Sunday, February 28, 2010

Paying it off

When I got my Sony Reader PRS-600, I knew I wasn't going to be spending money on eBooks. The device was to be used exclusively for free reading material. Meant to reduce the costs of my reading habits, it was hoped that the device would "pay itself off" within a reasonable lifespan.

Assume all books cost $12. They don't, but go with it. The device costs $300 (it seemed so much cheaper back in October, but now Sony is much more expensive than competitors... that should change). 300 divided by 12 equals 25. Now look at books costing $15 (close to reality). Now the number is 20. Basically, somewhere between 20-25 free books read on the device "pays it off". And so my silver Sony has given me my money back. Cool.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Zakładka w książce 2 - Zakopane

This week's addition to the Bookmarking series comes from the lovely town of Zakopane, Poland. Even in early autumn, the mountains were snow-capped and the atmosphere quaint. While visiting Poland with a group, it was decided everybody would, in addition to buying gifts for family and friends, get a small trinket for themselves. With ten minutes to go before rendezvous, I found myself darting in and out of the shops, trying to find the one "self gift". About 2 minutes before needing to board the buses, I saw a small display at the front of one of the stores with a series of bookmarks sticking out.

"A message from above," joked one of my fellow travelers, knowing my, ahem, fondness for reading. "1 złoty," the woman behind the counter said. I paid hurriedly and grabbed the first one I saw, a soft, dark green bookmark adorned with flowers and the name of the town: Zakopane. Once aboard the bus, a fellow traveler asked, "So what did you buy yourself?" "A bookmark," I answered plainly.

The fellow traveler raised one eyebrow. "How am I not surprised?"

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Br. writes, Bi. types

In response to the "Not the TV Book Group"'s reading of Philippe Claudel's "Brodeck's Report" ("Brodeck" in the U.S.), I wanted to share my thoughts. Verbivore recommended the book, and I was pleased to see it getting more exposure. Realizing, though, that I'd missed the official date (blast!), I thought back to the things I wrote about this novel in June. Among my papers, I also found a typewritten sheet where I'd quoted from the English translation (which is not the one I originally read) and discussed the book at length (but with numerous spoilers). At dovegreyreader scribbles, several commenters discussed the typewritten aspects of the book, suggesting that the occasional blips might be meant to parallel the story itself. The entire discussion is fascinating, and as a hat tip to the interesting points raised, I offer one of my favorite passages from the book (I don't think it's much of a spoiler but I suggest caution anyways), childishly and amateurishly typewritten from a few months ago:

Click to enlarge

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bookmarking 1 - Banned

The bookmarking feature starts out with a free addition to the bookmark collection, courtesy of the ALA:

I picked these up for free this year during Banned Books Week, liking the variety in the colors and style. And what a good bookish motto: Speak. Know. Read.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


I knew there was a reason why I loved Gutenberg (especially now that I have an eReader): there's a Pirates, Buccaneers, Corsairs, etc. bookshelf.

I have no idea who makes these, but thank you.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bookmarking - an introduction

One thing I prefer in visiting physical bookstores over the internet variety are the bookmarks. Enter a random store in a random country in a random town and you can find the official store bookmark, either advertising local events, providing information (store hours, locations, etc.), or just random words of wisdom. Even my favorite of booksellers on the internet have so far failed to indulge my obsession.

No longer. The Book Depository is calling for my money for numerous reasons (free international shipping, anyone?), but now there's one more reason on the list urging me to take advantage of their deals - the bookmark competition. Hundreds of very cool looking bookmarks were submitted, with twenty intriguing and varied winners. Of the winners, my favorites are probably Ricardo Reis' and Damien Kavanagh's - both bookmarks would be excellent additions to my collection. Among those that didn't win, a few other great ones (and some other ones):

As a longtime appreciator of bookmarks and a more recent active collector, looking at these charming artistic displays made me ponder the bookmarks I already have, culminating in the following: next week will start a running feature of various bookmarks in my possession (or ones I encounter). While I know mine won't have the charm the Book Depository's entries have, I know there are some funny stories behind them and a couple of real beauties. And even though the Book Depository doesn't exist in the "real" world, it's going to be providing me with tangible evidence of my purchases there, via my collection. Kudos for that.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Salinger storytime

With J. D. Salinger's passing last week, the floodgates opened to obituaries, speculations, and mass reevaluation of his life works. Included in this unsurprising ritual, critics and readers around the world felt the need to announce once again the bond they shared with Holden Caulfield. As a reader who was not taken with "Catcher in the Rye" (in fact, it ranks as one of the most disappointing books I've ever read - not necessarily the worst, but disappointingly bad. And no, I didn't study it in school), I've found myself over the last week avoiding the topic - avoiding Salinger altogether.

What resulted with the obituaries and summaries and essays was one emerging, shining hope: that Salinger continued writing and now, after his reclusive death, many works will come to light. Fans are excited and anticipate excellent stories never brought to light because of the author's deep dislike of actually publishing things (the opposite of most writers today). As a non-fan, it's hard to sympathize with the excitement, even as I recognize it. Instead, I find myself wanting to read Salinger's oft-praised shorter works, if only to understand why I disliked "Catcher in the Rye" so much.

So fans of J. D. Salinger, as you look to the future and the stories that may emerge, I turn to the past and the stories Salinger did publish. Here's to hoping none of us are disappointed by what we find.