the sweet in-between

DSC00172Some of you may remember that on my first try with the Kindle, when I was reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night, it did not go well, and I switched to the physical book itself. My second try, using the Kindle to read Infinite Jest while I was traveling, went great. I wondered if it was because I’d already held the real book in my hands.

I think it was more a matter of my getting used to the Kindle. A couple of weeks ago, right before Sheri Reynolds‘ most recent novel, The Sweet In-Between, came out in paperback, I wanted to read it. Right that second. Aha. Kindle. I was reading it in about three minutes.

And I totally loved it–even reading it on the Kindle–and was not ready for it to end when it did.

Now to write a post on it without having the actual book. You can see the first problem in the upper right-hand corner.

The second problem was no underlining. BUT the Kindle has a feature called clippings, and I was able to easily pull up all the passages I had marked. So here we go…


borrowed a friend's book for this picture

The Sweet In-Between is written in the first person and narrated by 17-year-old Kendra, who goes by Kenny and who is in the middle of an identity crisis. Her sort-of step-brother’s girlfriend, Sneaky, describes her as follows:

“I mean you’re like a boy in all the good ways, and you’re kind of like a girl in all the good ways too.”

She describes herself here: “I feel funny, like I might not be who I always thought…”

Kenny is an endearing character, one, as Linda mentioned in the comments to the previous post, you want to fight for.

“Here’s the thing: There are holes that never go away, holes that never fill back up no matter what.”

If you’d like to read a book where the voice of the narrator comes shining through, this is the book for you. Here are a few examples:

“I love cutting grass. You can see exactly where you’ve been and where you need to go next. You can’t really hurry. You just move steady, one step at a time, and with that lawn mower handle vibrating in your hands, you know you’re alive.”

“It’s dark out, the moon still hanging around, a good time of day, before everybody wakes up and ruins it.”

“Even though I don’t have a camera to practice with, I like the idea of framing a thing for the world, picking a moment out of all the other moments, and click–there it is. (Or there it will be.)”

Nothing will ever replace real live books for me, but I’m happy to have the Kindle as a part of my library.

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18 thoughts on “the sweet in-between

  1. Your experience exactly mirrors my own. The more I use my Kindle, the more I LIKE using it. I even find myself using the Kindle app on my iPhone when I’m caught without my Kindle, which I never thought I’d do because of the small screen size. I also find myself listening to audio books more and more on my iPhone, and if I miss something on the audio book, I then switch over and read what I missed on my Kindle app. How cool is that?


  2. This Book is on my to read list – thank you for the wonderful quotes. It will be interesting to have the interview from her in my mind when reading. Her day felt like a dreamy vacation to me. I’ll be reading mine on paper 🙂


  3. Thanks for the book preview!

    I can’t imagine reading without being able to write all over my books . . . even if my markings are unintelligible to anyone else . . . even if my constant tight grip on a pencil gives me carpal tunnel.

    Still, I’m curious about kindle. You’ll bring it to Christmas, I hope?


  4. I have been wondering how one would review a book on a Kindle. Thanks for the demo. As for cover images, you can get them by Google imaging the title or visiting the author or publisher sites. Publicists want book bloggers to use them. Good review: I can see the character in these snippets.

    I’ll probably remain Kindle-less until digi-ARCs are widely available. S&S has ones now but won’t work on Kindle or Mac Snow Leopard. I also love my local independent bookstore too much to cheat on it. And books. I just love the physicality of a book. Tempting for travel though….

    I love the accidental leaf composition above.


  5. Kimberly-I agree with you about the Kindle app on the iphone. It’s surprisingly easy to read on that small screen and to turn the pages. And I love the fact that it syncs with the Kindle automatically.


  6. Jennifer, Sheri’s day also felt dreamy to me–perhaps it was the absence of children crashing about : )

    Come to think of it, though, my memory is that her main characters all have a dreamy quality too. [caveat: read the first 3 novels ten years ago] She definitely knows how to let a character’s personality paint the story. I have liked each one of her books. A Gracious Plenty may be my favorite.


  7. Hi Annie-yes, it is disconcerting not to have a pencil or pen in my hand, but you can underline with the Clippings feature and then pull up all your underlinings at one time, which is nice. I wish I could figure out how to print a copy, though.

    The other nice Kindle feature is that it has a “find” or “search” feature. When I was writing the Infinite Jest series of posts, I was using my real book, but I was unable to find a certain passage. I remembered I also had the book on my Kindle and was able to pull up the passage in a matter of seconds.

    And yes, I’ll bring it to Atlanta for Christmas.


  8. It’s funny, Sarah. I’m behind with responding to comments, but this morning made a new resolution to try to answer them more promptly. That’s why I responded to your comment to today’s post and then found this one. : )

    As far as the images, I’m glad to know that. Before I switched to a mac, I was able to copy the images but always wondered if I was violating a copyright law. I had trouble the one time I tried it since I got my new computer but will try again.

    I agree with you about the physicality of a book. I would always like to have the real book, and use the Kindle in addition for convenience.


  9. I can’t wait to read this book so I’m ordering it for my Kindle today.
    I love books, didn’t want the Kindle. Someone smarter and tired of helping me lug suitcases of books on trips gave it to me as a gift. I couldn’t be without it now. Traveling, exercising, just having it with me in case of dangerously long lines is a treat.

    Thanks for the book suggestion!


  10. Christian, nice to hear from you again. The book is wonderful. I just wish it had gone on a little longer so we could have seen just a little deeper into Kenny. Whenever you get around to reading it, I’d love to know what you think.


  11. Cynthia, What a great post. I just wrote a post on my new Kindle, and WordPress referred me to yours! I see you faced and surmounted many of the same issues I am facing. But I don’t think there’s any way that it can come close to fulfilling my practice with physical books of immediately dog-earing pages at section breaks. That’s become very important to me! I want to know right away how a writer structured her book, see and feel the breaks. With the Kindle, I feel like I am flying blind through the structure of Franzen’s Freedom right now, which I am otherwise enjoying, and cannot imagine having read something as structurally complex as The Wake of Forgiveness on the Kindle and been able to grasp (eventually) the book’s three time periods.


  12. Richard, how crazy but cool that wordpress put us together! I agree that it’s difficult to get a feel for the structure of a book when reading on a Kindle. It’s interesting that as readers, we’ve gotten used to the feel of where we are in a book in relation to the beginning and especially to the end. Theoretically, I guess that shouldn’t matter. Thanks for leaving me a note that you were here and sorry to be so late in responding. Seems as if that apology is a part of every sentence I speak or write at the moment. I’m coming right over to read your post.


  13. Thanks, Cynthia. I am surprised and pleased by how, as a reader, the experience on my Kindle is the same as with a book. As a writer, I crave knowing the writer’s structural decisions and cues, and only physical books seem to give me that. I think I will just test drive more books on the Kindle, and if I am wowed I will buy the physical book, as I just did with Franzen’s Freedom.


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