glitch25: (Default)
So... those of you that know me well already know this. At least, you should. :-)

It has to do with books.

Growing up, I didn't have the fascination with literature that so many did. Reading assignments in class were a big struggle for me. It wasn't that I had any deficiency that prevented or hindered me from the act of reading. I just never cared for it. At all.

As a result, I never developed that love affair with printed medium. The allure of the smell of a book, its pages. The feel of the paper. None of that.

I did enjoy the odd fiction here and there when I was a kid. I enjoyed Lewis' Chronicles. And I chipped away at a bit of Bradbury and Asimov. Couldn't stand Tolkien (still can't, truth be told).

I didn't really read much until I was in college, and then it was still fiction. King, Crichton, and Koonz. I didn't develop an appreciation for non-fiction until much later.

I read many of the classics in school, though. I don't remember a lot of them, but I remember titles.

Most of what I liked to read as a young adult fell into what I liked to call reality-based fiction. Tried a little bit of hard fantasy or hard sci-fi, and it didn't work out for me.

Since then, I've slowly broadened my interests. I really enjoy autobiographies now of all sorts. I still enjoy my brand of fiction, but I also dip my toe here and there in other things.

I've realized there are gaps in some of my classics, and it's been good to re-read some of the ones I didn't remember as well as others that I missed (or passed me by).

And I dig into a variety of non-fiction now too.

Much to the chagrin of at least one sweetie, I tend to eschew the paper medium and deal almost exclusively in Ebook. I've been reading in digital format before it was cool. ;-) Me and my Handspring Visor and OCR'd (or hand-typed *twitch*) copies of things I'd find. Needless to say, DRM has been a major thorn in the side of the freedom of how I read, and while these days, I'm happy to pay for my books, they don't often stay in a locked-up format for long. I don't share them or distribute them beyond a loan to a sweetie when I'm done with it. But I really get frustrated being locked into specific readers or formats.

So reading has really been a different experience for me than many of what I hear from you guys.

The meme wandering around Facebook right now has us posting up 15 books that we like and have been transformed by. It's difficult to admit among my very reading-friendly friends that I feel ill-equipped to do that meme. It feels like the question is completely out of my perspective. It isn't that I don't read. It isn't that I haven't read many of the books on many people's lists. It is mostly that books as a medium just don't move me like they do many of you. Never have. Maybe some day. :-)

I've been ok with that for a long time since I've come to understand it for many years now. But it is still hard to admit publicly. Makes it kinda interesting... :-)
glitch25: (frederick the literate)
I recently finished a copy of The Flood by Stephen Baxter. It is a chronicle of four characters, and people surrounding them over the course of 42 years as the earth slowly is enveloped in the sea. Not your typical global warming/sea levels rise sort of book. Stephen took a unique approach backed in part by some interesting factual science.

Fictional science aside, you really get into the lives of the characters and the understanding of where things go when what is our current world is rather quickly snuffed, and the remaining survivors struggle to find a way to stay alive and persist. Everything from millionaires building their fortresses to survivalists doing their part to keep themselves and theirs alive. And of course the mass chaos and devastation that ensues for those that get caught in the middle.

Being a lover of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, I did enjoy the story, though there are parts that seem slow. Parts of the book are written as journal entries to denote the passage of time, and there were definitely parts where I remember thinking, "Ok.. sea level rose another foot... what happens next? Can we get to the part where something major happens?" But really, I suppose if this is to have any basis in reality, this is how it could happen. It may not happen exceptionally quickly, and even the book nods to this idea by describing children born during the 42 years who grow up not understanding that there was once a planet with mountains and plains and trees and plants and animals. Not a blue marble where life is struggled out on rafts and boats and where deep beneath the sea lies a tomb where both riches and relics reside.

Unlike some books where the protagonist has "planned ahead" and gets by a little easier because of it, this book slams home the idea that almost no one has nor will plan that far ahead. And even those few that do will not have such an easy time of it.

It is a story of great suffering and loss, and also wonder at what would possibly come next.

Speaking of next, Stephen wrote a sequel called The Ark which I guess I'll have to read to see how this tale of Noah ends.

Overall, not bad. :-)
glitch25: (frederick the literate)
Yanno.. if I'd just read paper books, I wouldn't have to worry about any of this... :-)

As much as I have appreciated having my netbook for various things, reading in bed in lieu of a dedicated e-reader has not been very good. Aside from the weight, it is just not very comfortable to use a laptop of any size to read books. However, since unitasking E-readers won't do it for me, and my tablet of choice hasn't hit the mainstream yet (See Notion Ink's ADAM), I'm back to other methods.

Since reading on a small screen has never been an issue for me, my Android-based phone has been pretty nice. I buy most of my books from Barnes and Noble in Nook form, and use various scripts to decrypt them so I can read them on other readers.

Since my primary OS is linux, I like using a program called Calibre to manage my ebooks, and the included E-reader is really nice. It also supports e-reading devices including SD card storage on an Android phone, so I can sync up books like I would any other e-reader.

Now on Android, I was recently using a reader called Aldiko, but was getting frustrated that the reader takes up the whole screen and doesn't let you see your status bar. It doesn't have a readily available way to know where you are percentage wise in the book, and it lacks flexibility for page turning control. Ultimately, it just lacks polish, and I went hunting for something else. Last night I stumbled on Moon+ Reader which offers a lot more flexibility. Both Aldiko and Moon+ Reader offer a wonderful relationship saver called night and day mode. Basically night mode inverts the color scheme from what is the default black text on white background to white text on black background. Since on a page of text, the background covers more pixel area than the actual text, by inverting it, the device emits significantly less light, but does not impact the readability. It also means that it lessens the impact on the battery usage. So now, I get to read, and the bed-mate doesn't stay up staring at the beacon of light from my side of the bed.

So far I'm pleased with Moon+, and six chapters into my latest book, I'm enjoying it.
glitch25: (Default)
One of the things I'd like to continue to do, and this has less to do with the secular new year and more to do with the "finally at a point where I can start", is publicly post reviews and comments about stuffs. Movies, books, products, etc. Some of it is record for me, but some of it is also record for the ether. One of the things I've realized is that I really like taking advantage of other people's reviews of things, but I rarely contribute. Time to fix that.

Along those lines, I finally finished Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. Liked it quite a bit. I really enjoyed the technological side of it, and I appreciated how a recent viewing of the Bruce Willis flick, Surrogates, tied in well with aspects of it. This book also reminded me that I continue to be sorely ignorant in matters of mythology, and that I would do well to spend some time researching and learning some of the greater historical mythos.

Overall, I liked the story, but the end crescendoed in a big busy flurry. I may have to re-read sections because I think I missed a few things. I really enjoyed the religious aspects and implications and the idea that while I think there are established ancient ways of tapping into deeper parts of ourselves, those ways aren't the only mechanism, or better stated, those ways are a more homogenized and overly foolproof way of triggering the mechanism, and while successful, are lacking the greater understanding of the mechanism itself.

But like anything else, some people just want things to work. They don't need to know how or why. They just want to push button, get treat. Nothing wrong with that. But others want to know how button arrives at treat and if there are other ways that involve different buttons or no button at all. :-)

Not that I've ever had a problem with pushing buttons. ;-)

Good book though. I look forward to reading others of his!

And for the moment, I'm off reading the latest Dexter book that came out in September. I really enjoy that series as well and appreciate that the TV series diverged enough that I can hold the two worlds separately.

On Reading

Nov. 29th, 2010 10:42 am
glitch25: (frederick the literate)
Reading for fun is something that really came to me later in life. It is interesting too, because I learned to read when I was 3ish, so it wasn't for lack of ability. I just never developed the passion of books that so many of my friends found. I also remember really not enjoying reading assignments in school, and it drove my teachers and I nuts trying to work through it.
Read more... )
glitch25: (frederick the literate)
So apparently my nesting instincts are kicking in. My desire to read is up again and I'm knocking back books left and right. All of these have been read in e-book form, and I'm thankful to the script hackers who have given me the ability to buy them, but convert them so I can read them on my linux machines.

At some point, I want to write a little something about my history with "reading" and how it's been an evolving hobby for me.

But for the moment, here are some thoughts on my latest reads.

The Road - Cormac McCarthy )

Bullet - Laurell K Hamilton )

Dexter books 1 and 2 - Jeff Lindsay )

This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection - Carol Burnett )

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