Post-Thanksgiving Recovery and #TuesdayReads

Welcome back to the world, everyone. Was Thanksgiving blessed and gluttonous for you all? Your bloggers spent a long weekend indulging in just about everything the holiday has to offer besides Black Friday sales. (We weren’t really in the market for a 55″ LCD screen or 2011’s equivalent of a Digi-Dog.)

Regrettably, amidst the festivity (and its many leftovers), we weren’t doing much reading, either. So here’s what’s on tap the rest of the week:

A review of Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. This was one of the only other books my mom has ever purchased on her Kindle, with which I had my first ever encounter a couple weeks ago reading The Night Circus. (It’s tempting to discuss the correlation between people who use 21st-century-exclusive technology and those who simply purchase it, but maybe that hits too close to home for some. Not to mention that I have a few skeletons in my closet too, in the form of Palm Pilots and Nintendo Gamecubes. [Anyone want to come over for a few hours of Mario Sunshine…?])

I figured I’d test how long the battery would run on a Kindle 2, since everyone I know has been grumbling lately about the unreliable batteries in their iPhone 4s’s. And in this regard — which (mea culpa, Amazon) I neglected to notice or mention before — the Kindle has performed admirably. I couldn’t have imagined that someone who reads as slowly as I do could get through Morgenstern’s whole 400-page novel and over half of Henrietta Lacks without losing even half the battery life. That, I imagine, is a feature the Nook or the Kindle Fire won’t share with the original Kindle or the Kobo. The ink technology just isn’t as demanding of battery power…or my eyesight.

We’ll also have some thoughts this week on David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King, all 560 pages of which were the laudable result of Michael Pietsch’s reverent editing. An interesting article from the Atlantic interviews Pietsch on the subject; the editor was also the Keynote speaker at the Denver Publishing Institute this past July.

Finally, a recommendation: I don’t know if anyone else’s interest in reading is so closely tied to a love of grammar and vocabulary, but a new game at Dictionary.com is a great way for quizzing both latter. If work is still slow in the post-holiday lull, try the Word Dynamo in Beta. It not only quizzes you in a streamlined way (they even automatically take you from one word to the next after answering), but it plays like a video game where you can unlock levels of vocab words, and flatters you with a running counter of “estimated number of words you know.” Which, notably, hovers somewhere between 30,000 and 60,000.

We’re pretty bright, in other words. And, apparently, there are always lots and lots of other words.

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