Sunday, November 27, 2011

Let's Look At: Kindle Touch

Inspired by a suggestion by my dear friend Sorshanik (and her review) I am here to review my own experiences with the Kindle Touch.  So let's look at the Kindle Touch, and get my thoughts on it.  Some of this I actually touched on a bit in my last post, but lets get to it.

First off, when I opened the box I wasn't at home.  My aunt doesn't have internet--at all!  It's odd, and a little refreshing being somewhere where there are no computers, etc, but I digress--so all I could really do was play around with the Oxford English Dictionary that was already installed.  I was thrilled to have a copy of the OED!  One of the most amazing books I have ever read was The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary, so I was excited to have access to the OED!

While the dictionary is a great feature, I wanted to get home so I could download the books!  The downloading speed was amazing.  I was frightened at the prospect of having to download all of the 80-something free books I decided on when I learned that my Kindle was coming.  However, when I turned it on and synced it, the downloading process was fast and pretty smooth.  I think I said it took a half hour or so.  It may have, or it may have just been me being too excited to wait.

The touch-screen interface is incredibly simple to use.  The on-screen keyboard is nice, and responsive.  You can drag your finger upward or downward to scroll through the  pages on the home screen.  For turning pages within one of the books, a tap anywhere beyond a quarter of the screen on the left side (imagine the screen divided into four vertical strips) advances the book by a page.  A tap in that left-hand quarter of the screen reverses the book by a page.  If you tap the top right corner, the page dog-ears (which I NEVER do in a real book).  A tap at the very top of the screen brings up the menu, if you need help. 

You can also put your finger on a word you might not know, and hold it there.  This will bring up the Oxford English Dictionary's definition!  Or you can just drag your finger over a passage to highlight it--you can share it with Facebook and Twitter, too!  I find this very interesting, but have yet to use it.  I imagine, if I left Wi-Fi on (which I do not, to conserve battery life) I would be sharing passages left and right. 

As for battery life, the Kindle Touch arrived with about half power.  The downloading process drained it a bit, but I did have quite a few books to download.  It's still, more or less, on that same half charge that it had when I opened it up.  It doesn't seem to be draining at all.  I know the battery-life (with Wi-Fi off) is two months.  I am going to see how long it takes for this to get low enough to where I have to charge it!

I know I have mentioned everything but how it is to read it.  Well, honestly, it's just like looking at a page in a book.  The plus side to the Kindle (and the touch, in this case) is not having to turn pages/lose your place in a book.  You can hold it with one hand and read without issue.  It's incredibly light, and some hardcover books (I am looking at you A Song of Ice and Fire) are damned heavy.  All-in-all I am incredibly pleased with it!

I keep saying it in reference to my Kindle Touch.  It is most decidedly a he.  And he has a name now.  I know it's strange to name one's electronics, but I don't think it's any different than someone naming a car.  I don't have names for all my electronics, though.  My TV doesn't have a name...  Nor does my DVD player.  I named my Nintendo DSi (his name is Sir Basil Ravensdale III and he has a grey mustache!), and I have named my Kindle.  The Kindle's name is Fitzwilliam, after Mr.Darcy from Pride and Prejudice.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Kindle Touch Has Landed, Also Alice is One Odd Girl!!

As I mentioned in my last post, I was waiting for my Kindle Touch to arrive,  Well it finally did at about 6:30 PM.  UPS must have had a busy day!  At any rate, it came.  When it did, I was thrilled.  I met the UPS man at the truck (mostly because I was waiting around to go somewhere when he was on my street) and got it from him. 

I did as as I said I was going to do, I convinced my mom that she should give it to me as an early graduation/birthday present.  I took it (back) home with me to download the 86 (!!!) free books I ordered from Amazon.  It didn't take as long as I thought it was going to; about a half an hour or so.

What took me the most time was deciding how to sort them.  Since I had some young adult (or what I considered young adult--L. Frank Baum, Lewis Carroll, etc.) I knew I needed a folder for that.  Otherwise, my folders are split up by author's country of birth (English Lit, etc).  With the special case of Jane Austen and Emily Bronte, they are in the Victorian Literature folder.

The book I decided to start reading, after I had everything sorted, was Alice's Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.  I had never had the chance to read this before, which is probably shocking.  I just never managed to get a copy at the library, etc. 

Anyway, I must say one thing: Alice is all sorts of effed up!  She isn't really phased as she's falling through the rabbit hole (to what could be her ultimate doom), but finds herself crying when she realizes she grew too large to fit through the door.  I think the poor girl has a chemical imbalance, and mild schizophrenia.  Otherwise, it's a great read!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Reading in the Digital Age

For a long time I was someone who pooh-poohed the idea of an e-reader.  I will always enjoy the tactile experience of holding an actual paper and cardboard construction.  There are other things that come along with reading a book (over an e-reader), like the smell of it.  Especially an older book that has that thrilling smell that I liken to the smell of an amazing adventure that awaits within.  (Yes, I know that that smell can mean bad things for the book, but I still enjoy it.)

It was hard to sell me on the idea of reading books in a digital reader.  I thought about all those negative things, like screen glare, etc.  That is, until my mother (who is an avid reader herself--albeit one who doesn't like the smell of an old book) got a Kindle last Christmas.  I refused to look at it; to be drawn into its charms (which according to my mom and my sister, it had). 

One day, however, curiosity got the better of me and I gave it the once over.  No glare.  Light weight.  Could look up words you might not know.  I started to win me over little by little.  I still couldn't get on board with owning one, even though I talked to some friends who really were enjoying theirs.  I asked all the questions one asks about how it works, and how much people enjoyed theirs.

I was sold after looking at  (The price drop didn't hurt, either).  I asked my mother to buy me one for Christmas.  She gave me the money to order it--I ordered the Kindle Touch--so it would be linked to my Amazon account.  I placed the order, and received conformation of shipping just the other day. 

When I received the e-mail that it had shipped, I got very excited.  I went to look for free books offered by Amazon, and wound up downloading 86 titles.  They are mostly classics that I have never read, or have never gotten around to buying a hard copy of.  I'll admit I might have gone a bit crazy with the downloading.

So here it is, November 23rd, and I am expecting it to be delivered to me today.  Granted, I cannot open it, or have anything to do with it until Christmas.  That bugs the crap out of me, because I want to look at it, and play with it a little.  Instead it will be sitting there in its unopened box, taunting me.  That is, unless I can convince my mother to give it to me as an early graduation/birthday gift (both of which take place next month--the 16th and 19th, respectively).  I might just try that, and have her pick me up something else for Christmas! 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My Life's Soundtrack

My dear ginger friend Sorshanik showed me this, and I have to do it!!  I know this isn't about reading, but it's cool!  I loves me some music, if you do just set your mp3 player (mine's a Sansa--I HATE Sansa Stark--Clip) to shuffle and go at it!  Warning, this may be Beatles heavy.  They make up the bulk of my mp3s.

Opening Credits:
Within You Without You/Tomorrow Never Knows- The Beatles, Love (This works)

Waking Up:
Yesterday- The Beatles (Interesting set up)

First Steps:
Go All The Way [Into Twilight]- Perry Farrell (suiting)

First Pet:
Time Bomb- Rancid (Pets can be...)

First Day At School:
I'm a Loser- The Beatles (HAHAHA My self esteem!)

First Friend:
Devil in Her Heart- The Beatles (hahaha OK)

First High School Exam:
It Won't Be Long- The Beatles (Ok, I'll take it)

Falling In Love:
Pushit- TOOL (this is perverse)

Getting Your License to Drive:
Lock, Step and Gone- Rancid (I don't have a license, so this works)

Loss of Virginity:
The 11th Hour- Rancid (I still have my virginity, so this hour has yet to come)

Your Archenemy:
Dengar's Dumptruck- mc chris (this works...  or would if I was Han Solo)

Fight Song:
Good Night, Good Night- Hot Hot Heat (Hehehe I would say this instead of fighting)

Breaking Up:
The Long and Winding Road- The Beatles (OK... suitable. I've not had a break-up or relationship)

Wonderful Tonight- Eric Clapton (suitable prom song, but I never went to prom)

Life's Okay:
Pickin' It Up- Hot Hot Heat (HAH!  Wonderful!)

Mental Breakdown:
Don't You Remember- Adele (this is really suiting.  Absolutely...  :/  Can't listen to this one.  Makes me cry)

Getting Back Together:
Back in the U.S.S.R- The Beatles (HAHAHAHA!  Nice!)

You've Really Got a Hold On Me- The Beatles (interesting)

Birth of Child:
Across the Universe- The Beatles (Awwww... :) )

Final Battle:
Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)- George Harrison (I am lover, not a fighter)

Death Scene:
Will Become Silhouettes- The Postal Service (YES!  YES!)

Funeral Song:
Fixing a Hole- The Beatles (more like filling a hole... HAHAHAH)

End Credits:
Savoy Truffle- The Beatles (it's a zany song!  LOVE IT!)

After Credits Secret Scene:
Oh My My- Ringo Starr (because my life was THAT fucked up!)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

To Read, or Not to Read: A Reader's Dilemma

I am currently reading (aside from Obasan) a book called On Monsters by Stephen T. Asma.  It's a great philosophical look at monsters--not just Frankenstein's monster, but people as monsters like serial killers, etc--that is really quite interesting.  I took it out of the school library last month, and have slowly been reading and enjoying it.

Now I am facing a dilemma.  I already renewed the book once, because I got busy with homework and couldn't finish it before the due date.  As I was back to finishing it, I had to start reading Obasan for my literature class (on a side note, Obasan is really an amazing read it!) so On Monsters was placed on the back burner.

I am sure it is coming due at the library, so I am wondering if I should just return it unfinished.  That's the thing I dislike about taking books out of the library.  Time constraints are placed on me, and life just gets in the way.  I'll probably just return it, because I am eager to start another book in my to-read pile.  It's one I've been looking forward to for some time...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Reading Habits Questionnaire (Part II)

28. Favourite reading snack?
This just happens to be my favorite snack, in general: Sunflower seeds!  ;9

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
I don't listen to hype.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
I don't take stock in what a critic says, to be honest.  I may just enjoy the book for the experience of reading it.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
There is only one book I gave a negative review to.  I never even got past the first chapter.  I honestly don't recall the title, either...  It was forgettable.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?
Hmmmm...  Japanese.

33. Most intimidating book you've ever read?
Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed and My Sister Stole My Mother's Boyfriend by Barbara A. Oakley.  Some of the science was well over my head.

34. Most intimidating book you're too nervous to begin?
Nothing intimidates me about a book.  Though there is always a feeling of intimidation, mixed with awe, when you read a classic that you've never read.

35. Favourite Poet?
Matsuo Kinsaku (better known as Basho).

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
Around four, when I take them out.

37. How often have you returned books to the library unread?
A handful of times.  That one book I mentioned that I couldn't finish...that one was one.

38. Favourite fictional character (s)?
Recent:  Vish Puri (from Tarquin Hall's novels), Davos Seaworth (from A Song of Ice and Fire series), and many more.
Classic: Mr. Bennet (Pride and Prejudice--he may be my favorite fictional character EVER!) and Ford Prefect (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.)

39. Favourite fictional villain?
It's hard for me to choose my favorite literary villain...  As I generally do not like the villains.  Mrs.Coulter from His Dark Materials comes to mind.  As does Saruman from Lord of the Rings.

40. Books I'm most likely to bring on vacation?
Whatever I am reading before going on vacation, I suppose.

41. The longest I've gone without reading.
I read every day.  Even if it isn't from a book.  I read articles, etc.

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
Here it is, the title of that book from several questions.  Darkmans.  The first chapter didn't hook me, and was so boring.  I couldn't do it.

43. What distracts you easily when you're reading?
When people are trying to speak to me.  Otherwise, I tune a lot out.

44. Favourite film adaptation of a novel?
Pride and Prejudice, the BBC version with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

46. The most money I've ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
If we're talking textbooks?  Over $600.  If not, only ~$50.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
I don't skim.  I read the blurb and go on that,usually.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
If the writing is boring and slogs on.  Ugh...

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
Hahahaha Noooooo way.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you've read them?
Keep them.  Always keep them.  My precioussss...

51. Are there any books you've been avoiding?
Hmmm...  Books that are in-your-face!  "EVERYONE ELSE IS READING THEM, SO SHOULD YOU!"  Yeah, don't tell me what to do.

52. Name a book that made you angry.
None that I can think of.

53. A book you didn't expect to like but did?
A Game of Thrones.  I am usually not that into fantasy like GoT, but it worked its magic on me.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn't?
None that I can think of.

55. Favourite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
Novels from the Star Wars expanded universe.  Many don't like them, but I like to keep up with what's going on because I am a huge geek.

Reading Habits Questionnaire (Part I)

I am not much of a blogger, as I tend to just...let them fall by the wayside. But my friend's survey spurred me to write about my reading habits. Here's the first part of the questionnaire.  Maybe I'll just keep writing about reading...

1. Favourite childhood book (s)?
Anything by Roald Dahl. The BFG is my favorite of his books. I also enjoyed The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L.Frank Baum.

2. What are you reading right now?
Obasan by Joy Kogawa. I am reading it for my Multicultural American Literature class. I am also reading On Monsters An Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears by Stephen T. Asma.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
I...uhhh...owe some late fees to the library right now... hehe

4. Bad book habit?
None whatsoever.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
See question 3.

6. Do you have an e-reader?
I will be receiving a Kindle Touch for Christmas. I am not a HUGE fan of e-readers, but I do like the Kindle. Way to go Amazon!

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
I prefer to read one book at a time, but I can multitask them.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
This is not the first blog I have written, but it doesn't change my reading habits.

9. Least favourite book you read this year (so far?)
There isn't anything too...bad...that I have read this year.

10. Favourite book you've read this year?
The Order of Odd-Fish by James Kennedy. It is a magical YA book! I posted a review on Good Reads which I will link to at some point.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
What is out of my comfort zone is trashy romance (like Harlequin). So...never.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
I read anything, and I mean anything. Except for trashy romance.

13. Can you read on the bus?
Yes I can read on a bus. Or in a car. Or on a plane or on a train! I can read books anywhere!

14. Favourite place to read?
Anywhere I feel comfortable.

15. What is your policy on book lending?
I lend books to trusted friends who promise not to mar them.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?NO! That is a cardinal sin!

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
I've never had a reason to, but I wouldn't.

18. Not even with text books?
On occasion, but it's still bad to me.

19. What is your favourite language to read in?
English, but I can read rather well in French.

20. What makes you love a book?
Honesty. In characters, and writing style. As long as it isn't pandering, it's OK by me!

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
It's gotta move me. Make me laugh or cry. And the person I am recommending it to must enjoy the genre.

22. Favourite genre?
I don't really have a favorite genre. I read most anything, so I can't pick a favorite.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)
Not that it's a genre, but I rarely read classics. I do pick them up now and again, but I would prefer to read more of them.

24. Favourite biography?

I have never actually read a real bio. When I was young I read a younger readers book on The Beatles (my favorite band), but nothing recently.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?

I do not read these if I can help it. (I like the answer my ginger friend had!)

26. Favourite cookbook?
Hmmmm... My grandmother's cookbook. I think it's Better Homes and Gardens, or something.

27. Most inspirational book you've read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
There hasn't really been anything I've read recently that has resonated as "inspirational" this year. I have read Haruki Murakami's What I Talk About When I Am Running. It inspired me to write a bit, which I don't do often enough.