Siri & Me by David Milgrim is an interesting one, but you likely need to be an iPhone user to truly find the humor in this one. That being said, iSiri & Me by David Milgrim is an interesting one, but you likely need to be an iPhone user to truly find the humor in this one. That being said, it’s short, a quick read and a bit fun.
For those who don’t know, Siri is the electronic sweetheart of many. She’s the voice behind the system in iPhone where you can get information about many things. Do a Google search for Siri and you’ll find so many funny things that she says.
The book isn’t long. The print version shows it being 112 pages. I read half of it one day and the other half the next, so an extremely quick read. As of now, Amazon doesn’t show a true Kindle version of the book available to purchase, but the print version is.
It’s a simple and enjoyable story, especially if you have the iPhone or are into technology and get what Siri is all about.
The story line.
Basically, boy finds Siri. Boy falls for Siri. And who can blame him? The book is a modern-day, technology love story. More than that, the written parts of the book are quite small as it’s loaded with cartoons and those are excellent.
I enjoyed the dialogue and the characters. And, to be honest, as much as I liked the main character, as well as shutterbug Iris, the dog was a fine addition to the book. In fact, I might say he’s my favorite in the book.
The version of the book I have is a Kindle version, but it notes in the beginning it’s not the finished copy. Therefore, while some things were annoying (formatting, a few capitalization issues, style and paragraph numbers all over), I can’t truly count that against the book’s rating. After all, I knew what I was getting into when I got this copy. Still, in case others get a pre-release copy, this is a warning.
Outside of that, I can’t think of many things. There were a few little things and there were times I felt I was supposed to laugh, but didn’t. Almost like the humor was being forced. But the story helped get through those parts, so it’s not a big issue.
Though a decent read, I’m not sure how much I’d pay for it — maybe four or five bucks for a print version — as it’s something that’s a quick read. When I get books, I always look at the price compared to substance. Though this is a good story and was interesting reading, I was done with it in a couple of hours and I went somewhat slow with it. I think an e-version is smart — Kindle, iPad etc. — because if it’s priced right, say 99 cents, I can see where it could be an easy purchase.
That being said, it’s a quirky and fun book, which could make it easy to pick up and go through a second or third time and still find a few laughs. If you are into iPhones and Siri and laugh at things like this, I’d recommend the book.
I’d give it a 3.5/5, bumping it to a 4 here. ...more
I hadn’t heard of “One Shot at Forever: A Small Town, an Unlikely Coach, and a Magical Baseball Season” by ChrisI’m a sucker for a good baseball book.
I hadn’t heard of “One Shot at Forever: A Small Town, an Unlikely Coach, and a Magical Baseball Season” by Chris Ballard before stumbling across it on Amazon. The Kindle price was but $2.24 (it’s since gone up to $2.99, but still a very fair price), so I thought it would be a good way to start the 2013 reading campaign.
This is more of an historical baseball book as it goes back to remember a small-school baseball team based in Illinois. They have old uniforms and a unique coach who does things quite a bit differently. This coach — the English teacher at the school who has zero experience in coaching — leads his squad to the Illinois state final. This is back in a time when there were no divisions. Macon is still the smallest school to reach the state final.
The team took on the spirit of its coach — long hair, peace symbols on their hats and a carefree outlook that seemed balanced enough to win over a town.
Ballard is a senior writer at Sports Illustrated, so he tells a wonderful story from beginning to end, including catching up with many of these players in the present time.
This is a great story. If you like feel-good stories, especially in sports, this is a fine read. This shows that all in sports isn’t bad and it brings you back to a glory day when high school sports were serious, but at the same time, it wasn’t as crazy as it is today. Games were serious back then, but society today puts high school sports on a whole different level.
Ballard does a wonderful job of developing all the people in this story, which is tough, considering you have a full team, a coach, his eventual wife, school administration, members of the media and some parents. That’s a lot of people. For the most part, I was able to keep track of who is who throughout, though not always. It was really easy to cheer for certain people and, at the same time, have a bit of a dislike for others.
The book also helps the reader related to the team. Even those who grew up and live in large urban areas should be able to feel the emotion of this town and area and the support of the team. One think to keep in mind is this is the early 1970s, so a different time. Though everybody will be able to relate and see what this type of atmosphere was like, I know I got a bit more out of it because I grew up in a small town and understand the thought process and how people will live for the days of a great high school team to show pride in the town.
At times, it was tough when some of the players were being mentioned. Though the big ones were pretty easy to follow with, sometimes one of the more secondary players was mentioned and it would make me stop for a moment. I think that’s the tough part with a book like this because there are so many people who need to be in it. This isn’t fictional, so one can’t just eliminate some in situations. To tell the story, these players need to be in the story.
This is a tough “bad,” per say, but books like this need a few photos. When dealing with historical items like this, I know I like to see what people look like, or anything else to help my mind paint a picture of the town, the field, the players and all that. Ballard does a wonderful job of describing everything, but having a section in the book with images would have helped. (I've since been told there are photos in the print edition, but I didn't see them in my Kindle edition).
I truly enjoyed this book. I didn't take too long to read it as it moved quickly, kept my attention and made me want to keep going. And it really is an underdog story. If you are a sports fan and like something like Hoosiers, you’ll like this book. It’s the same sort of thing — the David vs. Goliath. I won’t give away the ending of this book, but it doesn't matter what the end result is. It’s well worth the read and I would encourage anybody who likes books about real life, sports, overcoming odds or the little guy to give it a go....more
I went into reading this book with no knowledge of the Pacific Crest Trail.
Let me re-phrase that -- I knew nothing about thru-hiking the PCT. I knew aI went into reading this book with no knowledge of the Pacific Crest Trail.
Let me re-phrase that -- I knew nothing about thru-hiking the PCT. I knew about the trail itself as I've been reading a lot on the Appalachian Trail, so the PCT, naturally, was also intriguing.
Also considering that I had already read Bill Walker's tale of his AT hike, this book was of interest to me.
Walker, a nearly 7-foot-tall hiker, has a unique and witty way of writing, so I was really interested to see his take on this trail on the West Coast of the country in his book -- Skywalker: Highs and Lows on the Pacific Crest Trail.
For those who don't know about the PCT, it's a trail that runs from the border of Mexico to Canada, going through California and other Western states. It's actually longer than the Appalachian Trail.
If any of you read Walker's AT book, this is worth a read, too. His style is the same and the stories keep you smiling throughout.
On a side note, Walker will also be one of a handful of people I have spoken with for a series of stories I'll be doing on long-distance hiking (more specifically the Appalachian Trail) here on the blog in a few weeks. Stay tuned for that.
Back to the book, Walker takes you through the trials and tribulations of the PCT. It's definitely not the AT, as he shows, and it's definitely not easy.
Now for my thoughts…
Walker's style is a fun way to read. He's witty, funny and entertaining. He captures your attention and really keeps you interested in the subject matter.
As with his first book, this one was a page-turner. I got through the book quickly, though not as quickly as his AT book. Walker does his best to paint a wonderful portrait of this trail and the people he meets. He also does a very good job in showing major differences between the two trails, which is especially beneficial for people who enjoy knowing about long-distance hiking. For example, there are no shelters on the PCT, as opposed to the many that dot the AT.
Further, he does a good job at making fun of himself. Though he does a good job at pointing out the misgivings of others on the trail (which is especially good because it shows the different personalities one meets on the trail), he's not afraid to bash himself and show his fears or mess ups. It's a good way to realize that Walker is essentially a normal Joe, just like you and I. What that really does is shows that doing something like this can be someone who works the 9-5 job and all that. Someone doesn't have to be super human to hike 2,000-plus miles.
I also like that Walker holds no punches. He tells it like he sees it. Whether it's a mistake that he made or someone he met on the trail being a total jerk, he gives the full feel of the trail and what one might encounter.
I'll also note to those of you who read on the Kindle, the book is extremely well-priced for it.
This book was a little more jumpy than his tales of the AT. There were times when I was left scratching my head in wonder about certain people. He meets a lot of people on the trail, so keeping them together was a little tough when he jumped around. In his AT book, things seemed to flow a little better and I, as a reader, felt more connected to the personalities that he presented.
I also read this in the Kindle version. So, as with many books I've found on Kindle, there are the occasional errors, which range from spelling to style. But that's bound to happen. Though it's a little frustrating to someone who watches for things like that (such as me), it's not a deal-breaker in regard to reading the book. I write this, however, to warn people of this as it might bother others. There were some misused words and some odd words used in situations. Though a couple times it made me let out a deep sigh, I still enjoyed the book.
As with Walker's Appalachian Trail book, he takes us through a memorable trip. From his personal safety and thoughts to the antics and craziness of people he meets on the trail, Walker does an excellent job at painting this wonderful trail that goes walks the one side of the country.
He's funny. He's serious. He has a colorful way of telling a story.
There's good stories and bad. There's interesting people and duds.
Basically, it has everything one needs to be a strong tale of something crazy and amazing. There are a lot of hiking books out there, but this one and Walker's AT book are two that I would highly encourage people to read.
If you have an interest in the outdoors or hiking, this is a book that will allow you to armchair a long-distance hike through someone's eyes. And that someone doesn't worry about ruffling feathers. He tells it like he sees it unfolds and that's a refreshing way to see this trail.
I think it's a solid read and well worth the time spent reading it. However, it wasn't as good as his first book on the AT. I thought his AT book was more crisp and flowed better. I was also laughing at that book a bit more and more intrigued by where he went. It could be the subject matter, too, as the AT seriously does seem more interesting than the PT. I look forward to more from Walker in the future....more
This book transcends just hiking on the Appalachian Trail.
It takes you through a journey of a young woman growing over her time on the trail. It showsThis book transcends just hiking on the Appalachian Trail.
It takes you through a journey of a young woman growing over her time on the trail. It shows different sides of her. Style. Belief. Growth. Fears. Hopes. The whole nine yards.
This isn't a normal play-by-play book about the Appalachian Trail.
The true different side to this is that this book is written by a woman who was hiking the trail alone. All of the other books I've read about the Appalachian Trail are written by men. So this book really gives one a different side of the story, so to speak.
Jennifer Pharr Davis brings a good writing style to the table and knows how to tell a story. She talks about encounters with nature, people, trail towns and more. She gives strong details about her thoughts and interactions with other people. Davis also gives you her beliefs and faiths, which to some might be a little too much, to be fair.
Still, in the end, it's a good tale of her trip in growth -- physically, mentally and spiritually. The book wasn't perfect -- as I'll share below -- but overall it was a solid read and quite enjoyable.
Now for my thoughts…
The big winner in this book is that it comes from the eyes of a different gender. Reality is, a woman hiking 2,200-plus miles solo on a trail with many men would open a lot of eyes. Especially a young female. Men routinely grow their beards and almost become "mountain men" while on this trails, so I'm sure that alone could give a young solo female hiker the chills.
Her fears seem to match many, but put yourself in the shoes of a young female hiker, making a trip like this on her own and detaching herself from what she really knows for the first time.
Her stories make you smile. They make you cringe. They make you wonder. She finds a wonderful way in weaving it all together to make sure things make sense and flow well.
She also wasn't afraid to show her flaws. In the book, she'll readily admit her hike was less than perfect. And for that, she's to be commended. She had an unorthodox way of competing her thru-hike, but I'll let you see if for yourself. She also shows the benefits of being a female on the trail (easy hitching into towns, for example), which is a different view from many AT books out there.
Though I have no issue with the reality of her beliefs, I do think we get a little too much about God in this book. As someone who doesn't often share his beliefs with people, I sometimes find having to hear about or read about other people's beliefs overbearing. Still, I didn't have an issue with it in the short-term. I just thought that she hit upon it a little too much. And she had no problem talking about how she'd share her thoughts and all with others. To me, that was a little too much at times as, in a few places, it seemed to disrupt the flow of things.
This isn't all bad, however. This helps her be more at free with how insecure she got at times. It helped her along the trail, thus turning it into a positive. I just have to mention these things as for some others, it might be a turnoff when reading. So be prepared.
Remember, too, that most books I read are on the Kindle. This one had several words that should have been capitalized and weren't; had a few silly grammatical issues and a couple of style issues. Being I didn't see the printed version, I'm not sure if this is just the one for the Kindle or both. I've seen other books that made it to Kindle that had these type of mistakes but didn't in the print edition.
Not too shabby. I really like the different vantage point for the book. It makes me happy to know that some people don't think of this trails as a way to prove manliness (to be fair, most of the AT books I've read are not like this, but some trail journals are). That this book comes from the perspective of a young female is excellent. It shows a different side of the trail. The female side. The side of someone who can't walk two feet off the trail and relieve themselves next to a tree. It's a good look at how hard of a trail this is for many people, especially females.
On a side note, Odyssa returned to the AT this year and set the record for the fastest thru-hike, male or female. She completed the trail in 46-plus days. Amazing. She even had a day where she hiked 60 miles. SIXTY miles! Wow.
It was a quick read and I found myself getting through it easily. Her style is good, her stories are engaging and she has a colorful way of telling her tale. Highly recommended, especially if you are a fan of the Appalachian Trail or hiking in general....more