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?


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