Three books going.

I think it was Karen Andreola who first introduced me to the idea of having three books going. I know it was many years ago, when most good ideas were in books and not online. I've tried with varying degrees of success to follow that advice.

Firstly, one of the books is not the Bible. That book is going all the time and doesn't count as one of the three. Increasingly these days, my three books going are one on a Kindle, one on Audible, and one in print. I find that each of these books is more at home in a different circumstance. My Kindle lives in my purse. It's always there in the waiting rooms or when standing on line at DMV and trying to not to catch the bad attitude in the air. My in-print book is in a basket by my bed. I read it at bedtime, but I also pick it up now and then throughout the day. And my audiobook goes with me when I walk or run or just need to stay focused on extended housekeeping duties. 

Three books going. Works for me. Two of those books can be accessed on my phone. The Kindle app is there and I will occasionally use it, though I much prefer to read ebooks on my Kindle. That phone is mighty small for extended reading time by these old eyes. The audible app means that drive time and any other time I'm out and about and can put earbuds in without being rude is easily converted to reading time.  One interesting observation: when I was little, my mother was always reminding me that it was rude to "have your nose in a book" in public places. Now, everybody has their head bent to their phones.  In some situation this IS exceedingly rude. In other situations, iPhones have replaced waiting room magazines (or grocery line magazines, for that matter). I'm not checking my mail or social media in those situations though, because I have found that I am a much happier person if I read a book instead. When I'm tempted to surf, I read. I tell myself I'll read for five minutes and then if I want to surf, I'll let myself. I rarely want to close the book app.

Kristin made me this really pretty screensaver to remind me that I'd rather read. I shared it with the Restore folks last spring. Maybe you'd like it, too?

Last week, I diverged from the usual plan and I binge read three books consecutively, all of them on Kindle. I got a Kindle Paperwhite for Mother's Day --gave it to myself, yes I did---and I'm seriously loving it. I love the way the it feels in my hand; it's the perfect size. I love the Amazon Bookerly font. (But I also love that there's a dyslexia font option and I will be purchasing another Paperwhite soon to help my sweet girl along.)

In a Facebook conversation about Miss Prim last week, someone recommended The Storied Life of AJ Fikry. Turns out my neighbor had a Kindle copy and offered to loan it to me. I didn't even know you could do that! But we did. The loan allows two weeks to read the book. I don't do well with deadlines. I'm one of those people who always does things early. I read it in a day or two. I really enjoyed the book. It was sweet and light and literary and a little quirky. From Amazon: 

“Funny, tender, and moving, The Storied Life of A J Fikray reminds us all exactly why we read and why we love.”*

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, its unexpected arrival gives Fikry the chance to make his life over—and see everything anew.

After that one, I read The Nest, if for no other reason, to see what all the fuss is about.

Uh. I really don't see what the fuss is about. I didn't enjoy this book. Maybe it's one of those books you're not supposed to enjoy. I've seen reviews that call it "hilarious" but I didn't get the joke. I thought it was tragic. Truthfully, I tend to miss jokes, so, that's no big thing. I read, frequently, to take me places I want to go. Not necessarily exotic locales, but into other lives and situations. They don't all have to Green Gables, but I do like books that go somewhere where the story is ultimately uplifting and redemptive somehow. It doesn't have to perfect or even an always-happy-ending, but I want to want to be glad to be in the process of the story. I wanted to know how The Nest ended, to see if the author pulled it all together and tied up all the loose ends, but I wasn't really invested in the shallow characters and sometimes, I just wanted to get the heck out of there. I felt like much of the sex and the references to sexuality were at once cliche and in poor taste. The publishing and online media businesses portrayed made my skin crawl and made me think twice about my own "to-be-written" list. In the end, I just didn't enjoy it and i was sorry to have wasted time and money on it. Of course, your mileage may vary. I suspect I'm a sort of quirky reader.

Then I read Sea of Tranquility. This book took a hard look at some very tough, very sad topics, but it was ultimately replete with both love and hope. While the characters are teenagers, it's not a  Young Adult novel. It's actually very adult. A young girl is brutally attacked and briefly dies. After she recovers, in order to get away from the town where the attack was, the girl, who is selectively mute, goes to live with her aunt. In that town, she meets a boy who has suffered tremendous losses. This is their story, but it's also the story of a very strong supporting cast of characters. This one stuck with me for days and made me slow to start another book because I didn't want to let it go. I loved it that much. (Also, if you're one of us who is still in love with your first love, you might find a special place in your heart for these two kids. Love at seventeen can be a very real thing.)