Saturday, October 31, 2009

Join my New Year's 26 Books initiative!

Lately I've been struggling with the concept of time. "Time flies!" When will I ever finish all of my work? How is it Hallowe'en already? Christmas is just around the corner! The underlying theme being that time is a precious commodity and I never seem to have enough of it, and more importantly, fail to distribute any time for myself. It's ironic that we all seem to accept the concept of working overtime, yet we struggle with the idea of "living overtime." It shouldn't be that I'm creating Summer Reading Wishlists... I should commit time for myself to pursue my passion for reading all year round. And I really think that I should be able to do this free from guilt.
So, I'm intrigued by the original purpose of the book blog, "26 books." This idea began on Shane Richmond’s blog in 2006. As part of a plan to motivate himself to read more, Shane decided to read 26 books in a year. He completed the task with a couple of weeks to spare. For 2007, he decided to invite some friends to join him. The target was to have read and reviewed 156 books by the end of 2007. In fact the total was 167, although only 3 of the participants made it to the target of 26....
What a great way to establish a commitment for my love of reading throughout the year. So, I've decided to do the 26 books initiative and I plan to start in January. I haven't decided yet if I will pre-select the 26 books ahead of time (yesterday, I lamented in a blog post about the trouble with anticipated expecatations for great reads) or let the books come to me as the weeks roll by.
Anyone interested in joining this initiative with me? Are you a passionate reader but never have the time between work brought home, running kids to dance class, hockey, groceries, housework -- ok, well, I've never let this one interfere with my time-- making dinner, walking the dog, laundry --again, purely an example, but I think you get the picture? Let your New Year's resolution be about pursuing something that you love. For those of us who always choose the "I'll re-start my diet" resolution, this will support two resolutions at once. Put down the Hershey bar and pick up a decadent novel instead! Switch your focus from 2lbs a week to 200 pages a week. Get some exercise by walking the stacks at your local library or favourite bookstore.
We don't have to read the same books, in fact it might be interesting to hear comments and posts regarding many books as the year unfolds. An informal book chat versus a "book club."
Not sure what to start with? One of my favourite reads this year was The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
Send me a message or comment directly to this post to join the "26 books" movement.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Back to Blogging...... a Paperless Reader

I can't believe how much time has slipped by since my last blog post. The summer has passed quickly by, and I did manage to read several of the books on my Summer Wish List as I had previously posted. So here I am well into Autumn and finally returning to my blog.
One of the things that has captured my attention in the last few months was my birthday present, a Sony e-reader. I had wanted an e-reader for quite some time and since Kindle is so slow coming to Canada, I decided on the Sony PRS 505 model. Basically, I've gone completely paperless in my reading. The reader weighs about 9 oz and is enclosed in a leather cover to simulate a "book". The screen has several layers of grayscale technology and is essentially "virtual paper". There are various sizes of fonts and it did take me awhile to move away from large to smaller font sizes. There is no computer glare phenomenon with this device and I find that I read much faster because with a quick press/or toggle of a button, the page turns. The battery is good for about 7000 page turns. You can download text in pdf, lit form and the Sony files convert to lrf files. I have downloaded a converter that takes a file format such as .lit and converts it to .lrf and sends the file directly to my reader. I can purchase books through the online Sony book store and there are several sites where books can be shared or borrowed. Sony has reached an agreement with Google and over 500 000 texts in the public domain are available free online. (These are similar to Project Gutenberg files - so all the great classics are readily available. I've now got all my favourite Dickens and Austen novels on my reader.) My reader has 162 novels on the actual hard drive and then there are 2 slots for memory cards. I'm using one 2G card right now and have stored 1000 novels on this card and have 1.5G remaining. How amazing is that to have my own personal library at my disposal! I don't know if I'll ever read these 1162 novels, but to have the choice at my fingertips, wow! Its great for the cottage and works well out in the sunlight. Instead of carting a box of books with me in the boat, I bring my reader and my charger and I'm set. I also take it with me when I travel as it takes up such a small amount of space in my overnight bag. I can also download many work papers in pdf form to read while I am away. Ok, I've never done this, but its nice the option is available for me. There is the option to download my RSS feeds as well, but I primarily use this for my personal reading. I prefer to use my google reader on my PC for RSS, because then I can not only read these, but link to subsequent pages and view videos and pods, etc.
And speaking about personal reading, a few comments about Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. I read this with perhaps too much anticipation and felt really let down. I enjoyed the first two Robert Langdon stories, especially Angels and Demons and have to say that this third installment left me disappointed. Was it because of the location? Washington and Freemasons? I loved the European settings of the first two books. The Louvre, Paris, Rome, the Vatican... great history, very romantic. Maybe I've watched National Treasure one too many times, but I felt like I'd heard the storyline before. For me, very anticlimatic.
The other book that I'd been hyped up about was Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife. Without being a spoiler, ewww! The leg bit put me right over the top. I also found the erratic time traveling confusing, trying to keep straight the events of past, present and future. The Clare/Henry age difference, nude man, young girl scenario was a bit creepy for me. Henry was a downer of a character all the way through, and although I liked Clare, she was quite the downer enabler. I felt that I expended so much energy to get through this book. Am I getting too picky?
I'm not finished with the books on my Summer Wish List, but I'm wondering if by creating this list, through my anticipation of their greatness, I've set my expectations too high?
I really want to be swept away by a truly great book. Any suggestions?