Sunday, August 09, 2009

The Sony Reader Report: Day 3

Sony Reader (in the Brown Cover) on Psychedelic Bag

You used to be dazzled by the Sony Walkman. You’d be out running with the radio clipped onto your pocket, listening to FM as you puffed by the lakeside park, grateful that Peter Gabriel, Bruce Springsteen, The Pretenders, and Eddie Rabbit (singers Ann Beattie’s characters also heard on the radio) distracted you from the boredom of running.

We have a Sony Walkman (antique), a Sony TV (a gift), and now a Sony Reader (chosen over the Kindle because it suits our slower life-style). The experience of getting a Sony Reader today is a bit like getting a Sony Walkman in the ‘80s. No running involved, but it’s a smooth gadget, and the transition to the e-reading is quick. Proof - and I realize this sounds unbelievable - last night I became so absorbed in my e-book that I kept reaching up to turn the pages. (There ARE no pages: you have to click a button).

Reading is reading, but this is a much better device than the Palm (which had a glaring screen, though the new ones are probably better). You can find endless free public-domain books at Gutenberg,, and Google. Last night I chose Mary Roberts Rinehart, who is known as the American Agatha Christie.

Rinehart’s The Circular Staircase, a 1907 mystery whose title is reminiscent of my favorite Nancy Drew,The Hidden Staircase, is engrossing, amusing, and well-written. It transcends the machine.

The narrator, Rachel, is a wealthy, witty spinster, whose summer house suddenly begins to fill up with dead bodies (two so far). Her servants are jumpy, strange noises begin at the witching hour of three o’clock, mysterious men, women, and ghosts invade the house, and her clever, sophisticated nephew and niece may be involved (though she, and we, trust not).

Rachel begins ironically in the third person, before switching to the first person: “This is the story of how a middle-aged spinster lost her mind, deserted her domestic gods in the city, took a furnished house for the summer out of town, and found herself involved in one of those mysterious crimes that keep our newspapers and detective agencies happy and prosperous.”

Are you hooked yet? But it becomes even wittier.

Books are preferable to e-books, but my library discards books after five years (not making this up sadly). Therefore, no Rinehart in the library. So for some of us with catholic tastes, the e-reader is a good investment: my book and e-book libraries will never coincide.


Teri K said...

I keep telling people on the forum that you never know when you will run into a great blog, you just have to keep your mind open! This strange beginning is my way of saying hello, I'm Teri-K and I have a one month old blog on blogger, I basically write personal essays on what something I've read, and I'm working on one about The Guernsey Literary... book. I haven't yet finished it, but almost as soon as I began reading it reminded me of the wonderful Mrs. Tim books by D. E. Stevenson. I decided to do a quick search to see what I could find on those books, because I'm an inveterate ferreter out of interesting tidbits, and I thought I might find something to mention in my blog. (It seems there's no such word as ferreter, but I don't think I'll let that stop me from using it.) The top listing on Google for "Mrs. Tim Christie' stevenson was your blog. I recognized those dots as the page began to load, and am delighted to find your review, written back in October 24 of 2008. I'd like to make a link from my blog to your review. Please let me know if you don't want me to. I may use a quote from you, properly attributed, of course. Again, if don't want that I will remove it as soon as you let me know. I find your reaction to the books very like my own. Of course it's always nice to meet someone familiar with a rather obscure book you enjoy too. It feels a bit like two secret agents running into each other at a social event. No words have to pass, just a look that says "Yes, I recognize you. We have something in common that the rest of the world will never understand."
It's late here and I want to try to get my post finished. I looking forward to coming back to see what other old friends and new acquaintances I will find

Teri K said...

I'm probably missing something obvious, but the only way I can see to subscribe to your blog is Atom. Do you have another option?

Frisbee said...

Thank you! Your blog is excellent and I'll add it to my Blogroll.

Yes, it is very nice to meet people with similar tastes. I love the Mrs. Tim books and that is one of my most "popular" posts: occasionally I check the stats and many people go directly Mrs. Tim.

I'd like to read more of D. E. Stevenson's books, but don't quite know what else to read.

I haven't read The Guernsey Literary yet!

Frisbee said...

I don't know anything about subscribing to blogs! I don't know what Atom is.

Good luck!

Teri K said...

When someone subscribes to your blog your new posts are sent automatically to them, so they don't have to keep coming back to see your updates. Most people on blogspot use the followers gadget. People click on it and get listed as your follower, or subscriber, and your posts show up on their dashboard.
They other way for people to subscribe is for you to put an RSS feed button on your blog. It's free and lets people choose several places to have the posts sent. The help forum is a great place to learn how to make it easy for readers to find your blog and keep track of it.
Come to my blog and click on become a follower and see how it works, unless we are speaking at cross purposes, and you know what I'm saying and I'm wasting your time! I hope not.

Mad Housewife said...

Thanks for the info. I've never noticed the followers gadget. I'll see if I can find it.