Archive for June 2010

Amazon Kindle Promoting Literacy in Developing Countries

I ran across an article that I wanted to share about how the Kindle is being used to promote literacy in children in third world countries.  There’s an organization called Worldreader.org that recently brought 20 Kindles to a Ghana classroom and they will be doing trials of the program in other areas as well.

It’s a really interesting concept, I think.  Just think about how many more books a child could have access to by using an e-reader that otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to physically get.  They could use the text-to-voice option to learn new words or pronunciation.  Obviously, there are some downsides like taking care of the Kindle itself to prevent damage.  Check out Worldreader.org’s blog for more information on their trials and current projects including some interesting stories about how the Kindle was used in Ghana and how the kids adapted to it.

On Facebook, there was some debate in response to this article asking why they aren’t doing this here in the US and instead, spending the money in a country overseas that doesn’t help the children here with literacy issues.   There does seem to be a lot of talk (and possibly some action) about adding e-readers to US classrooms for the same reasons.  I’m sure this is a subject that we will hear more and more about in the coming years with the advent of the Kindle and other e-readers plus other technology like the iPad.  What are your thoughts about e-readers in the classroom?

The One That I Want by Allison Winn Scotch

This book was just mentioned on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s summer reading list and coincidentally, I just finished reading it!

The One That I Want” is about a woman named Tilly who is a guidance counselor in the same high school that she grew up in and she’s pretty satisfied with her life – married her high school sweetheart, hopefully trying for a baby on the way.  One day, she visits the town festival after work and runs into an old friend that she grew up with who is a fortune teller of sorts who does something to Tilly and tells her that she will now have clarity.  Tilly brushes her off until she all of a sudden blacks out and sees a vision, which ends up coming true.  She keeps having blackouts and visions and eventually figures out what triggers them and is able to do it on-demand.  Tilly knows that there’s nothing she can do to stop or change it because it’s obviously all happening for a reason.  While she was out living her lovely little life, things were starting to fall apart and she has no control over it.

Typically, I would go into more detail about the storyline up to a certain point, but I think that you should pick up the book and read it yourself if you want to learn more.  Telling you what the visions are and what happens would ruin all of the surprises and page-turningness (I think I just made up a new word).  This is one of those stories that makes you realize that no one is perfect and life isn’t perfect.  Sometimes things just don’t go the way you want them to, but it’s destiny and you just have to let it happen and then adjust your life from there.  The book was really easy to get into and it was hard to put down!

This is Allison Winn Scotch‘s third book; I’ve also read and blogged about her second book, “Time of My Life“, and want to read her first book someday, too.  You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.  Personally, I like her cute and witty comments on random things and her running commentary on the TV show “The Bachelor” (or Bachelorette).  She live tweets during each episode – love it!

Shelter Me by Juliette Fay

I picked up this book (yes, a real-life book) in the clearance “bin” at my local Borders a few months ago.  I can’t pass up interesting looking books under $5.  And yes, I do judge the books by their covers.  Although, I have bought some Kindle ebooks that have covers that I wouldn’t necessarily be attracted to in person.

Anyway.

Janie LaMarche recently lost her husband in a biking accident (PSA: please respect bicyclists and motorcyclists on the road!!) and she is really struggling to get on with her life.  She finds out that her late husband had planned to get a porch built as a gift to her and makes an unlikely companion of the contractor, Tug (that’s his name).  He knows how to deal with her attitude and doesn’t pity her.  He is also fantastic with Janie’s little boy, Dylan, and her baby daughter, Carly.  Janie also makes an even more unlikely companion of Father Jake Sweeney, the young Catholic priest who visits her weekly to try to help her through her grief.  She can’t stand him at first and doesn’t want him there, but they learn to get along with each other and become friends, confessing things that they have not told other people.

While all of that is going on, Janie is also dealing with her hovering aunt, her protective cousin, her absent mother, her nosy but helpful neighbor, and a new girl friend who is the mother of one of Dylan’s friends.   She is still having a really hard time getting over Robby and doesn’t want anyone else’s help or opinions of how she should deal.  Janie IS lonely and has thoughts about the two man friends that she’s made, but really… a priest and a contractor?  She eventually learns that she can’t do this along and really does need the people around her.

I really liked this book.  I was really drawn into the story and wasn’t sure where it was going.  Most of all, I really felt for Janie.  Yeah, she acted like a total B-word sometimes, but she didn’t know how else to channel her anger and grief.  It made her seem like a REAL person.  I like that.  I think Juliette Fay did a great job of making all of the characters seem like real people.  There are so many times in other books where the characters just seem too perfect, or even too flawed, to be like someone you would actually know.  This was Juliette Fay’s first novel, but I hope she writes more!

Price Lowered for the Amazon Kindle

I saw a news release today on Amazon Kindle’s Facebook page that they once again lowered the price for the Kindle 2!  It has went down in price from $359 about a year ago, to $259 late last summer, and now to $189.

One hundred eighty-nine dollars.   FREE two day shipping.  600,000 books.  Most of them under $9.99 and a whole lot that are FREE or super duper cheap.  Seriously.  If you don’t have one of these but you’ve been pining away for one for the past two years, then you need to run, not walk, to your nearest computer or smartphone with an internet connection and buy it.  Now!

In other news, it kind of stinks that I got mine at last year’s price, but what can you do.  I’ve had mine for a year and have 108 books on it.  I’ve read most of them and a large number of them were free.  So I still see that as a win.

Summer Reading Guide

My local paper, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, just published a list of fiction and non-fiction books for summer called “Summer Reading: From beach blankets to cool mountain evenings, vacation days call for a good book“.   You can click on that link and go and read the whole article and descriptions of each book, but here is a quick list of the books and links to the books on Amazon:

Fiction:

Non-fiction:

Need a last minute Father’s Day gift?  I’m sure a lot of bookworm dads out there may like some of these titles!

Are you going to go out and pick up any of these books for your summer vacation?  Or do you already have a stack of books in your beach bag ready to go?  Please feel free to share your recommendations!

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Jaci has read 1 book toward her goal of 35 books.
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