Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Kindle Verdict Is In
Before I could download my first Kindle book I spent more time browsing Amazon and Powells, more time reading book reviews, than I ever did when it came to buying real books. Why? Because the books weren't there in front of me to touch and hold. There weren't book jackets to catch my eye. No staff recommendation cards taped to the shelves.
What allowed me to break through the book-downloading barrier was the shortlist for the Man Booker Award and the book that caught my eye was The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt. I couldn't pass up a western written by an Oregonian. Okay, so Patrick deWitt is Canadian but he lives in Oregon and the book takes place in Oregon and Northern California. I took a deep, calming breath and hit 1-click. Within seconds the book was on my Kindle.
The Sisters Brothers is funny and gruesome with an endearing and rather lovable narrator who happens to be a gun for hire with a romantic streak and an anger management problem (although his mother's tip for controlling his anger seems to work - when he has the time to do it). The writing style is sparse. I'm not into long and flowery descriptions; I want to get to the point of the story which is exactly what Mr. deWitt does. For the first time in ages I read a book I couldn't put down. What a treat for a bookworm!
The floodgates opened and I downloaded Patrick deWitt's first book Ablutions, a story told from the point of view of a bartender. As a barfly and bookworm, I had to give it a try, add it to my (now virtual) stack of books on bars and the people who love them: Paradise by AL Kennedy, The Tender Bar by JR Moehringer, Barfly by Bukowski. Another book waiting in the Kindle wings is Triple Crossing by Sebastian Rotella about the U.S./Mexico border, border agents and drug smugglers.
Because I like dark books with depressed and depressing main characters, I read The Devil by Ken Bruen. Talk about sparse writing style...this guy has it down. I imagine there are a lot of people out there who don't like one-sentence paragraphs and a main character - Jack Taylor - who lives on Jameson and Xanax. If Jack Taylor were a real person I'd advise staying away from him - even the briefest of acquaintances don't fare well in Jack Taylor's life, especially when his adversary is the actual Devil.
Having access to books has returned a bit of my old life to my new life - the life where I had stacks and stacks of books just waiting to be read. Where I knew no matter how worried or bored or isolated I may have felt, there would always be a story waiting for me on my bedside table or living room floor. And always a new author to fall in love with.