Saturday, September 7, 2013

Reading Comfortably

There's just something about real paper books. Plastic and metal's so rigid. Sure, the nice flat screen has its advantages--the wind doesn't tear the pages away; they don't slip between my knees, or slide down the side of the chair. But rigid metal and plastic doesn't dangle from the hand, held by a couple of fingers as you juggle your coffee cup. It doesn't forgive so easily when you run around a corner or spill that coffee, and it doesn't lie comfortably across the lap, but sits on top as if daring you to drop it. Maybe one day they'll invent bendy-kindles, with a button to make them rigid when you want, and the ability to absorb all shocks and drops. Sort of softbacks for the e-generation?

Anyway, I've just been comfortably reading real softback paperback books. They bent between my fingers without making my hands ache. They lay on my lap without making me nervous of expensive falls. And they carried me to different times and places most enjoyably. Grab a coffee and see which ones you'd like to read:

First is Burning Sky, by Lori Benton. Set in 1780, it tells the story of a white woman, abducted by Indians as a child and now returning to her people. Willa's abduction gave her a whole new family and whole new world, but now she's in danger of losing everything from both worlds, as former neighbors accuse her parents of having supported the British in the war. A moving novel that vividly recreates multiple cultures, giving a pleasingly nuanced picture of the past, this is a rich elegant romance to enjoy with a rich elegant 4-star cup of coffee.

Set just a few years later, The Compassionate Warrior, by Elsa Marston, is a middle-grade history book telling a genuinely fascinating tale of Christians and Muslims in the early 1800s. Religion, politics, exciting characters, romantic mystique and more, all build into a story that will keep students (and their parents) interested, inspire them to deeper thought, and educate them about the world around them. Highly recommended, enjoy this book with another rich, elegant, complex 4-star cup of coffee.

Next is Montana, by Gwen Florio, set in the present day. The Montana scenery, people and cultures play an important part in this novel as Lola returns from Afghanistan and tries to solve her friend's murder. Always crossing borders, now she finds herself on the border, an outsider unsure of the way in. It's a really enjoyable novel, much more than just a mystery, and I'd recommend another 4-star elegant complex coffee to go with it.

Finally Countryfied Chickens, by Chas Elliott offers amusing advice for your future on how not to move from big city San Diego to small town inland Washington. Fascinating characters and anecdotes pepper the pages, all told in a pleasant, calm voice, even while panicking during the great Hostage Crisis. Don't ever move, he recommends at the end, but it seems to have been a fun adventure, and the countryside does have its charms. Enjoy this one with a bright, lively 2-star coffee and don't forget to swallow your mouthful of coffee before you laugh.

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