Dipping a toe into e-books

kelly-yoyoKelly bought herself a Kindle not long ago, and one of the first things I learned as a result is that a Kindle account comes with the assumption that you may have more than one e-reader in the house. If one or two of those happen to be, say, an iTouch, there are unexpected benefits. For example, once I’d downloaded the Kindle ap, either of us could buy a book and then we could both read it at the same time.

I’d have thought reading on the iTouch screen wouldn’t be all that appealing, but I gave it a try, and absolutely ripped through the latest Connie Willis book. Was it the novelty, or do I really like reading this way? I’ve bought a history book, Bloody Crimes, to put it to the test. So far, I’m halfway through.

It is also nifty knowing that, what with the Kindle version of Indigo Springs being out, I can essentially carry a copy of my book with me everywhere I go.

On a completely different and more toobalicious note, my Quantum Leap rewatch of “Catch a Falling Star” went up on Tor.com last week.

Nesting, reading, Leaping around at TOR

My review of Marie Brennan’s A Star Shall Fall is up at Tor.com; Marie, you might remember, also did a Journey interview here a while back.

In related news, my Quantum Leap rewatch on “Another Mother” is also up at Tor.com.

The past couple of days it has been pouring rain in torrents, very chilly and dark, the kind of rain where you might as well be swimming, and so I sensibly spent most of yesterday indoors, working either at my desk or reading by the fire.

Whole cobwebs

This hibernation weather that tends to trigger nesting urges, so on the weekend I bought a new set of very soft cotton sheets and a microfleece blanket.

Flickering heights of television

I had a good clamber over the new habitat island in False Creek last Wednesday, and caught all kinds of birds including this northern flicker, who was cleaning itself and soaking up the sunlight:

False Creek Birds

I am also flickering across the horizon at Benbella Books, guest blogging about last week’s Glee episode “Duets”. This is something of a tie-in to my essay “Who’s the Real Lima Loser? The Curious Friendship of Finn Hudson and Noah Puckerman“, which will be out in their unofficial Glee companion, FILLED WITH GLEE in November. And over at Tor.com, my third Quantum Leap rewatch, “The Color of Truth,” is live.

Another delight of the week gone by: Kelly read me The Uncommon Reader, by Alan Bennett, the other evening. She is a fantastically expressive reader, and the novella itself is laugh out loud funny, so it was a thoroughly wonderful experience. The book is about making time for pleasure, about giving yourself a chance to grow, and ultimately about giving yourself permission to write… even in the face of considerable opposition.

The Uncommon Reader also reminded me that a couple months ago I saw a cluster of blog posts written by committed bibliophiles who were expressing frustration with the frequently-heard comment, “I never find time to read.” This observation seems, to them, to imply that reading (novels, especially) is a frivolous, even sinfully self-indulgent pursuit as opposed to one that is mind-expanding and worthwhile. This novella makes the counter-argument to that foolish idea very eloquently. I cannot recommend it enough.

Adventures in podpeeping…

Vancouver currently smells of horseshit, leading me to suspect that this is the time of year when a savvy gardener’s thoughts turn to fertilizer.

Me, I am going after a different kind of enrichment… the always lovely brain on legs known as Linda Carson has turned me on to TED talks and I have been inhaling one, chosen more or less at random, every day.

Like the millions of viewers who have already figured out that these vids are pure gold, I’ve found that twenty minutes a day is an awfully cheap price to pay to get one’s mind stretched. It’s always been one of my more cherished beliefs that any topic is interesting if the speaker is both knowledgeable and passionate. TED pretty much proves me right. They cover a wide range of subjects, ranging from politics and science to art and design. The speakers are at the top of their various fields, and many of them are supremely entertaining. There have been lightning calculators, Mentalist-style maestros of misdirection, and yesterday I watched Chris Anderson explain crowd accelerated innovation. Here’s the trailer Linda used to hook me, featuring snippets from ten of their most downloaded talks:

The practice of watching these has somehow led me back to loading up CBC podcasts, a habit I’d dropped, so I am also happily mushing my way through a backlog of Vinyl Cafe stories and expect to inhale some as-yet uncracked Quirks and Quarks. These are audio, better suited to a hike or my various commutes.

The delivery system for all this material is my teeny-tiny iTouch. Kelly has written a Favorite Thing Ever luv pome about hers, so I won’t rhapsodize. I’ll just say, it is both handy and dandy. In addition to the podcasts, I’ve added one other app to the mix, recently: I loaded up iBooks. (Hey, they offered me a free illustrated copy of Winnie the Pooh … who was I to say no?)

I would’ve expected the teeny tiny iTouch screen to be a barrier to my first foray into proper ebook reading. I read a friend’s novel on my gadget, using a PDF file, and there were teeny-text challenges. No surprise–the screen is, what? Two by three inches? But the iBook interface has a bookshelf, which I find charming, and its files are far more readable than that self-loaded PDF. And I have never actually read Winnie The Pooh, believe it or not. So far, the virtual book does seem surprisingly me-friendly, and may even turn me into a bus reader.

But if it did, when would I write blog posts?

In the meantime, Thursday’s verbiage: 923 words, for a total of 10747.