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Posts tagged ‘Books’

Review: Why I’m in love with my Kindle Paperwhite

I like real-life books as much as the next compulsive bookshop browser. There’s something amazing about sorting through piles of books and deciding which you’re going to take home. I love how old books smell and I love how new books smell. I like the feel of paper under my fingers. What I definitely don’t love is finding somewhere to put them. At my last count, I had over 600 real-life actual space taking books in my house… and my house is not big – it doesn’t have its own library. I also begrudge having books on my shelves that I bought, thought I’d love and now feel ‘meh’ about. They were fine but I don’t need a copy of them. Yes, I know I can take them to charity shops (and I have) but, as I only have limited time to sort them, I haven’t really got around to doing a proper clear out.

Sony PRS 650

So in an effort to prevent myself becoming one of those obsessional hoarders off of the TV, I asked for an ereader for my birthday a couple of years ago. The idea was to buy ebooks and then if I loved any of them to buy nice, pretty hardback copies for my shelves. The Sony PRS 650 came into my life and my reading experience was changed forever. I loved how light it was to carry around and how I could switch from book to book whenever I felt like it. It’s no secret I love tech, but what I loved about this tech was how simple it was and, very importantly, how the e-ink didn’t strain my eyes. The only slightly annoying thing was that I had to plug it in to download books through a slightly complex system. When it inexplicably died, I was not happy to move my reading to my iPad. Although I love it, it’s not built for reading for long periods of time and after being on a computer at work all day, the last thing I wanted to do is to look at another back-lit screen.

Kindle Paperwhite

My Kindle Paperwhite came into my life in December. My eyes are so happy to be reading e-ink again. Although it does have a back light, it’s really easy to turn up and down so I haven’t had any headaches since I’ve used it.

Instant access to the Amazon bookstore has meant that when I see book recommendations I can be reading them five minutes later. A huge bonus for me is that I can email documents to a dedicated Kindle email address – this means I can send my PDF course materials to it (I’m completing a distance learning course at the moment around my full-time job), read them, highlight important sections and make notes on the go. I used to do this on my iPad, but due to the weight lugging an iPad everywhere is not ideal. And, realistically, sometimes I just want to take a normal-sized handbag out with me – the Kindle Paperwhite easily fits into all my handbags, my iPad 2 does not. Compared to a large hardback book, like Christopher Paolini’s Eldest (see below) it’s a much more practical option to carry around. Even when compared to a small paperback (Neil Gaiman’s Stardust), it’s still the most practical option.

Kindle Paperwhite

Although it probably won’t be a problem for me, I also like that you can have books and documents stored off the device to download to it when you need them, but not on the reader all the time taking up space. On the Kindle itself, the menus are easy to navigate with single touches and you can create collections to keep documents or books together.

Battery life is good. I’ve charged it once since I got it just before Christmas. Amazon claims it will last eight weeks on one charge (reading for 30 minutes a day with the wireless off) but even with quite heavy use the battery seems to hold up well. And, to be honest, for someone who lives or works somewhere with electricity (that’s you) it’s not that big a deal to plug it in every few weeks is it?

Kindle Paperwhite home screen

I bought the official Kindle Paperwhite Leather Cover and it has been surprisingly hardwearing. It holds itself shut with a magnetic closure, which even when chucked in my handbag every day still stays closed. The outside of it hasn’t scratched or dented. I particularly like that the front can be folded right back flat so it can be held in one hand.

All in all, I love my Kindle. I know that the Paperwhite has been a little overshadowed by the sexier Kindle Fire, but I already have a colour tablet. What I needed was a lightweight, easy-on-my-eyes book replacement and the Kindle Paperwhite does that very well.

 

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#1b1t (67)

Image from .guilty's Flickr photostream

#1b1t is the twitter tag for One Book, One Twitter. The idea is to start a twitter-wide book club. Over the past few days twitter users have been voting and the first book has been chosen. In fact, appropriately it is a book written by an author who is very active on twitter. It is American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

I’m quite excited about this project. You can read more about the original concept here, and learn more about it by following @crowdsourcing.

Holiday Diaries 2: Thirst (57)

vampire, fiction, book, christopher pike, alisa perneI have to admit it. I’m a sucker for vamp-fiction. Now let’s get this clear before I go any further, I read Twilight before it was a phase. I loved it way before the film and RPatz, and in fact, although he is nice and everything, neither of the two films released so far do the books justice. If you haven’t read the books, read them. They are good.

I’ll give you that they sound stupid. The number of times i’ve started to describe Twilight along the lines of ‘Well it’s this story about this teenage girl, who’s, like, in high school you know. And she, well she falls in love with this vampire boy, who is a good, vegetarian vampire, from this good vegetarian vampire family, and then stuff happens, and then she realises an old friend from her childhood can turn into a wolf…’ I can see the incredulous looks on those people’s faces now, in my head. But really, you have to read it to understand. It’s a love story with magic to it. The films do not do it justice. I can not say that enough. I cried at the start of New Moon, cried, my eyes out: that does not happen to me very much.

I’m a total fan girl. Did you know that Stephenie Meyer was writing the whole story again from Edward’s point of view? The first book in that series was called Midnight Sun and was leaked on the internet. Stephenie then published an up-to-date version on her website, and stopped writing it. She was too hurt and angry to continue at the time.

Anyway I totally digress, what I actually wanted to write about today was Thirst by Christopher Pike. I was browsing Virgin Megastore in a mall in Dubai, (I forget which one, they have a whole lot of malls) when I spotted this series on the side. I say series because although it is two physical books, it appears they were actually written almost as six shorter stories with section names and updates on what happened last time.

Without giving too much away, because if you like vamp fiction you should totally read these too, the story centres around Alisa Perne – the oldest vampire on earth. She is beautiful, smart, funny, rich, impatient and deadly. She is scared of no-one. That is until she discovers her maker is seeking her…

The story dips in and out of history, blurring fantasy with reality and making you doubt what is real and what is not – the earmark of a good storyteller. It’s not one for the squeamish as there is a fair bit of killing visual description, but then again I enjoyed it and I don’t particularly enjoy reading about brain splatter.

Christopher has reintroduced the idea of deadly vampires into my brain. Alisa is not safe and friendly, she has no qualms about killing someone if they are a risk to her or her identity, in fact sometimes she kills just because people have annoyed her. She is no Edward Cullen or Bill Compton. She is what she is, with her own rules of correct behaviour. She’s real. I kind of love her.

So, if you like a whole lot of adventure with your blonde haired, blue eyed, five thousand year old vampire, I would whole-heartedly recommend Thirst, parts 1 and 2. Did I mention the covers feel all funny and special? Well they do.

Thirst part 1 is available for only £6.64, and Thirst part 2 is £5.97 on Amazon.

Goodreads.com (Blog 5 #oneaday)

Today I came across goodreads.com via one of my friends on Twitter, @bizzybee. I love it. I’m still getting to grips with the ins and outs of the whole site but it is basically that book list that you keep meaning to make. The books you read, the ones you want to read, and what you are reading now. Except it’s not in a tattered old notebook that you keep misplacing. It’s online, and interactive. That means it’s better. You can share your list with friends, family or just with the whole online world in general. You can read and write reviews of books you have read. You can write your own stories and share them online. If you are an author yourself you can claim and maintain your own page, complete with blog and book listings.

The site also allows you to list which books you own and create ‘shelves’ so you can group different types of books together. These shelves could be anything from ‘chick-lit’ to ‘never read again’ to ‘best of 2009’. There are also many, many top lists that you can create and vote on.

Goodreads.com has an extensive database. It does not just show you the different titles that you may have read, but also gives you the option of different editions! It might be a little bit pedantic of me, but I quite like that I can choose the one with the cover I remember. It is a nice touch!

Additionally you can add and favourite famous quotes. Or you could do as I did, and just spend hours reading them.

When I have time I devour books. I’m hoping that this site will inspire me to begin reading more regularly again. Gosh. With all this reading and writing I have planned I will never have time for anything else!

You can find my ‘under construction’ profile on goodreads.com here.

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