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Ebooks <3 Busy People

You know that feeling when you’re half way through a show and all you can think about is Edwardian bloomers? No? Admittedly my life is pretty strange in that respect but I know that I am not alone in leading a life that leaves little room for ‘me time’. I can barely stay on top of the business of getting through a day and then there is the added pressure of household chores, shopping, cleaning, cooking. Somehow in the middle of all of this for the sake of my sanity I have to find time to for me.

Being quite a solitary person it can be a bit awkward to say to people, “Look I’m sorry I just have to be by myself”. I love to chat and I love living with my friends but I still need to be left with my own thoughts. Most of the time I implement this through reading. I am sure you all know the joy of disappearing from yourself for a little while and thinking exclusively of another world. But right now I hardly have time for that. If ever I do get time to myself I open a book only to stare at the pages for 5 minutes before closing it again. The frantic nature of my life has disturbed the quite places of my mind so that any moment of stillness resonates with the absence of all the things I ought to be doing.

I have however, come to a sort of solution. For a long time now I have had a Kindle and so am by no means new to ebooks. However, I did recently get a new phone and the bigger screen has opened up a world of reading where I least expected it. I first came to this discovery when I was stuck on a train with nothing to read. At the time I was slogging my way through Bleak House and I found that I could download the ebook, for free, straight to my phone. This discovery has greatly changed my life and the way I read so I thought I would share some of my favourite things about ebooks with you.

Easy to Carry. You know that dilemma of “I have nearly finished my book should I take another one with me?”. Going on holiday and worried that you might finish your book on the plane out and then have nothing to read for the rest of the week? With ebooks this isn’t a problem. Take as many books as you like on one device. If you finish all of those? Just download some more (wi-fi permitting).

Free Books. Yes you heard me free books. A lot of classics or books in the public domain are available for free. That means you can download as many as you like and still stick to your book buying ban.

Protect your Precious Hardbacks. The other bonus of getting classics for free is you can own a physical copy in whichever beautiful edition takes your fancy, read that copy at home where it is safe from being left on the train or dropped in the gutter, then read the free ebook in whichever moments you can grab.

Make the Text Bigger. This one is perhaps a little more niche than the others but I love that I can adjust the font size on my Kindle. I am slightly dyslexic and being able to make the font bigger has made reading so much easier. As a result I read faster and with greater understanding and I don’t care if anyone is judging me when they peer over my shoulder.

Read Everywhere. Having ebooks on my phone is great because I take it everywhere with me anyway. No bulky paperbacks. No extra Kindle. Just the things I was going to take with me anyway. This means I ALWAYS have a book on me no matter what and as a result, I read when every the moment permits. Waiting for the bus. Read. Waiting in the dentists. Read. On the underground and want to avoid awkwardly staring at the person opposite. Read. The added bonus of being able to read in these otherwise wasted moments is that I am finally able to grab some precious escapism, free from that nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach. In those moments I couldn’t possibly be doing any of the many things on my to do list and with that knowledge I can finally leave the real world behind me.

I know that people say that ebooks have none of the magic of physical books and I agree. However, for me the act of reading is magical in itself, no matter how you do it. I still love physical books with their sense of wonder and beauty but ebooks have won me over with their practicality. I love that I can have the best of both worlds. Ebooks have enabled me to read more and I am grateful for that.

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The Big Read

No. 91 – The Godfather, Mario Puzo Read 2/5/15

After the rather dark and crusty world of Bleak House I fancied a bit of a shift in time and place. So The Godfather was about as different as it could get. I had seen maybe the first 15 minutes of the film a few years ago but I knew of course the general sort of plot. New York Italian gangsters.

Vito Corleone is the Don of the Corleone family. Head of the family olive oil business he is also a notorious mafioso. He commands the respect of the entire Italian community of New York and the USA. His friendship is invaluable and people flock to ask this most powerful of men a favour for which they are forever in his debt. The Godfather follows the Corleone family through the underworld of 1940s New York, a tale of blackmail, murder and revenge.

Now I didn’t really expect to enjoy The Godfather but it was so compelling I couldn’t help but like it. It is so well written the world is completely absorbing. For some reason when you are reading it, it all seems completely reasonable and logical. This world has its own rules and they don’t seem so bad. It is only when you stop reading and come back to the real world that it sinks in how brutal and cruel it is. I must warn you that this book is very graphically violent. But the violence is described in such a casual nonchalant way that it isn’t particularly shocking. You just accept it as the characters do in the book.

I don’t really know how to classify this book because my instinct is Thriller/Suspense but when I think about it I can’t really pick out an actually mystery. There is no problem to solve as thrillers often have, this book is more about getting to the truth. The truth of what it is like to be a part of the Mafia. It is gripping and you have to know how it ends. You care about the characters without having any empathy for them. You want to know what happens to them but you don’t really mind what the outcome is so long as you know. The mystery is this world and as a reader I got a buzz from learing secrets so carefully guarded. It is like the Sicilian law of omerta (silence) has been broken and all the Mafia’s depravity laid bare for all to see.

That is why I feel this book is so incredibly clever. It creates for the reader the mindset of this world. Concerned but detached. It comes alive so vividly. I also really enjoy the complex characters Puzo creates. Those who are clever and ruthless and loving all at the same time. It is a strange world and an excellent read. I never would have read it if I hadn’t started on the BBC Top 100 and I am so glad I did because it brought me The Godfather.

Rating: 5/5

Would recommend to: adults (definitely not suitable for children) who feel disengaged from society.

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