Love books – Ender’s Game and then Shadow

I admit this book thing was a small hobby of mine in the past. I read a fair bit in high school and then stopped to play games and pursue the more frivolous things in life. I missed a lot it seems so to make up for lost time I got that Kindle and I started going at whatever was interesting.

This past week I have been devouring both Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow leading up to the theatrical release coming soon starring Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford. Let’s start with the genesis of it all, the book that launched an armada:

Ender’s Game
Everyone must have read this book already, I have heard its name and seen the old school 70’s retro future covers and re-prints when I look for the best sci-fi books of our time, wasn’t interested. I looked at the cover and wondered whether this retro vision of the future would even be valid for the iPhone/Pod generation, would the tech be pong to our GTA? Only one thing for it, read it and find out… without referring to Wikipedia for the plot lines. Cover to cover I was engrossed in a fantastic story with depth of character and the sights and smells of the world Orson Scott Card created. Throughout we’re allowed into the mind of a child directed to become the ultimate commander, in charge of forces destined to halt the end of civilisation as he and other humans knew it. It almost felt like I was in Ender’s shoes and shouldering the burden of the human race’s survival, feeling the massive isolation and I came away from each reading session wondering how he was going to continue, what would come next and cheering at the triumphs while sharing the lows. It was a rollercoaster of a ride and I wasn’t just idle, I was invested.

I read at night, usually before bed with the covers on and my pillow supporting the Paperwhite above my head. Why I told you this is because stimulus like a book (for me anyway) seeds dreams and something I never had before was in-between-episodes of my mind filling in other parts of the story from the time I stopped reading. The new information is totally fictitious and based purely on what I thought at the time of reading but I wonder if anyone else got that? I think the richness of the world in the book helped to allow for more thought provocation and therefore a continuation? it’s brilliant and I could not give a book higher praise so much as to say ‘it lives on’. Read it to engross yourself in a way of life so distant from our own, it’s just inconceivable that us as children would be put through such stress and mental anguish at the same time creating amazing triumph through adversity. Play to win completely.

Ender’s Shadow
This novel was written quite some time after Ender’s Game and it chronicles the other character, Bean. Bean is also a great mind like Ender Wiggin however his speciality is intelligence far beyond a normal human being. he is able to record mentally all details of things he sees and hears with the ability to cue any parts of the information recorded, learn at speed and utilise information gathered effectively. Perfect learning and analytical machine shaped like a small 4 year-old boy. This story is the opposite of Ender’s, Bean is an orphan living on the streets of Rotterdam and his life is of poverty, hunger and desperation. All this has developed in him an inherent mistrust of people around him to the point of his demeanor being cold. What ensues is a change in heart for the brilliant but cold, calculating Bean into a true friend to a classmate and confidant even to the increasingly isolated Ender Wiggin. This isn’t pure supporting character material either, Bean is truly given his chance to shine and Ender in this instance takes a backseat as the wunderkind Bean yearns to be but at the same time tries desperately to not imitate. Bean has his own struggles, his own story of how he came to exist and survive when all the odds were stacked against him. The book really fleshed out the world of Ender’s Game even further with the things that Ender himself didn’t see and shows us the ‘behind-the scenes’ journey of the supporting cast through Bean’s eyes. Never once did it fail to inspire and excite, survive intelligently.

Ok now, admission time. I read these two books because of what I heard about the series and they did not disappoint. There are a few more books to go but will it be the same with the characters all grown up? There’s something really crazy about kids who can do these amazing things, think and talk like they do.

You’re right, I should give it a go.


Do I enjoy?: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite WiFi

I am Australian so we get great weather, good food, big open spaces, police around every corner waiting to book you for speeding, bogans and Julia Gillard. Stuff we don’t get so easily (if we like it or not) is things from Amazon; because shipping is a million dollars and it will arrive sometime eventually next year. So I told myself that there would be no chance in damnation that I would buy a Kobo or Barnes and Noble reader or a ‘not Kindle but trying hard to be one’ simply because they have small book selections and looked like a dog’s breakfast.

So to onwards to Google and I found, a local and passionate supplier of all things Kindle and I was amazed at the selection of Kindles on offer with all the cases and accessories I could possibly want, this was heaven for the Kindle minded but let me explain myself. I like the iPad, I would very much enjoy it if it were given to me. It has all the right apps to do everything I could possibly want but there’s a catch for me and that is distraction. I just know I would be inclined to flip between book and internet and then a game of Bad Piggies, the possibilities would be endless so by the end of the night I would have read one page of a novel and then spent the rest of the time figuring out the best way to get the small one and the fat one to find all 20 stars, it’s just too much. Put that on top of having my eyes hurting from the glare and you have a one way ticket on the red eye.

So to the Kindle-not-exactly-Paperwhite, the reviews have come back as positive, it’s lit from the front by a thin membrane that is side lit and then fills the screen with light on the screen and not behind it. This is very much like having a homogenous light shone on just the page at night albeit very slightly green or pink in certain parts. Very relaxing and adjustable too so you can “turn down the lights” when the going gets dark, this also saves battery. I am not sure of the “8 weeks of reasonable daily use” claim but I know I don’t charge it often at all, you can read for 2 hours a day and it would have 50%in reserve after 2 weeks.

Onto reading, the resolution is good, text is clear and sharp and the touch quality is passable, sometimes not registering the touch to change page exactly but that might be my dry hands or it misses America and is being petulant. Still for it’s small foibles I have taken a shine to it, it is wrapped in a dark blue leather flip case with faux-suede lining and is called ‘Kinzie’. Now I walk around everywhere with my  Kinzie and people think I am a bible salesman or I want to “open their eyes to the gospel”. They are wrong of course, all I want to do is read. I Enjoy.