As far as reading goes, the big event of the past couple months is that I have a Kindle Fire HD now. I owned and had mixed feelings about the Kindle 2, but since this one is basically a tablet I’ve been getting more use out of it. I’m still not a fan of e-books, but it is a decent way to conveniently get things that would be difficult otherwise (like French-language books), or things available for free online but that are too long to read comfortably at a computer, like the Vatican’s online library of papal encyclicals.
Casino Royale, by Ian Fleming, was the first book I read on the device, and which was free through Amazon’s lending-library programme. It’s about what I expected; an enjoyable read, but I don’t really plan on continuing in the James Bond series unless I hear the later novels are significantly better.
Considérations sur la France, by Joseph de Maistre, was the second e-book I got, the first book-length French work I’ve attempted, and which I’m trudging through slowly. Little to say on this so far, except that the Kindle’s built-in dictionary is tremendously helpful; having to use a physical dictionary when one has to look up words as often as I do just kills the flow of reading.
Of course, I’ll continue to mostly stick to physical books when I can. On that front, I decided to try The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien, after finishing The Lord of the Rings. I’d been warned that it’s tougher to get through than Rings, but the idea of reading about the history of Middle-Earth prior to Rings sounded interesting enough to give it a shot anyway. I’m about 1/4 through, and indeed, most of the material does seem interesting, but what makes it such a slog so far is that there isn’t really a single narrative here. Rather, it’s more of an outline, a collection of brief anecdotes, basically. It’s comparable to what you’d get if you tried to write a history of the real world in a single volume; the material would be spread so thin that there’s simply not room to develop anything properly.
Also, I finished The Indignation of Haruhi Suzumiya, by Tanigawa Nagaru, and enjoyed it more than the past few volumes of the series, maybe more than any since Disappearance. I can’t quite put my finger on why, though. It could be as simple as this one having better one-liners, or me just being in a more receptive mood while reading it.