Sunday, November 1, 2015

Turning Leaves Through October

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Besides Havana Sleeping by Martin Davies (which I thought deserved a book review of its own), I also in the month of October read/listened to the first two (out of six) ‘Chronicles of Barsetshire’ by Anthony Trollope – The Warden (1855) and Barchester Towers (1857).

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As far as I can recall, I have not previously read anything by Trollope, even though I’ve often seen references to him, and this series especially.

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Being old classics, these books can nowadays be found for free on the internet.  Back in my pre-internet university days, it was a very different story (here in Sweden) to get hold of English classics that weren’t on the prescribed list of study course literature…

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Which means that ever since I got the Kindle (I can hardly believe that was only three years ago – it feels like I’ve had it much longer!), I’ve been on a constant happy free-shopping-spree, downloading just about every old classic, read or unread, that has happened to come to mind for me. No doubt more of them than I will ever in reality find the time to read…

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The Barsetshire Chronicles were actually among the first lot of classics that I downloaded just after I bought the Kindle back in the autumn of 2012. What made me decide to read these just now was that more recently I also happened to notice that ‘whispersync’ audio versions of them were also available at reduced price (about 3$ per book).

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I really love that possibility of being able to switch back and forth between reading and listening – especially with lengthy books, because it means I can keep reading even when I need to rest my eyes, but I can also go back and check things (which is very hard to do if one only has the audio version), or read some chapters the usual way if I’m in the mood for that.

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I still find it harder to write reviews of audio books, because one does not pick up details in the same way as when seeing the text.

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And as I’ve mostly listened to these two, I’ll just say that I found them enjoyable. Not all easy to keep up with all the various titles and finer nuances of the mid 1800s ecclesiastical, aristocratic and social hierarchy – which is pretty much what the author is mocking in these books, and also spinning his plots around – but even without looking up every detail of all that, one soon gets the drift. Society may have changed a bit over the last 150 years, but the ways we relate to other people really haven’t changed as much as we might like to think… (Prestige, envy, gossip etc.)

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I really loved the poor honest warden’s struggles with his conscience in the first book (receiving very little or no credit for all his efforts to be just and fair); and all the misunderstandings in the second arising from people just assuming what’s going on in the minds of others, without really bothering to ask – for example!

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I’ll continue reading/listening to the rest of this series. I find they make excellent “bedstories” as in the midst of all the intrigue they’re still kind of peaceful…

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 [And in between reading, I have been out walking a lot in fine autumn weather! The photos in this post were taken on different occasions from the beginning of October to about a week ago.]

9 comments:

  1. i just love the white berries and that gorgeous orange tree and my favorite is the yellow at the end. so beautiful. i am the opposite, a couple of weeks ago, i checked to see when i got my kindle, i thought it had been less than 2 years and was shocked it has been 3 years. we got ours at almost the same time. i love my kindle and would be lost without it and it will be quickly replaced if needed.

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    1. Same here, Sandra - I would not want to be without the Kindle now.

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  2. I really ought to make the effort and read something a bit more challenging.
    God to see the autumn colours.

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    1. Adrian, we've had a beautiful autumn in southern Sweden this year. Almost no frost and not much rain either - nor much wind.

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  3. Nice autumn shots! My husband loves reading books on his tablet. I'm a fan of audio books, although I miss being able to skim over dull parts.

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    1. I agree that's a downside about audio books, Linda (not being able to skim).

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  4. Your pictures are great, Monica! We had a few grey days here so I haven't been out much, but I still have the pictures on my camera from our walk on Saturday a week ago.
    Like you, I feel as if I've had my kindle for a lot longer than I really do, it has become such an integral part of my daily life - every train trip to and from work is made much more enjoyable by it. Nearly all my ebooks are free ones, too, and many of them are about as old as the Trollope ones. But so far, none of his work has found its way on my kindle. Maybe I should give him a try, too.

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    1. Thanks Meike. I've been taking lots more autumn pictures than I've had the time to blog... Of course most of them look very much alike - I just can't resist snapping away when nature offers colours like this :)

      Besides the free old classics I buy some new (English) books for the Kindle as well, as I do find reading this way so much easier on my eyes nowadays compared to printed books. And while my bookcases are full, my Kindle (not to mention The Cloud) has room... :)

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  5. Absolutely gorgeous! I love your photography! And your header is captivating! :) Warm greetings from Montreal, Canada.

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