Archive | August, 2010

Library, you have let me down! No e-Reader for me!

24 Aug

This is how I feel right now:

You won’t like me when I get angry

You may have seen my post on my choice of e-Book reader (the Barnes and Noble nook).  After my husband read my post, he thought that the nook would make a great birthday present for me and since I’m doing all of my airplane traveling this year before my birthday, I should just order it now.  Yay! I went to my library’s website to check out some e-Books so I could start reading immediately once I got my new nook.   My process is always to borrow first, then buy the book if it’s worthy of being added to my long-term library.  I planned to use my nook for my ‘first reads’ and borrow them from my library.  When I went to my library’s site, however, I was astonished to find that none (okay, 1) of the books I’m reading or about to start have an e-Book format I can borrow: 

  1. The Passage- EPUB available
  2. The Handmaid’s Tale – No Library
  3. The Shallows – No library
  4. The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox- No library
  5. Packing for Mars – No library

So I looked up the last 5 books I’ve read and the statistics were even worse:

  1. Last Night at Chateau Marmont – No library
  2. The Great Stink – No library
  3. Catching Fire – No library
  4. Never Let Me Go – No library
  5. Heart of the Matter – No library

I want an e-Book Reader so badly, but I cannot justify purchasing it if I cannot use my library as I do today.  I read at least a book a week.  At $10.00 a pop, that would be at least $520.00/year on books with none of it used to expanding my physical library at all – every book I have would be digital! 

This stinks!!!

And also, I am wondering why the library is so limited its collection.  Will this change?  I certainly hope so. 

Stinky! Stinky!  <Stomping Feet>

Happy Mockingjay Day!

24 Aug

For those of you who may not be following this trilogy, today is the release of the final book of the Hunger Games series.  It’s a big day for booksellers everywhere!  Author Suzanne Collins read from her new book at some huge midnight release party in New York City and a day of crazy Mockingjayness has continued since.  It is the number one selling book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble online. 

My book has been shipped and will be arriving later this week (as if I don’t have enough to read).  I hope I’m not disappointed! 

 PS – Speaking of Barnes & Noble, the reported a first-quarter loss yesterday, which was primarily as a result of legal issues they’ve had with one of their primary shareholders.  This is not surprising since their CEO has already declared them ‘for sale’.

Book Review: Last Night At Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisberger

23 Aug

Abandoned on page 135…

C’mon people, I just want to finish a book!  This book became available for me at the library late last week, and even though I have 3 books I’m already in the middle of and one I need to start, I added this one to the mix because I was absolutely in the mood for something light and fun. 

I firmly believe that I am a NYC girl trapped in a midwestern girl’s body.  I love the pace, diversity and culture that makes New York City so precious and if my life’s circumstances were anything but what they are, I’m sure NYC would be a perfect place for me to call home. I, therefore, thoroughly enjoy the ‘chick lit’ NYC fiction that Candace Bushnell made so popular with Sex and the City and it’s just what I needed to break up the heaviness of the other books on my plate.  While Bushnell is obviously one of the best of her kind, I think Lauren Weisberger is a close second.  She has 3 other books, The Devil Wears PradaEveryone Worth Knowing and Chasing Harry Winston.  I’ve read all three and while they didn’t change my life, they were well written and very entertaining.  So that’s what I was expecting from Weisberger’s latest novel.  But I got none of that.  All I got was BORED! 

I knew reading the book jacket that the story was going to be predictable.  But predictable doesn’t always mean bad, or even boring.  Interesting characters with a unique perspective on life along with a well-paced book can make a wrung-out plot compelling.  And because Weisberger has a history of being a good author, I had higher hopes for this book even given the plot.  But the characters are completely lame – I didn’t like Brook and didn’t really feel bad when (here’s the predictable part) her husband doesn’t deal with the enticements of super stardom as maturely as she wants him to.  And he’s not that great of a catch to begin with – they show that he can’t stand up to his parents he just lets them insult him repeatedly.  When he doesn’t see what he’s doing to her and how he’s alienating her (also predictable) – I wasn’t all that surprised nor did I care that much.  The book also seemed to need a bit more editing – like it wasn’t quite polished enough. 

I might be getting slightly oversaturated with novels and plots and my expectations might be getting a little steep -I suppose it makes sense that if I read 1-2 books a week, I would develop a need for something new and fresh to keep me entertained.  I wonder, though, if my feelings and the feelings of a more casual (read: less obessive reader)  might like this book more than I did.  Glancing at the reviews on Amazon, it certainly appears that someone is liking this book – it’s getting a lot of 4 and 5 stars.  So while this is my review and I thought the book stunk, I am willing to believe that maybe I’m starting to be a pretty harsh critic.

My e-Book Reader Choice

20 Aug

I want an e-Book reader.  I love technology and I love reading and therefore I want one.   Unfortunately, until recently, I didn’t think an e-Book reader had any place in my ‘book system’, which was really disappointing.  Here is my system for reading and building my library.  Typically, I borrow a book from either the library or a friend first.  If I like it and it’s passed the ‘test’, I look to purchase the book for my permanent library.  Therefore, books I own are only those that I would recommend and lend to someone, will want to read again myself, or hope to pass onto my children someday.   

So I really didn’t see how owning an e-Reader and reading digital formats of books would fit into this system.  Once I dug a little deeper and understood the nuances of this new technology though, I think I’ve figured it out.  But first, here’s an overview of e-Books and Readers.  If you know nothing about this technology, this will explain it!

e-Book and Reader Overview

An e-Book is an electronic book.  It is basically a computer file (the way a Microsoft Word document is also a computer file) that contains the entire contents of a book in text. 

While a Microsoft Word document comes in only one type of file format (a file that ends with .doc), e-Books come in various formats.  There are really a ton of them, but we don’t need to worry about every one – here are the ones relevant to this discussion: 

  • Kindle (.azw)
  • EPUB (.epub)
  • eReader (. pdb)

If you had one of these files stored on your regular computer and you tried to open it, your computer wouldn’t be able to read it because it’s in a format your computer doesn’t recognize.  To read an e-Book file, you need a special device that does recognize one of these file formats, which is why you need an e-Book reader, or digital Reader.

An e-Book reader is a device that allows you to read an e-Book file like those mentioned above.  As with the file types, there are many e-Book readers in the market.  But there are really only a few popular enough to mention: 

  • Amazon Kindle
  • Sony Reader Daily
  • Barnes and Noble nook
  • Borders Kobo
  • Apple iPad

There are many differences between each of course, but now, note the biggest difference between the devices:  each device only reads some e-Book file formats.  Here’s how they match up: 

  Amazon Kindle Sony Reader Daily Borders Kobo B&N nook Apple iPad
Kindle (.azw)  X        
ePub (.epub)    X  X  X  X
eReader (.pdb)    X  X  X  X

Note: They can all suppot and Adobe pdf format, which is why I didn’t even mention it above. 

You can see that there is no reader that supports all the formats out there.  You can also see that the Amazon Kindle does not use a format that any other e-Book reader can support and vice-versa. 

So if you have one of these devices, you download files in the right format to it and use the device to read your book.  You can do this right from the device itself, or you can go somewhere on the web and send the e-Book file to your device. 

Which one should I choose?

As I mentioned, there are many differences between the readers – size, weight, content delivery methods, etc.  But for me, my choice came down to a process of elimination.  Here’s a summary:

 I don’t want the…Kindle because it doesn’t read the EPUB format.  EPUB is what the other readers support, what is close to becoming an industry standard and most importantly of all it’s what my library lends. 

 I don’t want the…iPad because it doesn’t have the best screen for reading books.  An eInk screen is what you want for reading book content which the nook, Kindle, Kobo, and Reader all have.  The iPad also has a significantly shorter battery life and you are limited to using the iBook store (which needs some work).

 I don’t want the…Kobo because it is basic for my tastes.  It lack many of the features that are standard on most of other readers – no web browser; no audio, and it doesn’t play music, and has no built in dictionary. 

 I don’t want the…Sony Reader Daily because it is 250.00!  It is a close competitor with the nook, but the nook is only 190.00.  Sorry Charlie!

Therefore, I choose the Barnes & Noble nook. It has all of the major features (web browser, WiFi, audio, built-in dictionary) I’m looking for and most importantly it reads a format that my library lends.  And THAT is how an e-Reader fits into my system!  I can use it to borrow books for my first reads, the same as I do today.  Hooray! 

In addition to that, I chose the nook because it’s tied to an actual brick-and-mortar bookstore, which gives me some additional capabilities when in Barnes and Noble bookstores.  Also, this is the only e-Reader that has a lending feature as well (you can share your e-Book files with another person).  And it’s reasonably priced for me.

Wait, wait…as I’m writing this, I’ve just been informed that starting in December, CVS will be selling e-Book reader as well.  Hmmm….

Top 10 Highest Paid Authors

20 Aug

According to Forbes.com, here are the top 10 most highly paid authors from June 2009 – June 2010. 

  1. James Patterson
  2. Stephanie Meyer
  3. Stephen King
  4. Danielle Steel
  5. Ken Follett
  6. Dean Koontz
  7. Janet Evanovich
  8. John Grisham
  9. Nicholas Sparks
  10. J.K. Rowling

I am only surprised by one name on this list, Ken Follett. Granted it’s a nice surprise since his book, The Pillars of the Earth is one of my Top 5 favorite books of all time and I adore Follett.  He’s a very accomplished author, but he hasn’t written a novel since 2007 (World Without End) which is why I’m surprised to see him on this list.  There is currently a Pillars of the Earth miniseries going on the Starz network, which may have boosted his book sales.  He has his next novel, Fall of Giants, being pre-ordered too and coming out this September, which I am completely excited for too.  It is the first book of a trilogy (I love trilogies)!  So I guess those 2 things for him this year are what has made him so highly paid.

J.K. Rowlings has also not had a book release for some time – Tales of Beetle the Bard was released in 2008, but obviously this one didn’t surprise me one bit. 

Read the entire Forbes article here.

Lisbeth Salander Chosen

17 Aug

The character of Lisbeth Salander in the American remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson has been cast.  And she’s pretty much unknown.  Her name is Rooney Mara and until now she’s been in a few episodes of Law & Order, the remake of Nightmare on Elm Street, a movie called Youth in Revolt and that’s about it.  I think her being obscure adds to the excitement of this movie coming out!  If you haven’t read this trilogy yet, now is a perfect time. If you know me personally and want to borrow these books, let me know!

This is Neville?

17 Aug

Holy Cow – this is Matt Lewis, who plays Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter movies.

He looks completely different (hot)!  I made this picture huge so you can see that it’s really him!