The Bibliophile’s Journal III

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.

2 Comments

  1. Marina

    I’ve been very wary of E-readers since the beginning, but I’m beginning to soften up after some recent trips this year made me tired of the extra pounds just a few books gave my bags. Hearing that there’s a dictionary included with the Kindle makes it sound even more enticing. There’s no way I’d let the reader substitute my daily use of books, but I can’t deny its usefulness when on-the-go.

    Good luck with finishing up the Silmarillion, and major props for your booklist. I tried reading The Silmarillion once and never got around to finishing it before the library’s due date…then in turn never got around to purchasing my own copy. I’m curious what your final thoughts on the text will be.

    Reply
    • Cheshire_Ocelot

      The regular Kindle’s cheap enough that it may be worth getting if you travel a lot. Even though I’m mostly used to them now, e-books are certainly a different and, honestly, less enjoyable experience compared to physical books, so I still wouldn’t recommend them unless you have some specific reason to use them.

      Given the popularity of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, I would guess that a lot of people have attempted and abandoned The Silmarillion. I tried and abandoned it myself back in high school, and on this attempt I’m at the halfway point and am tempted to drop it again. I’ll try to write something up for it, though, since I honestly want to figure out how a talented author like Tolkien could take potentially interesting material and make it such a beating to get through.

      Have a happy new year, Marina, and thanks for stopping by.

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