Short Books or Fine Print?

Yesterday’s e-mail from GoodReads tells me that if I need to catch up with my Reading Challenge goal by the end of Dec, the answer might be to read a few shorter books. Makes sense. In fact I just read several children’s books and each one took me only a couple of hours.

Image: Engin Akyurt — Pixabay

One thing I enjoy about children’s books is the low emotional investment. Yes children have their woes, but rarely the tortured relationships and breakups you find in adult novels. Endings are usually upbeat.

GoodReads helpfully provides a list of fairly new releases they say are all quick reads, so I had a look through the list to see what was on offer, and decided that these were only shorter versions of the same novel-length plots. Speaking of woes, one book that caught my eye was Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner. This is her memoir of growing up as one of the few Asian American kids at her Eugene, Oregon school. How she struggled with her mother’s high expectations of her; the treasured months she spent in her grandmother’s tiny apartment in Seoul, of bonding with her mother, meeting the man she married, and later facing her mother’s diagnosis of terminal cancer.

Checking this book on Amazon I noticed an interesting discrepancy re: e-book versus print edition. GR claims this story is 239 pages; Amazon lists the paperback as 416 pages. Hmm… How does one condense 416 pages into 239? Finer print on an e-reader?

This discrepancy led me to do yet more checking on their shorter books. Another on the GR list is Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata. Length: 116 pages; 176 pages as a hardcover book on Amazon. I’ve never taken note of this difference before. I’m not sure who decides that stat anyway, as the size of font readers select for their own e-reader will make a huge different in the number of pages, right?

Now, if anyone’s trying to beat their Reading Challenge and looking for quick reads with interesting story lines, I suggest you check out some of Canadian author Jean Little’s books. Sadly they aren’t all available through Amazon; I think more are listed on Kobo and Canadian libraries will likely have paperback copies. Willow and Twig is a really good story; Look Through My Window, From Anna, Mine For Keeps, Stand in the Wind, The Belonging Place, to name a few, plus half a dozen historical novels from the Dear Canada series. I’ve read almost all of her books. The books by Beverley Cleary are good quick reads, too; Ramona Quimby and friends have their amusing anxieties and adventures we can all relate to.

If you really like something different in the historical line, you could take on Ten Tomatoes That Changed the World, by William Alexander. Came across this one in my wanderings this morning. A “social history” of the tomato from its discovery in the Aztec lands to becoming the most popular North American vegetable. Pricey book, though: $17 for the kindle version. Which has 321 pages; paperback, 320 pages. Same size font?

Enough musing about books. We had a nice mini-blizzard Saturday that knocked out the power in this area for six-and-a-half hours from mid-afternoon until about 8:30 pm. Temp was just below freezing, so we were quite snug with our wood stove going, but the outage disturbed plans for those gathering for the wedding here on Sunday morning. Church board members were asking for generators for the family supper at church and the youth gathering that evening. Kind of hard to play volleyball and eat in the dark. Not to mention that when the power’s out, so is the water supply. Another snow yesterday, light and fluffy. Temp -20 C this morning, so winter is here to stay.

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