27 October 2010

A new NOOK for this Christmas season...(update announced)

Okay, so maybe you haven't bought an ereader yet. Maybe you've been waiting for just the right model or edition, or maybe you've been waiting for those prices to come down yet again. Barnes and Noble has announced they have an additional NOOK model coming to market soon.


The expected shipping date for orders placed now is 19 November.

Will I be asking for one for Christmas? I don't think so. I just spent some time going through comparisons of both models. You can also do that, here:

It looks to me as if the color screen would mostly benefit those users who look at a lot of magazines or cookbooks, and probably young children reading illustrated books. The final reason is the only one that draws my attention. I could see our youngest child, and possibly our two pre-teen boys enjoying the use of it for such things. Of course then it wouldln't be available to me, would it? Besides, then I'd need to purchase lots of kids' titles or see if I could get them through the library lending service I use. If I knew I could get them from the library I'd be a lot more interested. My book expenses are already high. And there are several ereaders being marketed to children this season. So far our favorite appears to be Vtech's version. (I'll have to do a review of that as soon as I am able.)

This page can help you determine which NOOK might suit you best:

This page can further assist you in making that decision:

The new NOOKcolor will be able to do crossword puzzles. (I am not clear whether they will be pre-loaded or only purchasable.) It will also stream Pandora radio. I love Pandora radio but I have found that when I am reading with music playing I pay a lot of attention to the song and am much more distracted by it than I ever expected. I loaded a few songs onto my NOOK to see if I liked that feature or not; it's just not for me. I can always use my iPod for that. I find that I like specialized products that are meant to do one or two things, and do them well.

I do have a few photos on my NOOK as screensavers/wallpaper. I chose at least one photo of every member of our nuclear and extended family. The NOOK just cycles through each of them each time it is shut off. It takes a lot of memory to hold them though. That is the only reason I would like a memory card for mine. The new NOOKcolor would be lovely with self-loaded photos. But that just isn't why I purchased an ereader really. We have several digital photo frames that we need to load photos onto and place around our house (I need to get on that.)

The NOOKcolor will have more memory inherently and will, therefore, hold more books. The original NOOK still holds more books than most people will need it to. And both versions have upgradable memory.

I just noticed that the NOOKcolor will have free Wi-Fi in B&N stores but not at ATT hotspots as the NOOK wi-fi and NOOK wi-fi +3G do. Hmmm, that's odd; I wonder why.

I am confused by only one ability on the new NOOKcolor. It is noted that it has "borrowing" capability. All three NOOKs have the LendMe feature so it didn't change that. I do not know what "borrowing" means but aim to find out. When I am able to determine what that feature does I will report back.

The NOOKcolor is going to run on the ANDROID system which I think will please many users.

There is a drawback to the NOOKcolor people. It doesn't use eInk technology. That feature is part of what drew me to ereaders. The use of eInk means that an ereader is as easy on your eyes as the pages of a book. Bright, lit computer screens are very hard on the eyes. My eyes never tire from using my NOOK. Granted, the NOOKcolor can be seen at night. But I use my LightWedge reading light, just as I always have with regular paged books.
(I gave a link to the direct site but it can be purchased for a great price through Amazon and if you visit Amazon from a link on my page I am credited for having sent you there. Amazon is where I purchased our most recent LightWedge.)

Apps are being created now for use on the new NOOKcolor.

I will be interested in seeing one of these. I will be out today; perhaps we will stop by a large B&N store to see if they have one on hand yet. If any readers of my site have the chance to try one out please let us know.

To recap, I think I am going to stick with my eInk NOOK wi-fi+3G. I love it. Maybe I will ask for an additional cover for Christmas, and maybe a memory card...and of course a gift card for more ebooks!


Edited to add:

The Nook is now also available at Best Buy and Walmart and soon Books-A-Million stores, along with Barnes & Noble stores. This means that you have more places at which you may actually see and use the product before buying; always a good thing.

23 October 2010

What does a book fanatic want for her birthday?

Yes, I asked for and received a gift card for Barnes and Noble, among other wonderful gifts. I am very blessed by my famiy and friends and had a great birthday yesterday.

I received a $50 gift card to use at B&N. This morning I applied it to my account there so that I may use it to purchase ebooks for my NOOK.

So, what titles have I chosen?

Psych: A Fatal Frame of Mind by William Rabkin - What can I say? It's quick and easy fun. The kids and I LOVE the television show. We like to watch it together on dvd. I am finding that as we move into the long winter months here near Chicago that I am longing for the shows the kids and I have watched together the past few seasons: LOST, Monk, and Psych, among others. When I saw that this title was available I had to grab it right away. Also, I have to note that I feel the books in this series follow the characterizations more truly than I thought the Monk book series did.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman - Juvenile fiction; gotta love it, right? Well, I do. This is a book that I purchased for our daughter Marlo last fall or possibly the fall before. I have decided that I want to read the book so that I can watch the film with Marlo.

The Magicians and Mrs Quent by Galen Beckett - I have seen quite a few recommendations for this book among my fellow homeschool moms. I downloaded the free portion of it from B&N and am hooked enough that I believe I want to read the whole book. I can't wait to see how it progresses.

Love and Other Near Death Experiences by Mil Millington - I requested this book through http://www.paperbackswap.com/. The book became available and I ordered it. I couldn't recall what happy event was responsible for my having placed it on my wish list. After reading a couple pages of the book I texted my brother about it, telling him I couldn't wait to read the whole book and couldn't wait to loan it to him. That's when he told me he read it a couple months ago. So, that's how I found out about the book I guess! The book has one of the best first lines I've ever read. I've only read about 10-20 pages of it. As soon as I realized how much I was going to enjoy the book I downloaded the free portion to my NOOK. And now I've bought the entire book. I am excited that I will begin reading it very soon and am certain to post about it here! I am also certain to read some of his other titles.

I still have about $18 left on my gift card.
Any suggestions for me?

This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection by Carol Burnett

When I was very young my parents spent many of their evenings watching the popular variety shows of the 70s. And there were so many from which to choose. Carol Burnett's show was one of them. We could all enjoy it together.

Carol wrote this book as an extension of a stage show she was doing on the road. She also thought it would be a great way to pass on her stories to her children and grandchildren. As a result, her book flows like small conversations and feels very intimate.

She was raised by her grandmother and took care of her younger sister upon the death of their mother.   She speaks of her sisterly affection for Jim Neighbors. Carol birthed three beautiful daughters; one she lost to cancer just before the show they wrote together was to be staged.

While on the tv game show "Password" with co-star Elizabeth Montgomery they experienced a situation that caused the show to be taped and broadcast on delay from there forward. Enough said (funny story, if you read the book!)

I did not know she was part of a variety show prior to her show; The Garry Moore Show.
She tells a few good stories about her cohorts from The Carol Burnett Show. The show ran an amazing eleven years; from 1967-1978.

Most of the stories in her book are simple...but that makes them very readable. The book moved along very, very quickly for me; almost too quickly. I gained a few laughs from it and am happy I took the time to read it.

07 October 2010

Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13 by Jim Lovell

Somehow I came across this book in 2003 even though it was published in 1994. I am betting that I was in the library and saw it and thought it looked interesting.

Now, I wasn't even a year old when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon in July1969. The Apollo 13 mission was moved from December 1969 to November 1969. I was just over a year old. Still, I recall there being all kinds of news about outerspace and NASA missions during my childhood. I knew it was a big deal.

I love Ron Howard's masterpiece, Apollo 13, the film from 1995. Jim Lovell wrote Lost Moon. Lovell was the commander of the  Apollo 13 mission. He was the first of only three people to fly to the moon twice and the only one who did so without landing there. That is from where he derived the title and I love the title of this book. Lost Moon. How poignant, how pivotal, how sad, and still...triumphant.

Lost Moon is a first-hand account of one of the most amazing scientific triumphs in history. Don't miss out on reading this amazing book.

06 October 2010

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Our nanny in England had read all of Agatha Christie's books. She loved them. I, however, had never read any. I learned that Ms. Chrisite's books have been read more than any other aside from the Bible and Shakespeare. I decided it was time to change the fact that I'd never read any of her books.

Murder on the Orient Express. The title made is sound interesting to me. We did a lot of travel in Europe. We never had the chance to travel overnight by train although we did travel by ferry and hhad berths on the ferries. I was certain I could visualize the book well enough to enjoy reading it.

Poirot is the thinking man's man. He thinks outside the box. My kids and I enjoy watching Monk and Psych. The mysteries on those shows tend to be solved in such a way that they are not easily unraveled by jus anyone; of course, if they could be, they wouldn't be very mysterious, would they?

There were certainly a large numbers of characters integral to this story. Ms. Christie did a good job of helping the reader distinguish each character though. She also managed to keep the story moving pretty well. She drew me in.

I liked the fact that the murder was solved by wit alone. The train was stranded in a snowdrift, set many years ago. There was no way to communicate with the outside world.

Want to know how to find the order of books in a series?

Don't you hate it when you aren't sure of the order of a book series?

An acquaintance of mine posted a useful site on the homeschool website we both used to frequent.
The site will assist you by giving you the order of the books in a series.

I use the site frequently. It's called the "What's Next Database".


01 October 2010

My favorite book light: LightWedge

I bought my LightWedge (paperback version) a few years ago. I love it. I do not travel without it. I use it daily.

The LightWedge provides ample light for reading but the light is directed across your page and does not distract theo ther people around you such as the driver of the vehicle you are in, or the person you may be sharing your bed with!

As I said, my LightWedge is a few years old. I think I probably bought it around 2005... It has a few minor scratches on it, nothing deep. I have never found a good "screen protector" for it. If I could find one that was the correct size and was not too expensive I would consider buying it for a new LightWedge. As it is, the age and condition of my current LightWedge are such that I would not bother; it's fine and serves its purpose.

That said, one of our sons has been wanting a LightWedge paperback version for a long time. Not long after I bought mine I bought LightWedge Minis for each of our five children, my husband, my dad, and my mother-in-law. I bought a knock-off of the LightWedge last year to give to our son. Within minutes it was obvious that its construction was very bad. I called to ask for my money to be returned and we threw it in the trash! I am just about to place an order for the REAL LightWedge as a Christmas gift for our son. Actually, I will probably give him mine and I will probably take the new one. : )

The wonderful thing is that I am still able to use it with my ereader. I just hold it in front of it or even near it, just as I would with a regular book. I do not think I would like the larger version and have no need for more light than the paperback version provides.

If you do not have a booklight that you really like I urge you to try one!

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen 4*

I read this book because it is being made into a movie and the son of an acquaintance of mine is acting in it, as the character Garrett. Now that I've read the book I can let myself see the film!

Flipped is the story of the relationship between Bryce and Juli. The story is uniquely told from both of their points of view, in alternating chapters. It is really interesting to see an example of the same event being told from two difffering points of view. We all see things uniquely and we all retell them in our own unique style too.

But it isn't only the tale of two young teens. The story actually looks at all kinds of relationships. There is a sub-plot about a marriage relationship, and also about the relationship between Bryce and his grandfather whom he barely knows even though Gramps has been living with them for a year and a half. Of course there are also several teenage frindships that are quietly observed. The story doesn't preach, it just allows the reader to view the interactions and make their own judgment about what happens. I like that.

Bryce is bombarded by Juli's bubbly, in-your-face friendship from the moment his family moves into their home. Juli is a determined and self-confident young woman. Bryce is a somewhat typical young man who thinks that friendship with a girl is not something he is interested in. Of course as he ages and as their characters develop all of that starts to change.

Bryce's grandpa ends up befriending Juli before he befriends Bryce. That finally spurs Bryce and Grandpa into talking...and that brings them to a point of beginning to really know each other. Funny how we can essentially ignore people even when we live with them...

The setting of the book was changed a bit. The book is set in California, the movie is Michigan. The book was done in a current timeframe, the film is set in the fifties I think. I like that they changed the timeframe for the film.

I found an interesting blog post by the author of the book:


Edited to add:

I came back to add some of my favorite quotes from the book.

"In the end, Shelly went home early with a bad case of mussed-up hair, while I told my side of things to the principal. Mrs. Shultz is a sturdy lady who probably secretly appreciates the value of a swift kick well placed, and although she told me that it would be better if I let other people work out their own dilemmas, she definitely understood about Shelly Stalls and her hair and told me she was glad I'd had the self-control to do nothing more than restrain her." pg 16

"I felt sorry for my father. I felt sorry for my mother. But most of all I felt lucky for me that they were mine." pg 78

and my favorite:
"There's nothing like a head-strong woman to make you happy to be alive." pg 82

The Tale of Hill Top Farm by Susan Wittig Albert 4*

This book didn't really end up being exactly what I expected. I decided to read it because I had seen a lot of good reviews and I dreadfully miss England. Right now, rieading is as close as I can get to being there!

The book is a fictionalized telling of Beatrix Potter's life, with a bit of mystery thrown in. In the beginning I found the mystery intriguing but by the end of the book, and given the way the mystery was unfolded, I was not as happy with it. I hate it when a mystery is so involved that I feel lost, but this one was, rather, a bit too simple really.

Still, the story is sweet and the setting idyllic. The Lake District in England is simply beautiful and relaxing. We spent one night there and most of a day, when we visited in the fall of 2008. We did not visit Hill Top Farm or Castle Cottage but we did visit Beatrix Potter World and were all pleasantly surprised by its sweetness.

As I said, the story is simple, filled with simple characters. There are, however, quite a few characters. The list in the front of the book was, indeed, helpful for remembering who everyone was. I referred to it a few times. The writing is such that you can envision the places and people.

The author did begin to lose my interest when she mentions some of the animals as wearing clothing. I could accept the fact that the animals shared dialogue with one another but not with people. Accepting the communication of animals for the sake of the story was fine...accepting rats in waistcoats was a bit too much for me though.

It is a charming book and pretty easy to follow. It would certainly work well as a read-aloud to young children who run out of titles written by Miss Potter, herself.
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