I hope everyone is having a great weekend — happy second-to-last-weekend-of-football Sunday! This is a big deal in our house, even though none of our teams are still in the playoffs. I root for lots of teams, depending on where I’ve lived, where my family lives, and which teams have a good “personality”, and yes, I’ve developed a semi-crush on Mark Sanchez. So go Packers and Jets! For whatever reason the conference finals are usually better games than the Superbowl — maybe because we actually get to sit and watch the games.
In Kindle news, you probably know already that Amazon has enabled Kindle lending — this means that certain books, determined by publishers, can be lent from one Kindle reader to another for 14 days. During that 14 days the original owner will not have access to their book — but then that’s how lending a book generally works. The 14 day limit may be a little restrictive — most of us aren’t going to read Middlemarch in 14 days but we can read a lot of other books in that time. Or at least enough to decide to buy it for ourselves (which is probably what Amazon and the publishers are hoping for). Sometimes the sample chapter isn’t enough to give you a good feel for the book. What I like about the 14 day limit is I know I’ll get my book back, which of course is always unlikely when lending paper books. It’s also limited to customers of U.S. Amazon only.
So, if you’re a Kindle reader and you’d like to borrow something I have, let me know! I’d be happy to try out this new feature, if the book is lendable. Here’s another way to find books you can borrow — there’s a new Kindle Lending Club website, which is maybe the best way to find people with the books you want to borrow. You can also join them on Facebook. As far as I can tell, there’s no real risk to the lender even if none of us know each other, so I’ll probably sign up. Have you tried the lending feature? What did you think? This could be a real cost-saver if any of the books we want are actually available.
Birthday Bestseller Lists
1) The Passions of the Mind by Irving Stone
2) The New Centurions by Joseph Wambaugh
3) The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
4) QB VII by Leon Uris
5) Penmarric by Susan Howatch
6) The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
7) The Other by Thomas Tryon
8) The Throne of Saturn by Allen Drury
9) The Underground man by Ross Macdonald
10) Love in the Ruins by Walker Percy
I won’t list the nonfiction but a few interesting ones leapt out – Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown; The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer; and Future Shock by Alvin Toffler.
I was very happy to see The Bell Jar on the list, one of my absolute favorite books and a real emotional read for me in my early college days. I read The Exorcist but don’t know most of the others; is there anything on this list I should read? I’ve always heard great things about Irving Stone. Maybe we should have a “read the bestsellers of your birthday” challenge?
Check it out and let me know what you find.
Volunteer by Writing to Kids about Books
Lastly, I wanted to share a fun volunteer opportunity I’ve discovered. It’s an organization called In2Books, and you volunteer to be a pen pal to a student. The great thing about In2Books is they will send you the books that the student is reading during the year for school, and you read the books and send the student letters about what you thought. It’s all about getting the kids thinking critically about books and also enjoying them. These are early-reader type books so you won’t get to read The Hobbit or anything, but you’re still helping out a child. The best thing is you can volunteer from anywhere, on your own schedule. Okay, you’re probably not going to change a child’s life, but on the other hand this is an easy, minimal-commitment way to help a child enjoy reading. I volunteered with them years ago and enjoyed it, but now they are a lot more modern — everything happens through email and their website rather than paper letters. They will be looking for volunteers this spring for the coming school year. As I’ll probably sign up I’ll keep you posted.