either. I think he realizes that it was. I think he also must realize that he'd never have had his second (happier) marriage though, if things hadn't happened the way they did. Perhaps that is why he never comes out and says he regrets his actions exactly. 

Following the end of his book, I am aware that he has since married a makeup artist. She is many years his junior but they seem to be very happily married. I wish them many happy years together.

27 July 2014

Lessons from the Mountain by Mary McDonough

When I was a child our family often gathered to watch Hee Haw and The Waltons together. I've been watching The Waltons with a couple of our kids recently, thanks to Netflix. 

As for books, I love memoirs and autobiographies. After reading Confessions of a Prairie Bitch by Alison Arngrim, Mary McDonough's book Lessons from the Mountain came to my attention. 

The book happens to have reached me on two very different levels. The first, of course, has to do with the part of her life during which she played Erin Walton. The second has to do with her fight against Lupus. One of our children is fighting a neurological disorder, and  is struggling with some additional issues also. I was fascinated by both parts of the book. 

The Waltons' cast seems to have been a rare one that really got along as if they were family and loved each other. Mary grew up on the show. Fortunately, she avoided many of the typical pitfalls that many actors succumb to. 

I'm glad I read her book. I'm also glad to be watching the show again. We are in season three of nine. I'd like to visit the Walton's Mountain Museum someday: http://www.waltonmuseum.org/

02 December 2013

Are you looking for an eReader for yourself or someone else this Christmas?


I just saw this great deal pop up on my Facebook. It is the NOOK that includes the adjustable reading light. This eReader can, therefore, be used in sunny conditions or in darkness. Sounds like a winner to me though I haven't actually seen this version in person.

$49 is a great deal.

11 December 2012

My friend's giveaway!

If you enjoy good wine, visit my friend and sign up for the giveaway!


Sorry, I haven't blogged about books for a long time. I'll get back to it as soon as I'm able. 

16 April 2012

Reading in bed?

If you're like me you read as often as you are able and wherever you are able.

So far, I use my LightWedge for reading in low-light conditions.

However, Barnes and Noble has just come out with a NOOK Simple Touch that is lighted.

Lighted NOOK Simple Touch

When will I take that plunge?

Yes, I will probably want to upgrade to this eventually. It would mean that I wouldn't have to carry my LightWedge with me or anticipate my need of it.

I am eager to see it in the store...

18 March 2012

Shopgirl by Steve Martin

Steve Martin is a favorite of mine. He can make me laugh any day. Let him show up in one of my dreams and well, that'll make my day. In fact, he made a guest appearance in one of my dreams just the other day. I crack myself up that way.

Anyway, this IS that Steve Martin: comedian, actor, banjo-player-extraordinaire. This novella isn't a laugh a minute. It's a thoughtful foray into the mind of 28 year old Mirabelle who works the glove counter at Neiman's in California.

Her story is that of her meeting Jeremy who is childish and selfish and hasn't a clue about women...and also meeting Ray Porter who is a self-possessed businessman whose only selfishness is his bachelorhood and the fact that he chooses to keep Mirabelle just outside the boundaries of his heart. 

There is also a film by the same title. I am eager to view it. I have to say that part of what I found so very enjoyable about this book is the fact that I could hear Martin's voice telling me the story. Music to my ears; I find his voice dreamy.

This would be the perfect beach book, in my opinion. Too bad I wasn't on a beach this past month!

14 March 2012

The Fairy Tale Detectives (Sisters Grimm Book 1) by Michael Buckley

I really enjoyed this book. It is a juvenile fiction selection but the action is written in a way that makes it at least a little believable. Two young sisters find themselves in foster care and not knowing what happened to their parents. Fate directs that they end up in the care of a grandmother they thought was dead. 

The action continues from there. I feel it is acceptable for good readers ages 8 and up. I could have read this book to our 5 year old daughter and she'd have loved it. I believe she'll eventually read it herself or with me.

I give it a solid 4 out of 5 stars.

13 March 2012

What are you reading?

I haven't read as much as I normally do this year.

It's not the usual excuse of just being too busy, or of having five kids, or...

In late January I determined that I was no longer going to let circumstances control me. My health and the health of one of our children prevented me from working out very much over the last 18 months or so. I had two surgeries and, in fact, had another surgical procedure two weeks ago.

In spite of all of that I decided to redeem the time and take control of as much as I am able. I began a diet and exercise regimen on 25 January 2012. I've not fallen off that wagon once. I've been using MyFitnessPal on our computer and on my iPhone to track my progress. I've found it very encouraging.

With all that exercising I have read a little bit more but only when I go to the gym and workout using the elliptical. If I work out at home it is with a DVD and I can't read until I hit our treadmill as a follow-up but often give in to my baser needs and watch silly old tv shows on Netflix just for the mindlessness of it, as a reward for my hard work.

So, you've not seen the last of me. I am currently reading three books for my own pleasure and am also reading a book with our ten year old son. I am reading countless books with our five year old daughter of course.

Stay tuned in; more to come, this week.

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