Monday, April 30, 2012

eReader envy?

So I may be coming to this discussion a little late, but for those of you out there who have been lurking as well, jump right on in with me.

I want an eReader.

Why? I have no EARTHLY idea!! I tend to buy second hand books or from Idies as often as I can get near them, so having an eReader and tying myself to the big boys of Amazon and Barnes & Noble seems a bit anti-indie to me.

Yet I want an eReader

Which is SILLY!! Because..... I recently downloaded the Kindle Reader App for my laptop and now can read any ebook in the world (basically) on my nice Mac screen. And not only that, I can down load a book and store it on my Amazon Cloud (my free Amazon Cloud) and pick up where I left off no matter where I am. My computer at work has the reader app, my laptop has the reader app. The computer at my dad's house has the reader app. My library goes with me everywhere. And to keep things fair and balanced, Nook has the same app. And with my app I can check out eBooks from the library too, so I"m not 100% saddled to lining the pockets (directly) at the giants of the digital media world.


Yet I want an eReader

So what's wrong with me? I mean technically I HAVE an eReader!

Am I just so commercialized that I'm addicted to the getting? To the having and holding? Am I suffering from eReader-Envy? Am I addicted to the receipt collection that's taking over my desk and the darkest recesses of my purse? It's more than just that kindles and Nooks are easier to hold. I have my laptop with me most of the time anyway. So it has to be a gadget-mania symptom of some kind.

Something like that least. The only legitimate rationalization I can come up with is I want to know how to use it (and even some of the apps that come with it) so I don't fall behind the learning curve. I do fear that. Especially <whisper> at my age </whisper>

One of these days I'm sure I'll cave. Until then I do enjoy the benefits these apps are allowing me.

What about you? Did you pick a reader? Did it take like forever for you to figure out which one you wanted? Did you try the PC/MAC apps at all?

It's a lot to consider on a Monday! Must be the weather.

Laura


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Expensive reading!!

  http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/reading-royals-fan-displays-just-one-way-cope-223407810.html

I understand the seat our biblio-dedicated fan is reading in goes for upwards of $240 bucks! Maybe we'd have to know his family to know weather or not this was a bargin!

ANNNNND
Afterall....

It was WORLD BOOK NIGHT!! :)

I say Atta Boy!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

REVIEW: Empire of the Summer Moon (etc)

Title: Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History 

Author: S.C Gwynne 

Pages: 319

 Why I Read This Book: Recommended to me by our company owner who shares a love of reading. 

Rating: 3/5





Synopsis From Goodreads:
                                In the tradition of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, a stunningly vivid historical account of the forty-year battle between Comanche Indians and white settlers for control of the American West, centering on Quanah, the greatest Comanche chief of them all.
S. C. Gwynne’s Empire of the Summer Moon spans two astonishing stories. The first traces the rise and fall of the Comanches, the most powerful Indian tribe in American history. The second entails one of the most remarkable narratives ever to come out of the Old West: the epic saga of the pioneer woman Cynthia Ann Parker and her mixed-blood son Quanah, who became the last and greatest chief of the Comanches.

My Review/Opinion: 
 
My initial reaction to the book in general is that is was:
1)   This book was 100% completely mis-named!! Quanah's name shouldn't have been in the title at all since it wasn't until the last 1/8th of the book that his story, or it's bearing on the then defunct Indian Nation, came into play. And frankly I felt Quanah was the Native version of Uncle Tom. I'd have rather seen it called Lords of the Plains (which Gwynne referred to the Comanches as in the book and the name seemed very appropriate)

2)  This was a heavily researched, dare I say Overly Detailed response to the extreme romanticism that Native Americans of the 1700 and 1800's are seen with by your average, misinformed Euro-American.
They were not always noble, or spiritual. Sometimes they were brutal. Heinously so. And NOT always 'just in response to the intrusion of the arrogant white man'. 
 
But the battle details, (the many, many battle details), and the atrocity details, (the many, many, many atrocity details) were a bit taxing to read. 
 
While some of the book attempted to intersperse prose it mainly seemed forced and for the majority of the book the narrative read more text-bookish. Which is fine and interesting, just not what I was expecting based on other reviews I'd read that touted the writing. (personally one of my pet peeves is passive voice. 'Joe would go on to become the greatest sailor ever', instead of active 'Joe became the greatest sailor'. It's a style thing I suppose, but it drives me crazy and Gwynne used it allllll the time!).
 
I'm actually am so glad I read this book! The history was amazing and the inevitability of the abrupt changes that came to the Plains Indians is so tragic I am at a loss on how things could have turned out otherwise, with the exception of the white man not breaking every treaty made or Comanches not attacking every wagon that passed through the plains. 
 
I've seen reviews that said this book was rife with bigotry and stereotyping. While I did see a bit of that I think it was meant to be more reflective of the attitudes of the American pioneers of the day than what Gwynne actually thinks of them. He does not mask the fact that there was brutality from both sides of these Cowboy and Indian wars. 
 
There is lots to learn about how our country came to be. If Gwynne's research is a fair representation of what really happened, and from the bibliography and citations if it's not fair it certainly is prolific!
 
If you can stomach the details and go into this book with open historical mind, this book will remind you of why it was called The Wild West.

Monday, April 23, 2012

World Book Night 2012

I wish I wasn't broke this week. If I had some disposable income (really, Prom was last weekend and I have TWO teenage daughters) I would have loved to have gone and gotten copies of my favorite books, my favorite kids books especially and donated them to the local 'kid warehouse' aka daycare facility.
Books like,
I love the cute and cuddly kitties on this book!!

There may not be many of you out there that remember this one. It was so special to me not only because it practically epitomized my midwest and trips to grama's farm (literally) but the farm even had an old blue truck with those wooden side thingies. Ah Nostalgia :)

ok and how about ANYTHING Beatrix Potter




Soooo beautiful and the prose is unmatched!!

And my eternal favorite which not only goes with World Book Night but also yesterday's Earth Day celbration:



I could give away a zillion of these books!! So wonderful!!

So, now to continue my enjoyment of this awesome bookish night, I 'm going to go finish my book :)


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Dewey's Read-a-thon cheerleader

Go Readers! It your birfday! We gonna read like! It your birfday! (ok maybe not all of you can hear the song I'm parody-ing in your head, but its funny as heck in mine)

It Read-a-thon day!!

One of these times I may actually even be able to join in!

But not today. Because it's also

Junior Senior Prom day here in our town and, well, I have TWO teenage daughters. I do have some lulls in the drama schedule for getting ready and pictures so I'm going to try to cheer some folks on!! Maybe do a mini-challenge with you!

I'm reading a book right now I'm becoming tired of so I'd sure like to be able to just 'nose to the grindstone' through it with you all today!! I'll see how far I get :)

For instance over at Book Apetit! The mini challenge this hour is as follows:

Take one of the books you are reading today.  Now lets pretend that you are going to have a book discussion with friends regarding that book.  They are all coming over to your house and you are providing food and beverage to go with said book. 
  1. Title and author of the book

2.  The menu:  the food, the beverage (if you want you can go as far plan background music, decor, whatever.  :D )


I'm reading Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches (etc) by S.C. Gwynne

I'd be serving Buffalo Burgers, Cowboy Beans, Indian Bread and Sasparilla! :)

So yeah, have fun guys! I'll try to post again later but hey this really has been fun!! 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pulitzer Revisited

So in a time when the book industry could sure use a shot in the arm, the Pulitzer people have gone and shot it in the foot....basically.


So they didn't pick a winner for fiction. We all know to the general population this looks like there was no winner because there were no good books. Despite the fact that it's more the opposite, there were good books that were so good they couldn't come to a majority on which was better because they were, apparently, soooo good. (in a nutshell)

 I was sad anyway. For one it's been a goal of mine to read all the Pulitzer winners. (not that I'm getting very far on that...but that's another post.)

For another I like the literary buzz it creates. The discussions it instigates and my TBR list usually grows... again... by more than just the winner.

But then again, this 'no winner' business is certainly creating A LOT of buzz! And discussion. So mission accomplished??

Now I really want to read all of the nominees in order to see what the heck the problem was!
And the nominees are:
Now comes the part where...using the Oscars as an example, the glamorous, famous, presenters take the unopened envelope and just... leave.

But while I was poking around over at the Pulitzer Prize site ( http://www.pulitzer.org/awards/2012 )... I did find a few potential gems just sitting there, looking quite eclipsed.

Like this winning biography:

 The full scope of George Kennan's long life and vast influence is revealed by one of today's most important Cold War scholars. Yale historian Gaddis began this magisterial history almost 30 years ago; the result is a remarkably revealing view of how this greatest of Cold War strategists came to doubt his strategy and always doubted himself. ~ synopsis from goodreads.



oooo Sounds intriguing!!

And when was the last time I voluntarily read poetry?? (shame on me, way too long ago) Try this winner:


New poetry by the award-winning poet Tracy K. Smith, whose “lyric brilliance and political impulses never falter” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

You lie there kicking like a baby, waiting for God himself
To lift you past the rungs of your crib. What
Would your life say if it could talk?
And this is totally on my TBR list the winner for General Non-fiction:
One of the world's most celebrated scholars, Stephen Greenblatt has crafted both an innovative work of history and a thrilling story of discovery, in which one manuscript, plucked from a thousand years of neglect, changed the course of human thought and made possible the world as we know it. ~ goodreads.

Uh huh! Sound GREAT!!! I can't wait to get to it!
 
So OK Pulitzer Fiction people, you may have stubbed the proverbial toe of  a part of this industry, but the whole is healthy and WILL make up for it. It may limp, but it will keep going!

Just, hey, please think this through for next year before the art you obviously truly love needs to limp away again.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Amazon's scoulding!

I admit it. I have on occasion bought <whisper> books from Amazon </whisper>. But let me explain!! I had a gift card! And anyway the closest physical bookstore is 40 miles away!! (seriously!) Except the Walmart partial book isle but that's a 'devil you know vs devil you don't' scenario anyway...

I state emphatically I'd rather buy every printed piece from amazing, homey, comforting, caring indie bookstores.... And my case for WHY I'd prefer that just increased exponentially with the Yahoo Fortune article on some prettttty shady practices being seen over on the big ole Amazon website.

 There are a number of books on Amazon with similar titles to much more popular ones. Fifty Shades of Grey, the steamy romance novel that has created buzz around the world, is the No. 1 selling book on Amazon. Also available on Amazon: Thirty-Five Shades of Grey. Both books are written by authors with two first initials – E. L. James and J. D. Lyte – and both are the first in a trilogy about a young girl who falls for an older, successful man with a taste for domineering sex. The publisher of the bestseller Fifty says the book is "a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever." The author and publisher of Thirty-Five, which came out in early April, apparently believe that description fits their book as well, word-for-word. Also selling on Amazon is I am the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Twilight New Moon. Neither is the book you are likely looking for.

Here's the link to the article: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/amazon-s-knock-off-problem--35-shades-of-grey--anyone--.html

So at first I'm reading along and yeah, it sucks that there are those out there that would create such works obviously specifically intent on customer deception. 35 shades of gray vs 50 shades of gray. It's a busy mother's worst nightmare!! In the midst of meal planning, kiddo tending, volunteer work, house keeping you glance down and viola HEY there's that book! click.

Only to find out...that's not that book, this is a knockoff!

At first I blamed unscrupulous, un-original, un-inspired, and un-talented authors....untillllll I read this little tidbit in the Yahoo Finance Article
 It's perhaps more shocking that Amazon (AMZN) not only sells the books, it's also helping their authors create them. All of the apparent copycat books that Fortune found on Amazon were made through CreateSpace, which is a division of Amazon. Authors can use CreateSpace's system to design and self-publish their own books. The books then go on sale on Amazon and other sites. Amazon splits the proceeds with authors. It's a different relationship than most publishers have with their authors, but there is no way for consumers to know that. On Amazon and other sites, CreateSpace is listed as the publisher of the books.

AMAZON!! SHAME ON YOU!!

For those of us that have snuck-a-buy from the internet giant from time to time there is hope for us. I know I will be atoning for my indiscretion by visiting my favorite indie stores' ..... online presence!!

(www.prairielights.com  in case YOU would like to step into the online indie scene too. And noooo I'm not affiliated with this shop in any way shape or form. I just like them!)

All in all, after reading Stehpen Gandel's article, I feel rather like the bully got sent to the corner in front of the whole class!! And wasn't that an awesome feeling??!!?? >:)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Top One Tuesday 4 16 12

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and it's a meme of lists.

This week's list is the Top Ten Tips for New Bloggers:

  1. Write something....anything... (this is a rule that I seem hell bent to break recently!) Half of why I read blogs is to get to know other bookish-folk. Everything you write helps me get to know you, even meme's!! So let it go, put it down, thwak those keys! I, for one, wanna hear from ya.

K~ since I'm not heeding my own tips at this point... I'll keep reading this week  and see what tips I CAN pick up.   :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

wha???

Ok so it's been sooo long since I've been able to hold a coherent thought and make a blog post that this is the first time I've seen bloggers new format. I feel like I'm in some writing fog still!

Now I really feel like a heel!!
 NOT THAT kind of heel... you know, just crappy!

Reviews I'm staring blankly at:
  • Under the Dome - while I liked it I didn't loooove it
  • Catching Fire - While I loved it, I should like it
  • and I'm not even sure what else.!!

And there are a whole slew of new books on my radar I haven't talked about
my obsession, thank to my youngest, with NCIS
some writing I'd like to do
And my new library that I'm putting together!


I haven't even gathered myself together to think through a meme! sheesh!

Deep healing breath, deep healing breath!

So. one topic at a time and maybe I can get back in the saddle here :)
I sure hope so, I miss you guys!!