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My Christmas Gift

My husband got me a rather extravagant (for our household, anyway) Christmas gift.
He got me a Kindle. I had told him how I had accumulated a handful of eBooks, but I just couldn’t make myself read them on my laptop. After all, I do enough of that when I am writing and editing my own books.

Hmmm...that book looks good.

Hmmm…that book looks good.

I made him sad when I unwrapped it, because I didn’t open it right away.

Number 1: Because I knew I should return it and buy a new cell phone, as mine no longer has a functioning camera, and the on/off button sticks, causing it to enter a restart loop that I have to pump the button to stop. When trying to get a job, it is kind of important to have a little thing like a phone.

Number 2: Our Internet quit working three days before Christmas. With no WiFi, I knew I couldn’t get it set up anyway.

Christmas depressed me, so the day after I decided if he wanted me to have my gift of a Kindle, then I was going to keep it and open it. Our local library was closed due to the holiday weekend. We decided to park outside McDonald’s and use their free WiFi. We didn’t want to go in because then my son would want something to eat, and fast food was not in our non-existent budget at that particular time.

The first book I read on it was a short story by Neil Gaiman called How to Talk to Girls at Parties. I had never read anything by him before, only shared his quote memes on Facebook which always struck a chord with me. It was good.

Next I read Pride & Prejudice. I know, probably an unconventional choice. But right after I watched the miniseries (date), I got the eBook to read. Since my eyes had been opened that P&P was the romance standard by which most modern tales seemed to originate, I wanted to read the source material. But, well, I had only made it a few chapters in on my computer before I had abandoned my previous attempt.

So, with my Kindle in hand, I tackled Ms. Austin. I was glad I did. I was also very glad that my Kindle has a built-in dictionary function, because I used it often, even if not all of the old-timey British words were in it. I wonder what other classics I should be reading?

My first eBook I read taking place in this century and located in the United States of America was Holding On by Rachael Brownell. Rachael organized an awesome event I attended last fall called Great Lakes Book Bash. If you are an author or a reader, you MUST attend the next one, coming fall of 2017. Holding On was a great book. I loved that it took place in Michigan and Tucson. I am not much of a traveler, but Tucson is one of the only two places I have ever flown to (the other being Phoenix). The characters were well developed and I cared about them and their circumstances.

Next I read Chasing Rainbows by Linda Oaks. I really meant to only read a few pages. I was waiting for something to download on my computer and had just a few minutes to kill. But, as in usual fashion with me, I found myself compelled to finish it the same night. Linda’s writing really meshed with how my own thoughts rattle around in my own head. It felt awkward to me that the main character of Addie was involved with three different guys all in the length of just one week. But, maybe I am just jealous. That is pretty ambitious for a high school girl. And the first week of school too! I bet she got absolutely no homework done. I am glad that she ended up with the right man in the end.

What will I read next? Hopefully my own Be Careful What You Wish For. Need to finish up work on it.

After that? Probably Frozen Dreams by Cori Williams, A Place to Stand by Meg Farrell, Wolf Spell by M.R. Polish, A Reliant Love by Taylor Lavati, and something by Casey L. Bond.

I am in the midst of starting new employment. It is terribly scary and overwhelming. My anxiety has been working overtime lately. The fact that Southeastern Michigan was like the land of the eternal gloom over Christmas break didn’t help matters (or my Seasonal Affective Disorder). I put a solar light in my front yard. Literally, the damn thing never lit up at night until just two days ago. There had not been enough sun for two weeks to recharge the solar battery. Even with just the two days of sun (plus a few other factors), I am feeling slightly more like myself. But reading is a great escape from the stress of reality, even if just for a little while.

My Kindle is just a basic model, 7th generation. While I feel a little deprived of the bells and whistles of a K Fire, I also know that I am constantly tempted to check my Facebook as I am reading. Which I cannot do on it (or, at least I haven’t figured out how yet), which is good because then I keep reading.

The verdict? A Kindle has certain advantages, but it is just not as good as having a print book in my hands. A highlighted Pride & Prejudice just cannot compare to my underlines and stars in my hardcover copy of Twilight (autographed by Peter Facinelli!), but it is way better than trying to get lost in a book on a reflective screen while sitting at my desk.

A Kindle is just way easier to take to the bathroom than my laptop ;-D

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
The Wind Could Blow a BugAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It NEW RELEASE!
Be Careful What You Wish For – COMING JANUARY 2016!

Research: Pride & Prejudice

Sometimes, I check out a CD or a movie because someone suggests it to me. Sometimes I am interested because it is perpetually in pop culture for decades and I cannot avoid it.

In these circumstances, I am probably not eager to try it, and expect to not enjoy it. But I consider it “research”.

I was told years ago by a co-worker to listen to “Nothing’s Shocking” by Jane’s Addiction. He told me if I liked Kid Rock, I should listen to this CD because it is what came before. He was kind of weird and cool, so I got the CD. I would disagree that it really has anything to do with Kid Rock’s sound, but it was an alright CD. I considered it a failed research project though. My life wouldn’t have been missing anything had I never listened to it.

I got the books “Forever” by Judy Blume and “The Perks of Being a “Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky because everyone always talks about them being great books, especially in the Young Adult genre. I was highly dissatisfied with Perks. I think I would be better off if I had never read it. As for Forever, I think maybe Blume’s books are best enjoyed at the age for which they are written. When I was in 4th grade, Tales of a Forth Grade Nothing” was da bomb. I could never diss Mrs. Blume.

I decided I needed to either read or watch Pride and Prejudice, because everyone talks about it all the time. Actually, the last straw was when I was reading an article called “Sex, Lies, & Fifty Shades” in my Entertainment Weekly magazine. It used Mr. Darcy in Pride & Prejudice as an example of The Prince Paradigm.

Pride and Prejudice meme

Pride and Prejudice meme

Since I generally do better with visual than I do books, especially ones filled with fancy old British talk, I chose to watch the BBC miniseries from 1995 starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. I was a little concerned about a 6 hour miniseries. But it had a 5 star ranking on Amazon.com.

How many other movies rate that high?

The costumes and all the formality of courting and dancing, etc. back then would have driven me nuts. Once I sort of associated it with when I watch “Anne of Green Gables” (PBS, starring Megan Follows), as being of a time whose customs I know not, it was easier to watch. Just like Anne, Pride featured beautiful shots of the countryside–England, rather than Canada, of course.

The first hour I spent just trying to remember everyone’s name and what they did. But, as I reached the end of episode 5 and found it was now 2:15AM, I realized I had been drawn into the story. I actually cared about Lizzy and Mr. Darcy and if they were ever going to get together.

I actually feel really cheated that I didn’t watch Pride and Prejudice sooner. So many other movies I watch are based off of this story that came first. I recently watched the movie “Austinland” which, while a great movie, no doubt would have made more sense had I watched P & P first. And I have watched “Bridget Jones Diary” in the past. Wait, why does Colin Firth keep playing characters named Mr. Darcy? Is that a really common name in England?

Anyway, Pride and Prejudice was definitely worth my time checking out. I enjoy writing bantering dialogue between my leads and feel like I was “schooled” by the movie. I might benefit from reading the original book. I did find a free eBook version, although I enjoy reading physical books more.

I must admit, I may be a little obsessed now. And that really should have happened years ago. Maybe I wasn’t mature enough yet in 1995 to see past the dresses that look like nightgowns and the lack of kissing.

BTW, I am sooo glad that Lizzie and Mr. Darcy get to kiss at the end.

Next up on my research list? Flowers in the Attic.

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