Category Archives: Books

Amazon Brick-and-Mortar Book Store

Went to the Amazon brick-and-mortar store at a local mall yesterday. It was very polished. Not a lot of “depth” to their stock, but not bad. And I like that prices match the online store for Amazon Prime members.
Very conflicted. On one hand I love seeing a bookstore back in the mall! That’s something I’ve missed and hated see closing at so many malls. Anything that promotes and supports people reading actual books is great!
On the other hand… it’s Amazon. I feel like they devastated the small local bookstores (as well as even some of the chains). And now that that phase is complete, they replace them. Cue evil laughter.

E-Books Update for Early 2014

Just wanted to give an update on my slow but steady transition to E-Books – a process that took on new urgency when we went from suburban life to apartment renters in downtown San Diego.

As someone who has spent a lifetime collecting, reading, and cherishing physical books, this has been a challenging journey. As the technology gets better, it has become easier though.

With my latest acquisition of the new Nook Glowlight (the one released at the end of 2013, not to be confused with the Nook SimpleTouch Glowlight which was its predecessor) this transition has become even easier to accept.

In the beginning, E-Books were read either on a Mac or PC, and the mobile hardware was pretty clunky. Today we have Retina iPads and very nice E-Ink readers. My latest Nook is E-Ink, and although my original Nook was also, this one is miles ahead.

It’s actually getting to the point where in many ways I’m preferring reading on my Nook versus a physical hardcover. Sure, this was always the case when portability was the main factor. “Hey, I can take ten novels with me on the plane, and it takes up less space and weight than one hardcover!”

But now I’m finding that the technology has improved to the point where even when the weight and size isn’t an issue, the experience is as good or better.

What factors are bringing about this change? Here they are, in no particular order.

  • Incredible reductions in size and weight. My new Nook weighs about the same as a moderate paperback, and about half of what a really think paperback weighs.
  • Higher resolution screen. It’s getting pretty close (~210dpi) to printed resolution. Close enough that it’s not obvious that it’s an electronic page rather than a paper one.
  • Frontlight for reading in the dark. The new Glowlight is pretty good, with only some mild darkening at the very top of the page. Fantastic for low-light situations. And since it’s front-light versus back-light like an iPad etc. it should have less of the sleep-impacting effects that have been reported for LCD displays.
  • No page-flip “flash” that previous generations of E-Ink typical had.

And then there’s the other factors that have been present for a while: The ability to carry hundreds of books, weeks of battery life, and (if reading a book purchased from Barnes & Noble) the ability to read those books on my iPhone or iPad with my place in the book being synced between the devices. Oh, and not having to try and hold a book open when eating lunch etc. is pretty nice as well.

I’m not ready to abandon my physical books just yet – nothing is going to replace that experience. But for my general reading, I think I’m about at the point where I no longer see switching to E-Books as a necessary compromise to accommodate our new less-burdened lifestyle, but as a pretty nice way to enjoy reading.

Favorite Robert A. Heinlein Books

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These are all novels..  RAH was a terrific short-story writer.  That list will take longer to compile…

Presented in rough order of my rating (within each grouping).
 
Classic Heinlein:
Glory Road
The Door Into Summer
The Puppet Masters
Methuselah’s Children
Double Star
 
These are probably considered some of his “Juveniles”, but all of his stuff is readable by adults (and especially by adults who are still young at heart!):
Have Space Suit-Will Travel
Citizen Of The Galaxy
Star Beast, The
Tunnel in the Sky
The Rolling Stones
 
 
New Heinlein:

The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress
Stranger In A Strange Land (not the “uncut” version)
Time Enough For Love  (after Methusula’s Children)
JOB: A Comedy of Justice
Friday
 
 
AVOID these unless you just have to read all his books, or you are stranded on a desert island:
The Cat Who Walks Through Walls
The Number of the Beast
Farnham’s Freehold
I Will Fear No Evil
To Sail Beyond The Sunset