What Are You Reading?Winter 2010
Posted 25 May 2010 - 09:53 PM
Posted 27 May 2010 - 09:07 AM
This is what i just read, but not the books I've been reading. I wouldn't, obviously, put an article here that I'd been reading had it not so much pertinence to book reading. This is a stunning piece, and catches you up on iPads, eBooks and iBooks, Americans' reading habits, different kinds of bookreaders like Kindle, Nook and iPad, and most here are probably not ready to take that plunge (i'm not). Interesting things like a statistic about Americans reading no more than a book a year, I forget exactly whether that was perfectly accurate, but Steve Jobs had gotten Americans' reading habits all wrong, they're much more avid, and now, as of early 2010, there are all these eBook readers with various apps, and they're working to make them more attractive and salable. Some are even helping net-surfers getting some of their concentration back, and I believe I saw something about how there might even be a paradoxical result in print sales.
Unless you're really into this (I'm not, but like to know about it), there are a few big nerdy chunks comparing the different readers, but these are relatively few. Some of the eBooks and iBooks are free, some are for pay, this includes Amazon's reader. There's discussion of magazines making their way into subscriptions, although in some form this is already around. The article is more about the huge surge in eBook reading. I would have said as recently as a few years ago that I wouldn't ever go for it, and I did start reading a lot of novels again recently (all traditional book format, no screen) and doing more longhand writing (I never keep a journal on the computer, and not because of privacy issues, I just don't like it), but I did stop picking up the Village Voice, even though it's free, but I think that may be just because the paper has really declined in quality, so I really don't read it online either. The Times and other big newspapers I haven't bought print copies of for years, though, and I don't mind it at all, in fact, like the absence of papers to throw out, and certainly like that it's free. Books are still different to me, though.
Hope some others will have time to read this, as the book-reading habits of many are being radically revolutioonized--including readers of 'Pride and Prejudice' and Shakespears Sonnets.
Posted 18 November 2010 - 09:47 PM
This is a stunning piece, and catches you up on iPads, eBooks and iBooks, Americans' reading habits, different kinds of bookreaders like Kindle, Nook and iPad, and most here are probably not ready to take that plunge (i'm not).
The article is more about the huge surge in eBook reading. I would have said as recently as a few years ago that I wouldn't ever go for it, and I did start reading a lot of novels again recently (all traditional book format, no screen) and doing more longhand writing (I never keep a journal on the computer, and not because of privacy issues, I just don't like it), but I did stop picking up the Village Voice, even though it's free, but I think that may be just because the paper has really declined in quality, so I really don't read it online either. The Times and other big newspapers I haven't bought print copies of for years, though, and I don't mind it at all, in fact, like the absence of papers to throw out, and certainly like that it's free.
I have the latest-generation Kindle (the $139 one) and I love it for what it's good at: reading plain text--particularly fiction and narrative non-fiction--straight through from start to finish. Its smallish screen and e-ink technology are not well-suited to graphics-heavy documents; navigating around a reference work would likely be punishing; and format-dependent text (e.g., certain kinds of poetry) don't play well with its scalable fonts. If you're into exquisite typography, this is not the device for you. If you want to surf the web, update your Facebook page, or watch videos, this is most definitely not the device for you. But if you principally want to read novels, short stories, and narrative non-fiction on an easy-on-the-eyes and battery-life friendly e-ink screen, it's got a lot to offer.
You can get just about any classic text that's in the public domain for free, or for a very modest charge if you'd like a few bells and whistles -- e.g., an "active" table of contents or some ebook-friendly formatting.(If you want a scholarly edition of a classic text, however, or the latest translation, you'll have to pay more.) I ponied up $0.99 for the complete works of Jane Austen, including the old (b&w) illustrations by Hugh Thomson and Charles Brock. Since the Project Gutenberg version of Harold Frederic's The Damnation of Theron Ware seemed reasonably well-formatted, however, I simply loaded that one on for free. I confess: I mostly got the Kindle to read the classics on the cheap. Yes, I know, the NYPL lends books for free, but I'm still enough of grad-school geek to want to drag the entire canon from Beowulf to Virginia Wolff along with me wherever I go.
You can download free samples (usually the first chapter and sometimes more) of just about any book available in Kindle format to get a sense of whether you'd like it or not.
You can also email your own text or PDF files to Amazon for free conversion into the Kindle mobi format and then load them up onto your device. (The turn-around time is nearly instantaneous.) Now, instead of printing out hard copies of articles or whatever from the web and lugging them around in a big sheaf, I simply copy and paste them into a Word document, ship them off to Amazon, and read them on my Kindle.
The Kindle comes with two built-in dictionaries; if you float the cursor over a word, its definition automatically pops up at the bottom of the page. You can search for a word in the text, in the dictionary, or, if you have the wifi on, in Wikipedia (reasonably formatted for the device).
I haven't downloaded any newspapers or periodicals on to it yet, though I suspect I'll try that soon enough. Like you, Patrick, I'm more than happy to abandon paper in certain circumstances. I find broadsheet newspapers like the NYT or the WSJ a real pain to read even when I'm just sitting at the breakfast table. Once we're a couple of generations along in tablet devices, I suspect that's how I'll read the newspaper.
One thing I really don't like is the fact that you can't read books published in ePub format directly on the Kindle. Non-DRM protected ePub files can easily be converted to the Amazon-owned Mobi format, but DRM protected files can't be. Since most libraries only lend out ebooks in ePub format, this is a real drawback.
Posted 03 December 2010 - 10:17 AM
Posted 26 December 2010 - 05:36 PM
*The Kingdom on the Waves by M. T. Anderson
*Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston
*Errol & Olivia: Ego & Obsession in Golden Era Hollywood by Robert Matzen
*Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
*Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
*Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie
*From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg
*Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
*The Door in the Hedge by Robin McKinley
*Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones
*Why Shoot a Butler? by Georgette Heyer
*They Found Him Dead by Georgette Heyer
Posted 26 December 2010 - 06:01 PM
Right now I am reading (on the nook) Louise Erdrich's book The Master Butcher's Singing Club. I love her writing.
Posted 26 December 2010 - 08:22 PM
Posted 08 January 2011 - 09:37 PM
Posted 23 January 2011 - 11:29 AM
*Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
I am currently reading The Enchanted Screen: The Unknown History of Fairy-Tale Films by Jack Zipes. So far it is proving to be a very fascinating read.
Posted 24 January 2011 - 06:51 AM
Posted 24 January 2011 - 07:52 AM
The book was published to coincide with the Victoria and Albert Diaghilev exhibition of the same name (Sept. 2010 - Jan. 2011). It's wonderful, with multiple essays by different authors, covering Diaghilev and his circle, the Company's path over the years, and the contribution of composers, designers, costumiers, patrons, collectors, production workers, etc. Jane Pritchard's own contributions are especially good. Sjeng Scheijen's chapter on "Diaghilev the Man" is actually better written and more interesting than his own full-length biography, published in 2009. The illustrations, especially of costumes (as sketches and in finished form) are beautiful.
The Cleopatra book is on order from the library In the meantime: Eric Hazan's The Invention of Paris. The concept is great, but the maps and illustrations leave much to be desired. His publisher -- Verso -- obviously spent a lot less time and money on that than did the V&A.
Posted 08 May 2011 - 02:23 PM
*Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan by Del Quentin Wilber
*We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch
*Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
*The Heroine's Bookshelf: Life Lessons, from Jane Austen to Laura Ingalls Wilder by Erin Blakemore
*One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
*Bellfield Hall by Anna Dean
*The Robber Bridegroom by Eudora Welty
Posted 09 May 2011 - 02:39 PM
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