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My Kindle Commute

Making my way through the Kindle library, one train at a time…

Welcome to My Kindle Commute

In my opinion, the *Kindle is the commuter’s best friend. Small, lightweight and with hundreds of thousands of books waiting to be read, it’s like your very own transportable library.

So how do you decide what to read?

I’ve made it my mission to download as many books as possible (most of them free; all affordable) to add a little interest to my daily train journeys. Having already enjoyed hundreds of books and with many more to explore, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the books I come across as I make my way through them, one by one. Who knows, you might even decide to download a few?

I like to read books of various genres and styles, so if my reviews appear a little random, that’s why… but there is method in the madness. I believe books are truly a great way to broaden the mind and break away from the rush of everyday life, so I like to absorb as many as I can.

If you’re reading this, thank you. I hope you enjoy my blog and find a couple of ideas for your next download.

*Disclaimers:

I am not advertising for Amazon, or any other organisation; I simply write about the Kindle because that is the eReader I own.

I definitely don’t want to fuel any fires around the ‘eReader versus real book’ argument – both have their merits, but the Kindle suits my commute!

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Featured post

“The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 6”, Ludwig van Beethoven, Heinrich Heine, Franz Grillparzer, Kuno Francke

I did alright in History at school; I got a good grade. However, I have never felt it’s my strongest subject… that’s why I decided to download a few history volumes to my Kindle for 2017.

At first, I thought this would be one heavy volume and wasn’t particularly looking forward to reading it. I misjudged it. This book was absolutely fascinating. From the beautiful works of Heine to the dark glimpse into Beethoven’s state of mind through his final letters, this collection of poetry, plays, letters and short stories was absolutely fascinating. I found Beethoven particularly interesting; his letters were so frank and it is unbelievable to imagine a man who changed the world of classical music being so lonely and insecure towards the end of his life. It’s also interesting to see a collection of famous works together, particularly when you consider how one artist/author’s work may have influenced another.

I would recommend this book if you love classic literature and would like to dip your toe in history. Even if, like me, you have never been an avid historian, this book could be a great stepping stone to getting back in touch with your inner history student.

“Me Before You”, Jojo Moyes

“Me Before You” was unbelievable; once I started reading, I could not put it down. Witty, touching and heartbreaking all at the same time, this romance novel will have you laughing and crying from beginning to end. Make sure you wear waterproof mascara (or none!) and, if you don’t like crying in front of people, try not to read it on public transport.

Without giving too much away (as I highly recommend you read this one), this novel explores a complex, controversial topic that has been highly prevalent in the news over the past few years. Exploring both sides of a very sensitive issue, this story explores the delicate balance between helping your loved ones to hold on and understanding when it’s time to let go. This book does not tell you which side of the argument in question is the right one, but it is a beautiful exploration of the impact that long-term disability can have on an individual and their loved ones.

The relationship between the two main characters, Louisa and William, is an unlikely one… but when they are thrown together by circumstance, each is able to change the other’s life completely.

This post is deliberately vague, so I do apologise. Please go and read this novel; it’s beautifully written and utterly heartbreaking, yet sprinkled with enough humour to get you through the emotional rollercoaster.

“Wild Irish Heart”, Tricia O’Malley

A fantasy romance set in – you guessed it – Ireland, “Wild Irish Heart” follows a Boston girl’s journey back to her home country to learn about the healing powers passed down through her family.

I often enjoy both romance and fantasy novels, but this one didn’t quite work for me. There’s nothing wrong with the way the book was written (in fact, there were parts I really enjoyed), but I just found it a little slow. There tended to be a huge build-up to big events, then they would just fizzle out without much development. I just felt there were a few areas that could have had more impact; the end result didn’t always justify the initial suspense!

On the plus side, it was enjoyable to read. It’s relaxing and there’s enough interest within the plot to keep you reading; perhaps a good option for sitting by the pool on holiday.

If you are a fan of steamy romance, this book might well appeal to you. I don’t mind these kind of scenes so long as they enhance the plot and are not overused. In this case, I felt they were OK and fairly placed. In my personal opinion though, the story focused a little too much on the romance and needed a bit more (non-romantic) drama to bulk it up. For example, the beginning of the story seemed to suggest the protagonist would find herself a social pariah in the town… but within a day or so, she seemed to be getting along with the locals rather nicely! A bit of development along that line of the story might have just added to the drama for me.

This is just my personal opinion and I am sure this book will appeal to many people. If you like fantasy novels, give it a try and let me know your thoughts in the comments.

If you prefer your fantasy  fiction with a little less romance, try “Sink: Old Man’s Tale”.

“Sink: Old Man’s Tale”, Perrin Briar

Graham and Jeremiah don’t have much in common… that is, until they both find themselves plunging 300m below the surface of the Earth. Worse still, they’re not alone down there. As the story unfolds, the unlikely friends must work through their differences as they strive to get back to the surface.

This fantasy novel is a light read; entertaining and humorous, without being too taxing. My key interest in the story hinged upon the developing relationship between the two men; I really appreciate characters who can learn from their experiences (unlike Alice in “Through the Looking-Glass”).

At times, the fantasy elements can be a little corny (for example, a tribe of knee-high warriors who greet each other with a “hi-ho”). That aside, the plot is good enough to keep you entertained.

This is an easy read. Not too complex, but not boring either. A good book for those who like fantasy, but would like a change from the bog standard vampire/werewolf romance (don’t get me wrong though… I loved Twilight as much as the next 15 year old!).

I would recommend this book for some light relief between heavier reading. If you’ve just put down “War and Peace” and are looking for something a little less strenuous, this may be just what you need!

Light reads not really your thing? Try this instead:

“Tess of the d’Urbervilles”, Thomas Hardy

 

“You Can Do It Too: The 20 Essential Things Every Budding Entrepreneur Should Know”, Rachel Bridge

I downloaded this book while I was studying for my degree, but never got round to reading it (thankfully, I got the grade I wanted without the help of this book!). One year later, I finally read it…

This is a useful book with some great tips (20, to be exact) for anyone hoping to start a business. It’s ideal if you have an entrepreneurial idea, but you’re not quite sure how to launch a start-up business.

Practical, concise and nicely structured, this book uses real-life case studies to illustrate the perks and pitfalls of striking out on your own. It’s achieved the perfect balance of motivational vs realistic; Bridge doesn’t shy away from describing just how tough the business world can be. This book does, however, allow you to learn from others’ mistakes whilst picking up tips on best practice to ensure you have the best possible chance of making your business a success.

Highly recommended for budding entrepreneurs, new business owners and anyone studying a business/entrepreneurship-related discipline.

Now to find that multi-million pound business idea! Any ideas? Let me know in the comments!

“Writing what you know”, The Open University

This short, snappy study guide walks you through the useful tips and tricks you need to succeed in “writing what you know”.

An easy read with thought-provoking activities designed to embed the reader’s knowledge, this book acts as a great prompt to get the creative juices flowing. Introducing methods that help you heighten your awareness of your surroundings, as well as harnessing your personal experiences and memories to channel into your writing, this textbook guides you to write creatively in a way that works for you.

If there’s one downside to reading this in eBook format, it’s the compatibility; there are a few links out to external sights and resources which are not always Kindle-friendly. For example, I was unable to hear an audio excerpt that would have been quite interesting.

That said, it’s a free guide from The Open University. They’re giving us their material with absolutely no charge, so who am I to complain about the odd technical hiccup?

If you love creative writing, but aren’t sure how to begin your next (or first!) project, I would recommend reading this book. You can get through the content in less than a day and it acts as good fuel for inspiration.

“Through the Looking-Glass”, Lewis Carroll

In the sequel to “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”, Alice finds herself dreaming of what life might be like on the other side of a mirror. Whilst imagining this alternative reality, she finds herself slipping – you guessed it – through the looking-glass.

I very much enjoyed “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”, but maybe that was partly due to nostalgia since I remembered the story from childhood. I found “Through the Looking-Glass” slightly frustrating to read; Alice begins the story as a precocious little girl who seems to pester her cats a little too much, and she ends the story in exactly the same way. She blunders from one mishap to another, showing very little sign of learning anything or developing as a character throughout the story.

I remember my English teacher at school telling me that having your character wake up to find that “it was all a dream” is one of the most pointless endings to a story; a surefire way to annoy your reader! Perhaps that’s why I struggle with this story; Alice goes through all that trouble for nothing (and doesn’t appear to have learnt anything from it). Aside from having a slightly odd dream, nothing actually happened.

What I will say for this book is that I enjoyed the poetry. I love poetry and it is woven throughout this novel, with poems popping up at various intervals as Alice meets new characters. Alice, on the other hand, has very little patience for poetry and explains this very rudely on several occasions; another blot against her character, in my opinion!

To be fair, you cannot deny that this book is cleverly written. It is immensely descriptive and paints a very visual picture, and I am sure it will appeal to many people (its popularity reflects that). Unfortunately, it is just not my cup of tea.

 

 

“Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself”, Harriet Ann Jacobs

This autobiography was one of the most difficult books I have ever read. Penned by a lady who suffered the true struggles of slavery, it paints a heartbreaking picture of the cruelty inflicted upon slaves in the 1800s.

Jacobs writes an honest, open narrative, detailing her struggle for freedom and unbelievable sacrifices she had to make in her efforts to obtain it. The book details the despicable acts carried out by so-called ‘slave owners’, which makes for harrowing reading. Jacobs does not shy away from describing the cruelty of slavery in great detail, but I feel this was important, especially considering the period in which this autobiography was written. History can sometimes gloss over the darker side of humanity’s past, but this real-life account shows the true horrors of the time in a way that is moving and unforgettable.

Despite the harrowing truths in Jacobs’ story, there are glimmers of hope that demonstrate the true power of a strong, loving family. Jacobs’ grandmother, as well as Jacobs herself, are characters with true inner strength who never cease to love and care for those around them. Their strength of character and the bond they share with their family are inspirational, particularly in the face of unimaginable suffering and prejudice.

This book is not easy to read; it is a real-life perspective of one of the darkest periods in history. I do believe, however, that it is an essential read. Moving, powerful and unforgettable.

 

 

 

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