18 June 2014

Guest Post at Angie Eats Peace

I'm guest-posting today over at Angie Eats Peace.  You might remember Angie as my Blogger Book-Swap partner a couple years back.  Her blog is always interesting with posts about travel, books, yoga and vegan eating, among other thing.  Angie is current gallivanting around Europe (a benefit of having a job with summers off!) and I'm jealous!!

Click here to check out my post there.

11 June 2014

I Drank The Kindle Kool-Aid - May Reads

I've been a die-hard hold-out against giving up my paper books for a long time. Last year, while on a trip in the Balkans (flying Ryanair which means I could only bring one book due to the extremely stringent weight restrictions) I was stuck with a book I did not like and not much else to do but read since I grossly over-estimated the size of the places I was visiting. 

Had I liked the book I would have easily finished it in two days.  Since I didn't, it somehow managed to last me almost the entire trip.  At dinner one night in Croatia I saw another traveler with an e-reader and I was jealous. She probably had lots of books on that thing, that thing that weighed no more than my one book, from which to choose and there I was stuck with a dud that I had to ration in order not to run out of reading material (even bad reading material) too soon.

My little brother got me a Kindle last year for solstice.  My recent trip back to the Netherlands was the perfect time to try it out (I hadn't used it really, up until then, because I have a lot of paper books waiting to be read).  About a week before my departure I finally made it to the local library and joined. The librarian assured me that downloading e-books from the country library website was easy.

Two days before leaving I logged onto the site. It was not easy. It turns out I had to first get some other program that would allow me to download the books. Then I actually had to find books that were available.  Many of the books I wanted to read either weren't available in e-book format or the e-books were all checked out (I didn't even know there was a limit on how many electronic copies could be checked out).

Finally, I managed to download two books:
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Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, about her adventure hiking the Pacific Crest Trail alone.

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Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell which I had recently heard about from Angie. I loved it!

Thanks to jetlag and being awake for hours on end in the middle of the night, I rather quickly finished those two books and went searching for more.  I found
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Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers, about one family's experience with hurricane Katrina (that's a gross simplification if I've ever written one!).
I didn't want to like the e-reader but I do.  I'm not using it here at home as I still have plenty of dead trees to read but I'm going out of town for work and will be searching the online library for books to take along.

Also read in May:

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I'm not a Luddite but I do crave a life with less technology and I found his experimental life one that, while maybe not entirely, I'd like to adopt.

What are your thoughts on e-readers?  Have you read anything good lately?

01 June 2014

A Visit Home - Sundays in My City

I got back last week from a trip back to the low lands. After living in the Netherlands for 3+ years it was a little odd to go back for a visit.  Odd in that I didn't feel like I was visiting. It just felt like I was back home. It's such a familiar place.  I don't have a lot of pictures from the trip since I mostly just visited with people but here are a few from Amsterdam (of course I went to Amsterdam!).

The World Press Photo Exhibit. My fourth year in a row.  Although this year it was at the Niewe Kerk (new church) as opposed to the Oude Kerk (old church).

I really liked the shadows on this already-interesting brick wall.

The visit was, of course, too short and made me long even more to return to life there.

Is there a place to which you long to return?

I recommend returning to Unknown Mami every Sunday for SIMC!

Unknown Mami