365 Days of Random

Random musings about nothing at all

“The End”

These are two of the happiest and saddest words at the end of a story or book – depending on your outlook and the outcome of the story of course. When I finish a book or a story that I was really engaged in, one where I connected with the characters, it always makes me feel a tad lost when I get to the end. I am happy to know the end of the story but I am sad that I am not going to spend more time with those characters. It’s even worse when the ‘story’ was told over a multi-book series.

A few years ago there was a lot of buzz about the “Twilight” series and while I fully enjoyed those characters (I’ve read the books twice and seen all the movies) I didn’t get the same lost feeling when the story ended as I do with other books and series. Perhaps that’s because, while entertaining, there wasn’t as much ‘depth’ to the characters. Perhaps it’s because those books were really quick reads so the quantity of time spent with the characters wasn’t as much as with the characters in others. Regardless, there are a few ‘series’ I’ve read in recent years that really did leave me with that feeling of “well what do I do now” feeling when I finished the last book: The Outlander Series (by Diana Gabaldon – which is not yet complete); The “Wilderness Series” (by Sara Donati); The “Sword of Truth” series (by Terry Goodkind) and most recently the “Fever Series” by (Karen Marie Moning). Each of these stories unfolded over many books. Bringing you deeper and deeper in the world the characters explored. Each of these stories made me connect with the characters on a very emotional level. It takes a very gifted writer and storyteller to accomplish that and it’s one of the things I enjoy the most about reading. While in most cases I am ‘happy’ with the end of the story I am generally very sad to know that it’s the end of my ‘relationship’ with the characters. I will no longer know ‘what happens next’ in their world. It is (admittedly) a strange experience that avid readers have.. and it doesn’t happen all the time.

So, the reason this is so much on my mind today…. well, over lunch I finished the last book in the “Fever” series. This series was 5 books that followed the life of one “MacKayla Lane” as she arrived in Dublin (from rural Georgia) to avenge her sisters brutal murder. But nothing is as she expected – not even ‘what’ killed her sister. The series takes you on a journey through the fantastical other world of the “Fae” (fairies) as they war with each other and people of their race attempt to obliterate humanity and gain the ultimate power. Ok – Yes – I enjoy Fantasy and Science Fiction – a lot. Not ashamed to admit that, they generally make up some of my favorite stories. It’s complete implausibility makes it the perfect escape from reality – which is the whole point of reading Fiction. Anyway, in the Fever Series I got really attached to Mac and Barrons and Dani and all the other characters – even Rowena. I really enjoyed learning about them and what part they played in diving the path that Mac was walking. Mac’s story ended in a very good place but, as is always the case with good stories, a lot of questions were left unanswered. I had become so attached to some of the characters and I wanted to know how THEIR stories ended too. It’s very disconcerting to know that there isn’t a ‘book 6’ (at least not yet). I can’t keep reading about this world. I need to find a new one and I am not sure what that should be.

I felt the very same way when the “Sword of Truth” and “Wilderness” series ended. I wanted more. I actually didn’t read ANYTHING new for a couple of weeks I was so caught up in speculating what could be going on in these fictional worlds. But, eventually you find another story, another character to connect with, and the cycle begins all over again.

As I start to put Mac and the Fae and the Fever Series behind me I wonder what my next ‘world’ will entail.

March 2, 2011 Posted by | Books & Stories | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Downside of Kindle

I bought my kindle about 6 months ago. And for the most part I love it. I think I posted a couple weeks ago about how much I love books and just generally love reading. I’ve become even more engrossed in books again with the convenience of the Kindle. I can purchase/download books whenever I want. It’s just so easy. Turn it on, go to the store, and start browsing for books. It literally take about 5 mins to find and download a new book. That’s much faster that going to the store or the library to get a book when you finish reading one. Yes, I spend a bit more money on books than I used to – but not really. I have a think about new releases and best sellers – which means I pay hard cover prices for books that I will finish in a few days or a week at most. Books on Kindle are cheaper – even the newer releases. So I guess all in all the money part of it balances out.

So what’s the downside of the Kindle – well, it’s a device. Technology. And technology is unstable. There have definitely been moments when reading on my Kindle that it just decides it needs a break. It shuts itself down and reboots. This generally takes about a minute. Then it brings me back to my ‘home page’ and if I’ve forgotten to add bookmark it takes forever to get back to where you were. They don’t use normal ‘page numbers’, they use some arbitrary location code that noone could possibly remember. That location number is the only thing you can use to ‘jump’ to a specific portion or page of the book too. Sure, you can get to the beginning or the end of the table of contents. But if you accidentally lose your place, well you’d better know that location number or not mind hitting ‘next page’ for awhile. Once I discovered this I became obsessive about adding bookmarks while I am reading. It saves me a bunch of time.

But here is the biggest downside to Kindle… If you happen to let the battery die – and I mean completely die – it takes about 8 hours of charging before you can turn it on and keep reading. I am not sure why this is the case – and some people think that perhaps I’ve just got a slightly defective model. Either way, it’s incredibly annoying. Especially if you’re engrossed in the middle of a great story and don’t want to put the book down. The TECHNOLOGY kind of forces you to take a break.

When all is said and done though, I think the benefits of my Kindle far out way the downside. I just need to remember to charge the darn thing once a week and I won’t have this problem anymore.

February 25, 2011 Posted by | Technology & Gadgets | , , , | Leave a comment