29 September 2011

Amazon announces a new color Kindle!

Ok, so I love my NOOK by Barnes and Noble. But I think I really am sold on the functionality of eReaders in general.

Today I saw that Amazon announced the ability to pre-order their new color eReader. The amazing thing is that they've undercut B&N quite solidly at a price of only $199.99.

It's time for me to begin further research, readers. Our 10 year old son has been saving his money all year for the purchase of a NOOK Color. I knew that when the time arrived I would have to learn more about the differences and prices of color eReaders compared to tablets.

Only time will tell what we'll end up purchasing for our son. With the fact that I am guessing it will stream free video as a part of our Amazon Prime membership, I am really, very intrigued. I do believe this Christmas season holds lots of intrigue regarding eReaders and tablets. It's going to be a banner year for sales, in my opinion. I can't wait to see what other products will be unveiled and what price wars may ensue. A recession hand-in-hand with a boon of technological changes could produce a lot of fun for some of us.

I've almost decided that I want to "trade up" to the latest model NOOK. I visited our local
B&N store this week to compare the new model to my NOOK original. I really like the functionality of the new, completely touch-sensitive screen and the quicker method of highlights and notes without needing to also bookmark a page. The highlights and notes are labeled by more than the page number also, which will make them easier to maneuver.

A Google List of sites posting news of Amazon's Kindle Fire eReader

This site will answer a lot of Kindle Fire FAQs. (It won't read NOOKbooks or other epub ebooks.)

PCMag Comparison guide for Fire vs iPad2 vs NOOKColor

27 September 2011

A Robinson Crusoe Reader for children

The Robinson Crusoe Reader by Julia Cowles

We found this little gem when we were homeschooling. I have had each of our boys read 
it sometime between the ages of 5 and 7. Each chapter break in the beginning of the book is short, very short. As the book progresses the amount of reading increases gradually become a few pages. For moms or teachers who are so inclined there are hands-on activities included in the back of the book, for each lesson.

Our boys really enjoyed reading this book and I enjoyed listening to them. 
It's great to see their little faces light up upon finishing a chapter book. 

26 September 2011

Wuthering Heights ~ Music

Here is information about the song:
Wuthering Heights ~ Song Wiki

This is probably the most well-liked version of the song Hayley Westenra sings Wuthering Heights

Kate Bush's  Music Video of Wuthering Heights

This is Kate's On-The-Moors-Version

My review of the book Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

My review of the Masterpiece Classic film adaptation

Authors unite in Canada and 1st annual eReaders Conference

Canadian authors unite ~ www.goodreader.com/blog

Canadian authors have completed a Bill of Rights for the Digital Age. It is time for changes to be made that will affect the written word and all concerned parties. The music industry has changed over time because of technology and the reading world is in the midst of changes.

1st annual eReaders 2011 Conference in San Francisco  is occurring the weekend of 29-30 September 2011.
I can't wait to hear what news may come from this!

24 September 2011

It's National Punctuation Day! (I used two punctuation marks.)

Today is National Punctuation Day.

Here is a site that will tell you all about it:
National Punctuation Day

Use that site to join a poetry/punctuation contest. The site also has links that you may enjoy, such as these:
Cake Wrecks ~ Cake Mistakes

Old Navy T-Shirt Mistake (as noted by the UK's Daily Mail, oh! the horrors)

23 September 2011

Wuthering Heights ~ a film adaptation

This week I finally took the time to sit down to watch a film adaptation of 
Wuthering Heights
I watched it over the course of two mornings while our give kids were at school. Being alone at home is a new situation for me; this is the first time our five kids are all enrolled in schools and not being homeschooled. So far I've mostly kept myself busy developing my daily cleaning routine, doing weekly shopping, and managing healthcare issues for our family. I've been looking to find a bit of time for things I enjoy doing on my own such as reading and watching films. 

I watched  it on Netflix streaming: Masterpiece Classic Wuthering Heights.

Again, I have to say I was totally enthralled by the story-line. I felt such a great sense that the hatred shown toward Heathcliff directly resulted in his irredeemable need for revenge. I feel that this should speak volumes to us. Can we show love in ways during our daily life that will produce equal but opposite results?

22 September 2011

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Wow. This is one book that took some effort to read but I did it. I finished reading this book in April of 2009 while we were still living in England. I am so glad I did.

This book was written in 1845 and 1846; published in 1847, but only after the apparent success of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. Sisters, the authors both wrote their books under pseudonyms; Charlotte wrote as Currer Bell and Emily as Ellis Bell. It was written as two separate installments. Wuthering Heights was met with much hatred and an outcry from many. It has been banned many times over. Readers have been appalled by the book's expositions: sexual intimacy, burning hatred, supernatural appearances, and a strong female lead. However, those are all topics that also attract readers...

Before reading this book be warned, six of the characters share three names. It took me a lot of time, from the very beginning of the book to figure out WHO everyone was. Once I'd done that I found that Emily BrontĂ« had woven a web that I wanted to see untangled; I was compelled to keep reading.

Many people either love or hate this book. I didn't really expect to like it, at all. But I have to say that I did. I really enjoyed it. I also sort of enjoyed the fact that it took a bit of intelligence to figure out what the heck was going on. Completing it felt rewarding; I felt I had accomplished something.

As time goes on I am all the more happy that I read it. The cultural awareness it has afforded me has been tremendous. The book's character "Heathcliff" is referenced in so many places in our culture and moreso in British culture. I can comprehend the mass hatred for him although I can also understand what drove him to be such a hateful creature. That is only possible because the book was so well written.

The plotline wraps up with the pivotal death of a character but without the greatly expected traditional Gothic turmoil; that was taken care of earlier in the book. The ending brings a final unity of souls that was never achieved before in the telling.

One need not be depraved to enjoy reading such a book. The depth of this piece of writing is nothing less than incredible. Hatred and abuse breed further hatred and abuse; hatred kills spirits as well as physical bodies. Therefore, conversely, love embodies and equal and opposite power; the power of life. 

This epic tale is one of love and hate; need, revenge, and restlessness. 

My Review of a film adaptation ~ Masterpiece Classic Wuthering Heights

19 September 2011

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynn Truss

Do you love the printed word?

Do typos drive you crazy? 

Lynn Truss has written a gem of a book that is all about punctuation and its use...or mis-use.
She writes about the modern-day state of punctuation in the UK and US. Her writing is both humorous and educational. 

If you read the book and find punctuation that you disagree with in the text, realize that the British differ from Americans on some points.

The title of the book is based on this:

"A panda walks into a café. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and proceeds to fire it at the other patrons.
'Why?' asks the confused, surviving waiter amidst the carnage, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.
'Well, I'm a panda,' he says, at the door. 'Look it up.'
The waiter turns to the relevant entry in the manual and, sure enough, finds an explanation. 'Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.'"

16 September 2011

A Lotus Grows in the Mud by Goldie Hawn

I've always enjoyed Goldie Hawn's films. I haven't seen them all, yet.

I'm no star-gazer but I love reading biographies and memoirs.

Goldie has a personal depth that is engaging and lovely. She expresses herself well and with insight. We are told of flaws as well as things that are self-flattering. 

On page 321 she says this in a diary entry from 1982: "Oh cursed are the enlightened, for the only protection from knowledge and experience is more knowledge and experience."

When Goldie was a little girl and was asked what she wanted to be when she grew up would reply simply, "Happy". Happiness remains her goal in life. Happiness for herself and for the people she surrounds herself with.

She met her current husband, Kurt Russell, when they both starred in the film "Swing Shift".  They are not married but live as man and wife. She expresses that the ritual and ceremony of a wedding is a lovely experience and one that many people should rightly go through. She compares her relationship with Kurt to her relationship with her children and the fact that a piece of paper is not required in order for her to treat them the way she feels a parent should treat a child. Good point. Many of us who are married do not remain mindful of why we married in the first place; we begin to take for granted the one we most love. I do believe that it was important for my husband and me to make a vow to our God in relation to our marriage. I respect her right to do otherwise and like the way she supports her answer.

She says "I wake up every day with the intention to be loving and happy and the best I can be. I try to make each day a new day without carrying over the baggage from the previous day. I try to remind myself each morning why I am in love. And when there are differences, I try to put myself in the other person's shoes, so I can feel what they're feeling, not just what I'm feeling. I try to look with four eyes instead of just my two." Married or not, that is how we should all behave.

She is an unusual woman, and in one way we are extremely similar. Goldie allows herself to look at things from the male perspective. On top of that she feels a sensitivity for men and what their world holds for them. She respects them. In one section of the book she mentions men's vulnerability with regard to sexual passion and how they are affected in ways that are greatly different from the way women are affected. She warns against changing a mate to suit you; neither will end up being happy. 

Goldie is very down to earth. She is a free spirit who does not seem to be chained down by her possessions. She works with Operation Smile to bring in donations for children in desperate need of facial surgery. 

Goldie loves being a mom to her three children and Kurt's son. She has this poignant bit to say about motherhood:

"Even in the real world, a mother can be all-powerful, and she is the one person who can make her family flourish. She dotes lovingly on her daughter, and identifies with her in a way she can't with her son. All her juices are flowing; she feels alive~she feels the vitality in her and in her girl child. She is present and relevant and omniscient. Such is the bond between a mother and daughter."

"But when that daughter grows up and begins to lead her own life, a mother can feel bereft. The daughter moves into her own shadowy underworld, just as Persephone (of Greek mythology) did, only in the real world it is secrets and boys and sexual discovery. A mother may be left behind, thinking, But I'm not done yet. I still have something to say but you're not listening. I still have something to give but you're not receptive to it. And so I have no one to nourish anymore. What do I do for the rest of my life?"

I have not yet read a parenting book that tells us such a thing in quite this way; preparing us for the sense of loss that will come from completing a job well~the job of parenting and releasing your children to their own worlds. I am on the cusp of beginning to go through this. Our children are: 16, 15, 10, 9 and 5 years old. I am watching my husband's sister as she just became the proud owner of an empty nest. I am watching to see how things work for her and her husband. I have taken child-raising cues from her and continue to observe and listen to her wisdom.

Goldie also speaks of death; the deaths of her parents. Being a daughter and a mother at the same time puts a woman in the middle of the circle of life. It can be a challenging place to be. Her "mother refused to say "I'm going to die." This is an issue I have with my own mother. We all succumb eventually though. She says "Know that you are going to die, then back up and live each day with that truth in mind. Wake up each morning happy to be alive."

Goldie is still searching with regard to the meaning of life. I give her credit for continuing to search. I am happy to say that I have found my meaning; a full life in Christ. I am greatly blessed and hope to be a blessing to others. 

Goldie has led an interesting life and tells her story well.

If you like Goldie, I think you'll like her book.

13 September 2011

A Haiku for book lovers...

I entered a haiku contest recently with this submission:

      book lust I do have 
need a new book to fix that 
       free fix...library

Now it's your turn. Take a stab. Comment with your book or reading-related haiku!

www.ehow.com How to write a haiku

12 September 2011

Would you use a "Netflix-like" service for ebooks?

Amazon is purportedly working on the design of a book rental program that would function similarly to Netflix's streaming service for films. I have seen nothing that states how soon something could be launched. 
Barnes & Noble NOOK Touch eBook Reader (NEWEST model, WIFI Only)Kindle, Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Pearl DisplayBarnes & Noble NOOK Color eBook TabletBarnes and Noble NOOK eBook Reader (WiFi only) [ Black & White ]

( www.blogs.wsj.com ) Article about proposed ebook rental
( www.techland.time.com ) Article about proposed ebook rental
( www.bgr.com ) Artical about proposed ebook rental

Personally, I figure Amazon will have their work cut out for themselves. A move like this would require getting publishers on board solidly first. If Amazon and Barnes and Noble had their way I believe we'd be seeing lower prices for ebooks in general. I think more books could be sold at less profit per book and the sales produced would result in greater revenue in the end. Allowing the market to determine this sector of business could be a good move for all involved. The publishers want to keep prices high even though they would benefit from an increase in sales with prices set just right.

Read what www.blogs.wsj.com has to say in their third paragraph, click here...

My view of this is that an ebook rental service could work, in theory. Look at the streaming service provided by Netflix. It works. Our family loves it. If we didn't need live sports coverage in this household I would drop cable service without a second thought. When we began using Netflix's streaming service it could be challenging to find something streaming that we really wanted to watch. These days there are new options offered regularly and there is an abundance of choice; our queue is quite long. We can always find something to watch without having to wait three or more days for a new dvd to arrive by mail. 

A streaming ebook service is an intriguing thought. It would seem that it would work similarly to a library service but with a subscription cost and, therefore,  a larger selection from which to choose. I would certainly consider subscribing. 

Our library's ebook-lending service continues to expand their  offerings. Of course all the classics would be available; they're available all over already. What a service, such as that proposed, would have to offer is much greater selection than classics and books with a lower retail price. Offering popular titles that are rising in the charts would sway many people to subscribe to an ebook streaming service.

This year I've made a great effort to read books that I can read for free as downloads of classics or by using our library's ebook service. So far I think I've only purchased one or two books, and those, I believe, were so that I could read them at the same time as our kids who were reading them in traditional book form.                                                                                              

I sat down a couple days ago to see what books I would want to buy if I decided to buy everything that is at the top of my ebook wish list. What kind of total did I come up with? $425. That would purchase all the books on my wish list that I think I really want to read at this moment. How many books? 42. That's an average of just over $10 per title. That's a lot of money. 

I have considered only asking for gift cards for Christmas so that whenever the urge strikes me next year I can purchase an ebook... I would not purchase all the books that are currently on my list a I am wise enough to realize my list may change. If an ebook rental service became available and many of the books from my wish list were available it would seem that subscribing would be a good investment for me. I really don't hold out a lot of hope that many of the books I want to read would end up being available though... 

For this topic time will only tell. Ebooks are the way of the future. They are convenient, versatile, and good for the environment. How quickly the industry continues to grow will be determined by the areas of law related to: the pricing of the books, the ownership of purchased digital titles, the ownership of notes taken by the reader of an ebook, the availability of ebooks through libraries or subscription services, the price of ereaders, etc.

10 September 2011

The Mary Rodgers Treasury: Freaky Friday, A Billion for Boris and Summer Switch by Mary Rodgers

It was interesting to read these books. The first book is the source for the Disney films titled 'Freaky Friday'. In the book the mother caused the body switch, and the story is told from the perspective of the daughter in the mother's body.
The Mary Rodgers Treasury: Freaky Friday, A Billion for Boris and Summer Switch
The second book is about 'Ape's' (Ben's) attempt to fix a broken TV set. When he fixes it it begins to air shows 24 hours in advance, including live shows such as the news. The kids, of course, take advantage of the situation to try to prevent some things from happening. And there's the fun!

Book three is the story of Ben and Dad switching bodies. In this book the switch occurred as in the films, they had both just said 'I wish I were...' and the switch occurred. I enjoyed the last book the most. I suppose that is at least in part due to the fact that the story was completely new to me.

I love old Disney films and I also enjoy finding out how film adaptations differ from the original story-lines.

09 September 2011

The River of Doubt: Into the Unknown Amazon by Candice Millard

This book describes the journey of Theodore Roosevelt on an unknown river in South America
after his loss of his final run for president.
The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey
I don't know how the majority of the expedition ever made it out alive.
The sad part is that many of the expedition's tourbles were due to very poor planning,
or rather a lack of planning to begin with. Roosevelt, it seems, thought it was not going to be
that big a deal. He was mistaken.

Thanks, Tim, for recommending it to me.

07 September 2011

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

I really enjoyed this book. I had seen many recommendations for it when a friend surprised me and sent me a copy as a gift.
The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel
The book is set in York and that endeared it to me all the more. Margaret Lea is the somewhat lonely and very bookish daughter of the owner of a bookstore. Vida Winters is a contemporary author whose talent for weaving stories has led her to tell differing versions of her life story. This is exactly what brings the two women together.

Suspense abounds and holds the reader mesmerized in an attempt to come to the realization of the truth, hand-in-hand with Margaret. This book of mystery comes together without Setterfield tricking the reader as she unravels a lifetime in order for a true biography to be written.

This selection includes: mystery, love, loss, tragedy, healing, forgiveness. I found it spell-binding.

05 September 2011

The Messenger by Marcus Zusak

Review by high school junior, Aaron Avers, son of Angie

I am at a loss for words to describe the brilliance of this book!

The plot was exciting, heart-warming, funny, and the book keeps you in constant suspense throughout.

Ed, the main character, is funny and easy to relate to. He's a nineteen year old no-life cab driver, who lives for the nights he plays cards with his friends, and is hopelessly in love with his closest friend, Audrey. He has done nothing for his life, and is content in leaving it that way, until one day, he stops a bank robbery.

Forthright and down-to-earth, Ed is a likable character although an unlikely hero. I really enjoyed Ed's friendly, easy-to-talk-to, self-aware voice as well as his detailed descriptions of the character strengths and flaws of his close friends.

The best things about the book were some of the touching scenes and encounters with the people who Ed delivers messages to, and that he forms special friendships with them.
I Am the MessengerThere were also some pretty dark moments, particularly at the beginning of the book, which seemed designed to make the reader think about what they might do if they were in the same situation.

I thought it was a really enjoyable and original book!

Read my review here:
IAmTheMessenger by Marcus Zusak, review by Angie

04 September 2011

Ereader sales projections through Christmas 2011

I was curious to know what the latest projections are with regard to the sales of ereaders this coming Christmas season. Here is what I found:

ComputerWorld is projecting that sales will continue to increase, with Kindle being the leader.

SocialTimes is predicting a Kindle price below $50 by Christmas; also projecting free devices by next summer. (Is that a serious projection or tongue-in-cheek?)

Seriously, I do think that free devices are a possibility if the makers of the device can be pretty certain that buyers will fill the devices with books purchased from them. Not so far-fetched when thought of that way. Getting a device into the hands of someone who will then purchase content for it makes a lot of sense.

For myself, I feel that there will be price wars this Christmas season. I do think we'll see both Kindle and Nook below $100. I am guessing around $75; perhaps with a $50 price tag on Black Friday. It will be interesting to see what happens to the prices of the NOOK Color and iPad.
Kindle, Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Pearl DisplayBarnes and Noble NOOK eBook Reader (WiFi only) [ Black & White ]

I'd really, really like to see a drop in book prices. I've done my best this year to spend as little money on ebooks as possible. I've been reading a lot of free domain books (very slowly!) and also borrowing ebooks from our library's source. It's been working for me but I can certainly say that I am itching to use some B&N gift cards that I've been saving! I think I will make some purchases for myself sometime after Christmas. For now I am going to continue to work on reading books and ebooks that I already own.

03 September 2011

The Search for Delicious by Natalie Babbitt

Ah...the search for delicious...
what a lovely quest to embark upon.
THE SEARCH FOR DELICIOUS by Natalie Babbitt (1969 Hardcover in dust jacket, 159 pages. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Book Club Edition.)
The bulk of this quest is carried out by Vaungaylen. Gaylen, as he is known, was left by is mother, in a basket, at the gates of the castle. He was quickly adopted by Prime Minister DeCree. 

The Prime Minister began work on a dictionary when Gaylen was twelve years old.
The King was quite pleased with the Prime Minister's progress:
A: "He liked 'Affectionate is your dog'."
B: "Bulky is a big bag of boxes."
C: "Calamitous is saying no to the King."
D: "Delicious is fried fish."
But, no, that didn't please the king.

The King thought apples should be declared the most delicious.

It didn't please anyone else either.
The Queen thought Christmas pudding.
The Queen's trouble-maker brother piped up that his vote was for nuts.
The General stated that a mug of beer is delicious.

Gaylen was asked to set out around the kingdom gathering everyone's votes as to the best definition for "delicious".

In a land where "nothing" belongs to the people and the world is filled with mermaids, woldwellers, and dwarves, a minor story is interwoven in the main one.

Our little one (age five) and I have been reading this book for many months. She found it so interesting that she was able to remember very minor details of the story from one reading to the next. Today as I was writing this review she reminded me that someone had clearly affirmed a preference for "beer" as being delicious. Given that, I can say that this book can be used as a read-aloud selection for children as young as probably age four, perhaps a precocious age three. The first time I read this book it was to our two younger boys who were nearing ages seven and eight.

Natalie Babbitt also wrote Tuck Everlasting which I read in August 2007 and again in April 2008. I'm not much of a rereader of books and there isn't a lot of time between those two readings. The prose with which she wrote Tuck Everlasting really satisfied me and so I returned to it very soon. The Disney film adaptation of Tuck Everlasting is also very well done. 
Tuck para siempreTuck Everlasting

My Review of Tuck Everylasting by Natalie Babbitt

02 September 2011

Found (The Missing, Book 1) by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Found is the first book in the "Missing" trilogy, published in 2008. 
Found (The Missing, Book 1)The book opens to 13 year old Jonah who is perplexed about a letter he received in the mail. He soon finds out that a new friend of his, Chip, has received the same letter. This connection leads to Chip discovering that, like Jonah, he was adopted.

Jonah's sister Katherine soon joins the boys in a quest to find out more about the letters they received. This is just the beginning of the excitement as the FBI soon proves to have a hand in the mix. Before you know it time travel is added to the plot!

Our 10 year old asked for this book for Christmas. He read it eagerly and couldn't wait to finish it! He also couldn't wait for me to read it so that we could discuss it! (I love that!) 

I've purchased the second in the series so that the two of us can enjoy reading it at the pool this summer!

I think the book was a good diversion for me as I was reading it while also deep in the depths of A Tale of Two Cities. For adults it certainly isn't heavy although the topics of adoption, and time travel are heavy ones. I think this book was just about perfect for a ten year old boy. (It has our son's stamp of approval, for sure!)

My review of Sent (Book 2 in the Missing trilogy) by Margaret Peterson Haddix

01 September 2011

Life is So Good by George Dawson

I read this in December 2004 and again in May 2008.

This book is a true winner if you love autobiographies or memoirs!
Life Is So Good: One Man's Extraordinary Journey through the 20th Century and How he Learned to Read at Age 98George was born January 1898 and died at age 103 years old in July 2001.

Talk about seeing change in the world! George was born to grandparents who were slaves. He was affected by racism to a true and great degree. He once saw a man lynched and that, of course, changed the course of his life.

He married and fathered seven children.

George couldn't read but it was a lifelong ambition of his. When someone knocked on his door to inspire interest in local adult education courses George determined that it just might be time for him to learn to read. He was 98 years old when he learned to read and write.

His book is written in a conversational tone. I'd have loved to spend some time with George. 
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