Tag Archives: what have I got on my Kindle

Book Review, Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy.

I have just finished The Cross, the last of the Kristen Lavransdatter trilogy by the award winning author Sigrid Undset. I think the kudos for a beautifully rendered translation goes to Tina Nunnally.  When I blogged about books that are true and therefore speak to us in harmony with natural law,  I was still reading Unset. She shows a profound grasp of human life, love and struggle. She writes from the viewpoint and soul of Kristen as a child, young girl in love, wife and mother of seven sons and mistress of a great house to her old age and the final realisation of her life and struggle, brought about by a sudden opportunity to make an astonishing act of mercy.

Undset’s deep understanding of human nature and the consequences of choices and actions make all the characters of the book very real and believable.

Kristen’s relationship with her saintly father Lavrans and the more difficult relationship with her mother is drawn sympathetically while avoiding  saccharine and vinegar in her description of Kristin’s parents.

Undset’s deep knowledge of history also shines in this story. There are no glaring historical errors to irritate the reader. In fact, there are some details that ring so true that they left me saying “Ah so that’s it!”

While the story is placed in fourteenth century Norway, it has a timeless quality to it, most probably because of the depth of the characters and the fact that human nature has changed little, if at all. I love the complexity of Kristin’s life, love and faith. She commits some truly awful sins, and has to wrestle with her conscience, pride and guilt over them.

Life is way too short to spend reading what Miss Charlotte would call “twaddle” and too short indeed to read trash, so why not make every moment count by reading something good for the heart, mind and soul. This trilogy is it.

A more eloquent review is here: Under Her Heart: Motherhood in Kristen Lavransdatter.

This set of books will be read again (I hope) by me.


The Rite by Matt Baglio. Book review (and some thoughts)

Matt Baglio follows the training and formation of American priest Fr. Gary Thomas who has been sent to Rome to learn the art of exorcism. It comes across as a very straight forward non-sensationalist account of the events and in that, some reviewers have been disappointed. For me this was rather refreshing. The subject matter is difficult enough and must be very difficult for those who suffer from oppression or possession and those who know and love them.

Fr. Gary begins his training with no interpreter and struggling to find his feet in the college and with senior exorcists when he had so little Italian. Any Catholic who has been part of the Church and her workings will smile at the usual chaos. Apparently there’s a bumper sticker which says “I hate organised religion” to which the only reply must be “so be a Catholic.”

ehem. I digress

Finally, Fr. Gary gets to apprentice with a very hard working priest, who has much God given stamina and who is the local exorcist with just enough English to communicate and Fr. Gary picks up just enough Italian that they can work in some middle pigeon ground.

The book is somewhat let down by its skirting over some aspects of possession, such as the different types and differences between hauntings, oppression and possession. He also says far too little on how people get into this pickle in the first place although the usual suspects are mentioned; dabbling in the occult and getting into superstitious practices.

He does mention curses, but doesn’t go unto detail about how these work and how they might fit into God’s permissive will.

Baglio describes some of the mental illnesses that must be assessed first before a consideration of possession can take place. This is a good solid overview but again is let down by Baglio’s own obvious lack of knowledge of psychiatry. He talks about somatisation as though this can be a valid diagnoses. There is no scientific or medical evidence that somatisation or as some call it conversion disorder actually exists. It falls under the same shadowy made-up dx as Munchausen and borderline personality disorder. There’s not real evidence for any of these labels. I think when trying to seek the truth about a person who presents with serious health problems it is important to seek the truth, about what is happening. Sadly I was left wondering how many people with spiritual problems were left with pseudo-diagnosis to palm them off.

After observing some exorcisms Fr. Gary recalls his own lack of personal experience of serious pain until he fell off a mountain and was severely injured. He remembered that it was the depression that came as a result of his injuries that was far more painful that the physical pain he felt. This reminiscence came shortly after the heart rending exorcism of a nun called Sr. Janica.

If you ever thought exoricism was just about being scary and weird and that you would never feel deep sorrow for a possessed person, her short story of longstanding suffering will change your mind.

In Fr Gary’s on painful experience he remembers how the Sacraments of the Sick and healing Masses helped him so much. This is something I truly wish the Church in the UK and elsewhere would take seriously. Far too many sick people are left without the healing ministry of the Church because it is simply not made available to us. It is hardly surprising in those situations that so many Catholics and other Christians turn to more dodgy ministries that in themselves have lead some people to require an exorsist when there is so little at parish level.

There are a number of questions that must be asked, and answered, which I think the book skips over too lightly. Why does God allow a person to be cursed so that they end up with some form of demonic possession having done nothing themselves to invite it?  I assume there’s some answer along the same lines as why God allows innocent people to be harmed or even killed by evil people.

The other question I had was on why some exorcisms took so long and why some people couldn’t be healed at all?

Overall the book is a good insight into one man’s training and how exorcists can and do work. It’s clear on many points and approaches it all very sensibly.Not all my questions were answered, but it was a good solid introduction to the subject.

Home Education Book Basket

It’s half term and so the children are doing their own thing and reading whatever they like.

Ronan (age 9) is still reading The Sword in the Stone. He loves it.

He and Avila (age 7) together are reading along to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. They have just finished listening to Stranger Moon which they loved and have requested I buy the book at some point.

Heleyna (age 5) has been following along to the Usborne Pinocchio and CD set and Avila has read her The Twelve Dancing Princesses.

For herself Avila is reading Martin’s Mice which was one of the first books I got Alex to read after I’d re-taught him to read.

Note: For those of you who have very reluctant readers or a child with dyslexia a book like Martin’s Mice is a good way to get them back into reading without using very childish books.

I am reading:

Osler’s Web. Yes I’m still reading it and I am still learning from it. I’ve read more on the astonishing Ampligen trial wherein the FDA refused to accept the findings because too many egos were at stake.  Now the only way to get onto the newer trails is if you happen to be very very wealthy indeed. However at least the fact that the FDA turned it down back then has not taken the drug that had such solid results first time around off the table. 

Even when you take into account the usual corruption and self serving bureaucracy of those who work in big organisations like the NIH and CDC, I am still stunned by the sheer maliciousness that was aimed at very sick people whom most of the doctors and research had never even bothered to meet. During a conference a research doctor from Glasgow walked out on a presentation because there was a video showing a patient obviously extremely ill. His lack of professional behaviour and basic good manners is staggering and made more so by the knowledge that the patient he was so dismissive of died two years later.

I am also having a Sigrid Undset time reading Catherine of Siena (Kindle)which is brilliant and The Bridal Wreath which is the first book of the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy. (kindle)

Undset is a fairly recent find for me but she writes with extraordinary skill, and I have to say the translater is to be praised also.

I have Jenny to read later. I think it’s the only public domain English translation out there, unless anyone knows of another? As she seems to be one of those writers who have a genuine gift throughout all she writes I hope to read all of the books I can find.

A Catholic Mother’s Kindle: Where are all those books coming from?

What a girl needs now and then, is a quiet five minutes to sit down with a good book and a cup of tea.

Having said that, a certain daughter of mine has declared that there is nothing quite so sad a a cup of tea without a buscuit to dunk in it. Perhaps this is so, but it is not something I find all that tragic (most of the time).

So then, where do I get books for my kindle?

There are plenty of places for free books: Internet Archive has loads of them. Some are better formatted for Kindle than others. I have had problems reading some books that have footnotes, but not so badly that I’ve needed to give up. (I can be quite determined when I put my mind to it).

Project Gutenberg is a gold mine and so far the books I’ve downlaoded from there are fairly well formatted, so I tend to check them out there first and then got to IA if they don’t have them.

There is also the Australian Gutenberg and Gutenberg Canada. So far as I can see these sites don’t offer Kindle ready books, but they are easy enough to convert with the info I gave in a previous post on how to make books Kindle readable.

If you are up to a few convertions there are some great Don Camillo books. If you have never read Don Camillo you have missed a classic. Grab your chance now.

Many Books is another place to find all sorts of wonderful books Including the first two Lord Peter Wimsey tales by the great Dorothy L Saysers.

Then there’s Free Kindle Books which I haven’t really had a chance to look at properly yet.

Got a bit of money? Ignatius Press have many books for your delectation. Sophia Press have a list too, which tends to be linked to Amazon.com but some of the books are carried on Amazon UK.

Also Heritage History have made most of their books Kindle ready for only a couple of dollars each and St Joan of Arc for free.

One of the books I’ve read recently from Project Gutenbery is about the Starvation Diet for Diabetes. Second Edition 1916. This was before insulin was avialable, and going by the case studies in the book it was before there was an understanding of the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

In fact the differnce between types 1 and 2 were not recorded until 1935. Insulin had been given as injection since 1922/23.

The starvation diet was harsh at first but more food was added over time.

The first three days of starvation the patient was to receive only black coffee with a little whiskey in it. The same system was used with children. I noticed that the young patients either adults under 25 or children did not fare so well on this diet and in the case of children were more likely to die.

Although the medic who has written the book is cheerfully optimistic that this diet works well, it plainly did not save many lives of juvinile diabetics. Truly we can see in this little book – that insulin was needed.

Insulin has come on a long way. Josh is pretty stable on his two types of insulin in a way that I remember patients I nursed, had no hope of.

It’s a short book, quick read but fascinating.

How to make books Kindle readable.

There is a function where you can give your Kindle a name – so I have named mine Gilbert, after that great writer, thinker, and lover of cheese, Gilbert Keith Chesterton.

It comes with a wire that has a usb end and a micro usb end, and a three point plug. The Kindle can be charged using the plug pretty quickly – about an hour or so, or much more slowly via the computer. The wire can also be used for transfering books and audio onto the Kindle from the computer.

I have downloaded CALIBRE to my computer. It is free software that allows the user to covert books in a different format to mobi so they can be read on the Kindle. I have converted a few Pdf books this way. Apparently the best way of doing this is to convert from pdf to Lit first and then from lit to mobi. It has worked well for me, and isn’t too techy which is good.

If, like me, you might want to get Word or Publisher docs made Kindle friendly, then I recommend Primo pdf converter. It is also free. It’s what I use to make the freebies Kalei puts on her blog and as she was the one who gave me the heads up on it. I assume it’s what she uses to make all her amazing resources available to the rest of us.

Primo works in the “print” option for your documents.

Once you have made your pdf document you can make it mobi with Calibre.

Be warned however, some of the pdfs you can download from Internet Archive do not convert cleanly. However as many of their books are Kindle now, it doesn’t matter so much.

The other thing to note is that many free books, especially those from Internet Archive are not fotmatted very well – I think they were just converted. This can make some books a bit of a challenge to read on Kindlw – especially those with footnotes, but as they are free I am not complaining.

When you plug your Kindle into the computer and open files you will have Audible, Documents and Music. Apparently you can listen to music while you read. I haven’t tried this yet.

Audible is for audio files – mp3, audio books and so on.  I have loaded up THESE GEMS from G.K.Chesteron, and I have a series on the Shroud from EWTN which I think is no longer available.

The speakers on the Kindle aren’t that bad imo, but I do tend to use headphones when I’m listening, if for no other reason than the almighty racket in my kitchen when I’m working makes it difficuklt to think sometimes. LOL. (Washing machine, tumble dryer, dishwasher, breadmaker, children…)

I have had a look at the Amazon UK Kindle store. Those of us this side of the pond cannot buy Kindle books from Amazon.com for some reason, but there are so many books out there that this shouldn’t be a problem at this point.

One thing I did note, sadly, is that the most popular books Amazon advertise are heavily towards the porn and erotica end of things. How very saf that is.

There’s plenty of really good stuff out there- I’ll try and post a list soon.