Tag Archives: Kindle

Typos and Errors Up Close

Too many mistakes! (Excuse the bad word.)

I love reading e-books on my Kindle; it’s so darned handy! The device itself is small enough to carry in my purse. I always use it when I have a solo lunch gig (it has the Chipotle guacamole stains as proof).

But for some reason I seem to notice typos and grammatical errors so much more with my electronic book version (not that I haven’t taken a red pencil a time or two to an actual print book, of course). Maybe it’s because the type is bigger.

The three mistakes on this page of the e-book I just finished (“Skywalker: Highs and Lows on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Bill Walker, which isn’t as good as his “Skywalker: Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail”) pretty much put me over the top. I just had to snap a photo of it with my iPhone and use the Photoshop red brush to correct it.

First, the singular verb doesn’t agree with the plural noun in the caption. Then there’s the ridiculously common “it’s” error: “Its” is the possessive; “it’s” is the contraction for “it is.” How hard is that to remember? And, finally, at least one word was left out of the penultimate sentence, which really is poorly written (I would’ve opted for “. . . we had 650 miles to go to reach Canada.”)

Am I the only one who notices these kinds of blunders? Or perhaps I’m the only one who takes a photo and then edits them in Photoshop. Maybe I need to suggest that the next Kindle version comes complete with electronic red pencil for correcting those typos and grammar and punctuation slip-ups.

“Dear Amazon.com: I have a great idea for an improved Kindle!”

“The Hunger Games”: Mostly Satisfying

The long-awaited movie finally opens!

Because I’ve apparently been living under a rock (or perhaps cleverly camouflaged by Peeta Mellark to blend in with the scenery), I hadn’t heard of “The Hunger Games” trilogy until I saw the movie trailer based on the first book. And I love young adult fiction! Haven’t I put in my time with Harry Potter and the “Twilight” gang?

That trailer looked intriguing, so I downloaded “The Hunger Games” to my Kindle (free to Amazon’s Prime members) and read it after first lending it to my older son (I knew he would like it). I finished Suzanne Collins’ well-written take on a dystopian (if I had to look it up, you do, too) society (Panem) that rises from the ashes of the United States after drought, fire, and war. Then I quickly polished off “Catching Fire” and “Mockingjay” (spoiler alert: all three were good, but I liked the first the best).

Katniss Everdeen could be an Olympic archer.

Now I was ready to see the movie! I actually drove to San Antonio last Saturday to watch it with my #1 son (the Mister and our younger boy were off playing disc golf). The verdict? We both enjoyed “The Hunger Games,” but we also were disappointed.

Of course, it’s a tough task to bring a much-loved book to the big screen. Especially one that is so richly penned, weaving such a compelling tale about how  24 tributes (one male and one female ages 12-18 were chosen from each of Panem’s 12 districts) travel to the freak-show Capitol to compete in the annual Hunger Games. A movie just can’t tell the story better than the novel. Period!

Katniss is caught in the middle between Peeta (left) and Gale.

Here were the positives: The casting was great! Jennifer Lawrence is wonderful as Katniss Everdeen, a teenager who illegally hunts to keep her family alive and volunteers to be her district’s female tribute at the brutal Hunger Games in place of her little sister. What a great heroine!

I thought Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, the district’s male counterpart in the fight-to-the-death games, and Liam Hemsworth as Gale, Katniss’ hunting partner, worked well. For those who haven’t read the books, the love triangle that’s hinted at in the movie is explored further in the sequels.

What movie isn’t Stanley Tucci good in?

Casting Stanley Tucci as the flamboyant Caesar Flickerman was simply brilliant! He’s a scene-stealer. Woody Harrelson as Haymitch surprised me; it was a perfect part for him (or Josh Holloway, who played Sawyer on “Lost”). Elizabeth Banks lent just the right amount of kookiness to Effie Trinket.

Because the trilogy is told in the first person by Katniss, changes had to be made in the movie for its third-person point of view. I especially liked the use of the command center, which gave us a behind-the-scenes look at how the Hunger Games were controlled. Seneca Crane (Wes Bentley), the head gamemaker, had a much-bigger role in the film, which gave us an interesting angle. Plus I thought the music was great.

The mockingjay pin

On the negative side, I disliked how the writers handled how Katniss got the important mockingjay pin, which was her good-luck charm. They couldn’t give Madge 30 seconds of on-screen time? She was one of Katniss’ only friends!

Also, the book emphasized the importance of food—the abundance for the “haves” in the Capitol (which astounds Katniss) vs. the starvation mode in the “have-not” districts. Yet the movie merely glosses over this. In fact, you really couldn’t tell that people in District 12 were perpetually hungry.

Even though the Hunger Games part of the movie had me on the edge of my seat at times, it felt rushed. I know they didn’t want the deaths to be too violent for the PG-13 rating, but the fact that kids were killing kids is what made the “sport” so horrific. The muttations weren’t as good as I expected, either.

All in all, though, I recommend seeing the movie. Just hope that the odds will ever be in your favor!

Books and Movies

Just see the movie.

I started reading “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” (a title that I never can remember, by the way; I always have to look it up) before the movie came out. I was only about halfway through the novel when the Mister and I saw the film, finishing the book soon after. That gave me an interesting perspective of both media.

For the first time ever, I thought the movie actually was better than the book! Eric Roth, the screenwriter, did a masterful job separating the wheat from the considerable, overwrought chaff penned by Jonathan Safran Foer. I know there are plenty of people who loved the novel, but I thought it needed better editing. Or it just could be that I didn’t like Foer’s writing style.

The narrator is different in the book.

On the heels (or should that be “hooves”) of seeing and finishing “Extremely Loud,” I next experienced “War Horse,” first by movie and then by book on my Kindle. The Mister and I loved the flick, so I couldn’t wait to read the novel it was based on.

Talk about your quick reads! Of course, it helps that it’s geared towards children, which also meant that those graphic war scenes on the big screen were added to the already-rich story. The biggest surprise for me? The book is narrated by Joey, the horse. What a novel (hee hee!) idea!

I wouldn’t say I was too caught up with the story’s sentimentality and sweetness, but I’ll admit that I felt a little embarrassed when I was finishing the book while eating lunch at Chipotle. I sat hunched over my Kindle trying not to let any of the other patrons see me cry at the ending.

I did discover, though, that tears give guacamole an unusual flavor!

So far, so good!

Right now I’m speeding through “The Hunger Games” (free on my Kindle through Amazon.com’s Prime lending library). It’s so compelling that it’s tempting to just read all day and let the laundry pile up. I love books like that!

I sure hope the movie, set to debut next month, does the novel justice. I can’t wait to finish the book, go to the theater, and judge for myself.

Stay tuned for the review!

Now You See It, Now You Don’t

Who owns this book?

See this Janet Evanovich novel? Guess where it is . . . or, rather, where it was.

Lovin’ my little Kindle!

On my $79 Kindle . . . but only for two weeks.

I’ve read the entire Stephanie Plum series over the years. Some books I borrowed (thanks, Diane!), while others I bought. But even though I’ve enjoyed the novels, I’ve felt like Evanovich has been spinning her wheels for the last five or six books. (When will Stephanie finally choose Joe or Ranger?) So while I still want to read the series (I’m hooked for the duration), I want to keep it a cheap vice.

Enter the public library! Ours allows patrons to download certain books (not a great selection yet) to all kinds of electronic devices . . . including Kindles. The loan is only for two weeks (the book disappears after that), but, fortunately, the Plum novels are quick reads.

I recently finished up “Smokin’ Seventeen” (with a few days to spare). I loved that I have less clutter, and, of course best of all, that my cost was zero dollars.

Now I can’t wait for the library to get in “Explosive Eighteen” (which came out on November 22) for me to borrow!

E-Bookin’ It in Cheap Style

This was the original Kindle.

About four years ago, a new tech toy winked at me, beckoning me to buy it. I almost gave in to the temptation of that clunky-looking e-reader, the Amazon Kindle. But I held off because the price tag was a whopping $399. And you still had to buy e-books!

As Amazon refined the Kindle and kept lowering the price, I continued to resist its siren song, because it still cost too much. Plus I figured that Apple was going to bring out a product I’d probably prefer.

Sure enough, Apple debuted its iPad in the spring of 2010, featuring its own e-book app, iBooks, and the iBookstore. UPS delivered mine that April, and I’ve used it virtually every day since for everything from browsing the web to checking and replying to e-mail to, of course, reading books. I’ve been a very happy camper.

Meet my new tech baby!

And then last week Amazon decided to get serious with the Kindle. They introduced new models and lower price points. One of those newbies instantly caught my eye. Dubbed the “Kindle” (how clever!), it’s a mere six inches wide and weighs less than six ounces.

But the best part? The cost: Only $79! This version does include ads, but they don’t show up while you’re reading. Plus they can be worthwhile. I took advantage of the first one I saw, which was for $5 off almost anything priced $10 or more. Now my cute Kindle’s new cover is even cheaper!

An impetus to buy a Kindle was my experience with the Mister’s keyboard model, which his buddy Eddie Wayne bought for him. It’s so easy to use . . . even for the tech-challenged Mister.

So far, I really like reading on my Kindle. I will admit that when I turned it on, my first impulse was to increase the brightness control . . . which it doesn’t have. It looks nothing like an iBook on my backlit iPad. The E-ink technology and having to use side buttons to turn pages takes getting used to (I’m a swiper).

Then again, e-books are so different from the real thing, which I miss sometimes. You can’t easily figure out how close you are to end of the chapter, for one. And I always like when the left side of the book becomes bigger than the right, as you close in on the end.

But e-books don’t collect dust and clutter up bookshelves. Plus you can have them at your fingertips on any e-reader, whether it’s a Kindle, iPhone, or iPad. They’re definitely part of my future.

Chapter one is ready for me!

Especially the book that I’m eager to start once I finish the autobiography I’m currently reading—Harlan Coben’s new young-adult novel, “Shelter.” I can’t wait for Harlan to grab me by the neck and pull me through yet another well-written thriller.

This time on my new, little Kindle.

eChanukah: Conversations With My #2 Son

My younger son kindles the Chanukah candles.

I’m still chuckling after this conversation with my younger son last night:

He was reading the English translation of the first Chanukah prayer when he came across a word that truly stumped him . . . and showed what a different era we’re living in.

My #2 son: “Kindle? What does ‘kindle’ mean?”

The candles are burning low.

The prayer commands us to kindle the Chanukah lights. And you know what my boy was thinking . . . how long have e-readers been around?!?

Me (laughing): “No, it’s not that kind of kindle!”

The prayer will never be the same for me now.

eBookin’ It—An Update

The first eBook I finished—finally!

The first eBook I finished—finally!

Memory search time . . . I’ll wait while you get yours turned on (mine, sad to say, has been on “off” too much this summer). Remember this blog post? Way back in March (on the 10th, to be exact) I wrote about eBook week.

Sidebar: For those of you not hip with tech lingo, “eBooks” are electronic books read on your smartphone, Kindle, or computer.

I claimed in that post that I was going to finish “Dear Neighbor, Drop Dead,” the Saralee Rosenberg book I bought from Amazon using the free Kindle app for the iPhone, that week. Yes, friends, it was I, your friendly, neighborhood, procrastinator, who blithely said I’d read 352 pages on a small, handheld device that doubles as a phone in a mere seven days.

Sidebar: I’ve polished off the 700-plus-pages Harry Potter books in a couple days, but those are totally different—mesmerizing and addicting, impossible to put down. And they’re physically big novels! I’m not sure how fast I would’ve read them on my iPhone’s small screen.

Needless to say, it took me a tiny bit longer than a week to read my eBook, where “tiny bit” = three months. I read the novel when I was out and about, usually in line and waiting for service. I loved having a book always at the ready so I didn’t get bored. And I relished “Dear Neighbor, Drop Dead!” Rosenberg did tie all the loose ends up in a neat, tidy bow, but I truly enjoyed the plot and the characters. I would definitely read another book by her . . . on my iPhone!

"Fade Away," my second eBook

"Fade Away," my second eBook

But right now I’m reading my second eBook, “Fade Away,” Harlan Coben‘s third Myron Bolitar mystery, thanks to my friend Diane, my neighborhood crack book dealer. First, she got me hooked on the laugh-out-loud Janet Evanovich series (which, by the way, needs to come to a satisfactory end in next year’s 16th book; this series has gone about three books too long). Then, about a year ago, she lent me Coben’s first two Bolitar novels. I put off reading them until a couple months ago.

Why in the world did I wait so long? Coben is a master at the tightly-written, edge-of-your-seat mystery. He’s the type of writer who casually throws out the bait, patiently sets up the intriguing plot and characters, and finally hooks you so hard that you can’t put the book down until you’ve finished. Now the Mister is reading Coben’s first book, “Deal Breaker.”

Once I finished Rosenberg’s book, I quickly went to amazon.com and bought “Fade Away” for the Kindle. I’m a couple chapters into it, and already I’m hooked. The biggest negative to the eBook is that I can’t just hand it to the Mister or anyone else. We would need to buy a Kindle in order to share the book, which might not be such a bad idea (I always love an excuse for an expensive, electronic purchase!).

Hey, Mister! Guess what I’d like for my upcoming birthday!!

Speaking of expensive, electronic purchases

The new Apple iPhone 3GS

The new Apple iPhone 3GS

Guess who has a new iPhone?!? I’ve loved the original iPhone since the Mister surprised me with it for my birthday two Augusts ago. I managed to ignore last year’s iPhone 3G, but this year’s 3GS was too much for my weakness for new electronics to overcome. I simply wanted more speed in my smartphone; the Edge network and the original iPhone processor are too pokey for me.

I’ve had the 3GS for almost a week now, and I love it! What a difference in speed!! Kind of like comparing my Honda Pilot to a Porsche, I’d imagine. And I especially love reading my Harlan Coben eBook on it! I’m eBookin’ as I’m iPhonein’!

eBookin’ It


Oh, oh . . . I could be in trouble! BIG eTrouble!

I learned via Brad’s Reader that this is Read an eBook Week. I have the eReader app on my iPhone, but I have yet to finish reading a book using it. Maybe it was the choice of novel, maybe it was the app, maybe I’m just not the kind of gal who digs that kind of commitment to electronic media. But when I saw that Amazon.com had released a Kindle app for the iPhone and iPod Touch followed hard on its heels by Read an eBook Week, I knew I had to see what this Kindle/eBook mania was all about.

kindle-frontMy baby brother, the big shot Chicago lawyer, was an early eReader adapter. He started with Sony’s eReader and then moved on to the original Kindle. Little bro is a big reader on trains, planes, but probably not in automobiles, and he loved the idea of yet another electronic gadget. He’s told me how much he enjoys his Kindle. I’d probably love one, too (as would the #1 son, who has been reading since he was three years old), but I’m a bit put off by the price tag: $359. Ouch! I am one of those types who likes feeling a book in her hands, smoothing out the pages as I turn them. But I also think it would be cool to wirelessly download books and have them on the Kindle in a matter of minutes. And think of the clutter one would be without! No books all over the house . . . not that that describes anyone’s house we know.

Of course, that “got to have it NOW” mindset can get one in major eTrouble! Amazon.com, which is one of my favorite eMerchants, makes the buying process so darned easy that getting carried away would be a natural for yours truly. I put the whole process to the test last night.

humorous-short-storiesFirst, I found the Kindle store on Amazon.com. Next I tried to buy the cheapest book I could, because I didn’t want to make a big investment in something I couldn’t share with others (I probably can with the #1 son, though, once he downloads the Kindle app to his iPod Touch). I opted for “The Best American Humorous Short Stories” for 80 cents. The purchase is made via computer or by mobile Safari on the iPhone with Amazon’s notorious 1-Click Ordering (that’s where that eTrouble can happen! It’s too easy!) and is virtually instantaneously sent to your iPhone. I touched the Kindle app on my iPhone, and there was one of the worst books ever to be published in the world! Not even worth 80 cents!!

dear-neighbor-drop-deadKind of frustrated me! So I tried again, realizing that I had to spend more to get more. This time I bought “Dear Neighbor, Drop Dead” by Saralee Rosenberg for $8.76. It looks like my kind of novel—a humorous take on the suburbs. I’ve already started reading it, and the process doesn’t seem too limiting. It is a lot of swiping to turn the pages, and you can only read in portrait mode, not landscape (unlike the eReader app). What’s nice about having reading material on an iPhone is that it’s so handy! If you’re stuck in a line at the grocery store or bank, take out your iPhone, touch the Kindle app, and start reading. It remembers where you left off! I might even be able to get more reading done, as long as the iPhone’s battery doesn’t go dead.

Rosenberg’s book is 352 pages; I’m going to try to finish it this week, so I can have a full report by Monday. I probably won’t read it when I’m eating, though, so I don’t get food stuff all over my iPhone (I feel sorry for my books sometimes; so many guacamole spots from reading while eating at Chipotle!). I think my main get ’er done for today will be reading on my iPhone . . . got to take one for the blog!