Well, itís hard finding reading time when youíve got a big screen TV with 5.1 surround sound. Iíve got a recliner facing mine, where I sit remote in hand, over a hundred stations under my fingerís command.
Then thereís the computer, where I spend way too much time surfing the web, reading blogs written by people I donít know and will never meet. And if that isnít bad enough, thereís Facebook and that truly is addicting.
Friends also take away from your reading time. Iím talking about the real ones, not the online ones, though they take a lot of time, too. I spend way too much time on the phone, so much so that itís good that I have an unlimited plan.
Thereís work, thatíll seriously eat into your reading time. Forty hours whacked right out of your week, not to mention the time going and coming. Good thing I have a job I like, but itís not one I can read at.
And now there is this new time waster I canít get enough. My iPad. If you thought games on the iPhone were like drugs to an addled mind, get one of these, if the iPhone is crack, the iPad is the big H. Let me tell you, it is awful darned hard to put it down. I love mine more than I can say, but sadly, the screen is just a bit too bright, so when I try reading with Amazonís Kindle app, it hurts my eyes after about a half hour, though I have no problem watching movies on it.
Now throw in breakfast, dinner, church, shopping, picture taking (photography is my first love), running (I do two miles everyday but Sunday), writing (I get up a 4:00 in the morning and write till 6:00) and you can see that I donít have much time left for reading.
But somehow I find the time. I read in the bath. I read in bed before I go to sleep. I read an hour every morning between 6:00 and 7:00. I read during commercials when Iím watching television. I read during breaks at work. I read when Iím standing in line at the supermarket and Iíve even been known to read in Church (yikes, Iím looking out for the lightning).
I review a lot of what I read on Amazon, because I like writing and I like sharing. I read mostly mystery and thrillers, but I read horror stories, too. I also like science fiction and if some of my friends are to be believed, Iíve been know to read a love story on occasion, but not often.
I listen to music sometimes in the evening instead of watching television and fortunately I can read with a rocking, country or reggae beat, no problem. Yes, sometimes I can do two things at once.
Below are three reviews of books Iíve liked and Iím pleased to share them here. Following the reviews are a list of books that Iíve either read or are on my TBR (to be read) list.
Ma Jian is an inspector for the Chinese State Police. He's a tough, no nonsense, cynical kind of cop. He's corrupt and he's used to bending the rules to get what he wants and what he wants is to find the men who kidnapped his daughter Wei Wei. She calls him while he's with his mistress, pleads for help and the line goes dead. When he can't get her back on the line, he flies to Leeds, England, where she's attending university.
However, he doesn't speak a word of the white devil's language and to further add to his problems, he gets mugged shortly after arrival. So now, in addition to not being able to communicate, he has no money or identification. At the university he resorts to shouting, but nobody understands. He gets some help from Wei Wei's flatmate and learns that she'd dropped out of school and was working as a waitress in a Chinese restaurant. It was while working at the restaurant that Wei Wei met the Chinese criminal named Black Forte. He asks her out and she becomes his girlfriend, then she's gone. Jian believe Black Forte has murdered Wei Wei and he sets out to get revenge.
But he still has that language problem so when he meets Ding Ming, a Chinese illegal, who speaks English, he enlists his aid, quite against the man's will I might add. Ding Ming is in search of his wife, also an illegal, who has been taken by Black Forte. Unknown to Ding Ming, she's going to be forced into a life of prostitution.
Both men want the same thing, to find Black Forte, but for different reasons and they don't trust each other. Plus they have no money, no way to find him and no transportation, so they start off on their own crime spree, stealing cash and cars on their way to an explosive ending that promises more books about these two men.
This is a very fast read and very entertaining read. Both Ma Jian and Ding Ming come across as real people. The gangster Black Forte is truly despicable and Jian's daughter and Ding Ming's wife are truly damsels in distress. Thrillerwise, this book has it all.
The story opens with bad guy Rice looking at his AIDs ravaged face reflected back to him from a barroom mirror. Rice and despicable bad man sidekick Gundry kidnap two girls. One a fifteen year old daughter of a software millionaire named Paige and the other, seven-year-old Kelly, niece of race car driver Sara Hackett.
Kelly's parents have passed away and Sara is raising the girl, however she is embroiled in a custody battle with the child's wealthy aunt Estelle. Sara comes home early from a race in Australia only to find her Huntington Beach police officer husband Clay has temporarily moved his young and very pregnant mistress into her home. Then she learns about the kidnapping and the million dollar ransom the kidnappers want. She doesn't have that kind of money, so she is forced to turn to Estelle.
Then she figures out her husband is the mastermind behind both kidnappings, but before she can do anything about it, Clay kills Paige's software father, puts the body in Sara's bed, then sets fire to the house, framing Sara for both the murder and the fire, so now the cops are after her. And the message to Sara is clear. Find those girls before the cops find her.
And there you have the beginning of this thriller that is just crammed full of chase scenes. The story has it all, planes, boats, cars and thrills on every page. Plus, it's got characters to die for, from the plucky girls who flee their captors, to Sara and the ragtag crew she enlists to help her along the way. I couldn't put the book down.
Though Quirke's first name is Garret, I don't think it was mentioned once in this story. If it was, I missed it, which is possible, because I started this book when I went to bed at 10:00 and read straight through till 3:00 in the morning. This wasn't a thriller and it wasn't all that much of a mystery as far as I was concerned. Yes, Quirke's daughter Phoebe's friend April is missing and she wants him to help find her.
And yes, Quirke takes up the quest and that for me, the quest, was the book. Quirke is such a wonderfully flawed and wonderfully drawn character that I couldn't and can't get enough of him.
Quirke is the chief pathologist in Dublin in the 1950s and as such one would think he had a bit of respect for the law, but if one thought that, one would be wrong. Quirke sort of lives by his own set of rules, which appear to be changing, depending on his mood.
He's an alcoholic who starts the book fresh out of rehab and he starts drinking pretty much straightaway. First to test whether he can have just one drink and call it quits, then because he wants to and from there it's not long till he's waking up without remembering where he went to sleep with a splitting hangover. And it's Quirke with the hangover that is the character I liked the best.
This is my first Benjamin Black book. In case you don't know and I think everyone does, Benjamin Black is the pen name of Irish novelist John Banville. His first two Ben Black books about Quirke are Christine Falls and The Silver Swan and these are two books I'll be ordering and reading and that is truly the mark of a good book, a book that sends you out after others by the same author.
especially when you have so much to do. You can look on the Amazon top one hundred lists in the genre you like to read, but those are mostly brand new books which are still selling for top dollar, many still only available in hardcover. You could google the genre you like to read, followed by the word, ďReviewsĒ or you could just mouse around on Amazonís site.
But what I like to do is haunt the thrift shops. Just this morning at my local Goodwill I found Her Fearful Symmetry and The Swan Thieves two books I know Iím going to enjoy and two books I probably would have passed on, had I not been able to hold them in my hand and read the first couple pages. I know, you can use Amazonís search inside the book feature, but even so, I wouldnít have been checking out these particular books.
Of course you could join a book club and I did that for awhile, but it got to be a chore, almost like school, because oftentimes the group decided on something I didnít really want to read. The last straw for me was when they picked, The Lost Symbol. I liked Dan Brownís earlier books and I loved Deception Point more than I can say, but Iíd read the first chapter of SYMBOL at a friendís and decided the book was over the top, for me at least, and I didnít want to read it, so I quit the group.
I spend a lot of time on Amazon, reading reviews, looking at lists and guides, checking out the bestselling charts, so Iíve pretty much got my finger on the pulse of what I want to read. Here are some Iím looking for, thereís more, of course, but you canít get everything in one ďSo Youíd, Like to GuideĒ.
a short list of a few books that are on my look for list, a brief description of the stuff I carry around all day and three short reviews of books Iíve read and liked. I hope youíve appreciated my effort here. I enjoyed making this guide and tomorrow Iím going to make one on my trials and tribulations as I tried to find the perfect walkabout lens. If youíre into photography or if you just like the way I write, please check it out.