Posted in Weekly Reading

What I’m Reading Oct 4

So, I decided to get back to blogging and then came down with the flu. I missed all of the Banned Book Week activities, getting started with Dewey’s pre-readathon challenge, and National Coffee Day. Talk about a major bummer. The only good thing to come of being a walking zombie is getting unlimited reading time in, guilt-free, which means I was able to start a few books while being laid up.

MontstressFirst off, I started a new graphic novel, Monstress, Vol. 1 by Marjorie M. Liu and artist Sana Takeda. I’m only a couple pages in, so I haven’t formed an opinion yet. The artwork, however, is impressive and compelling. I thought this graphic novel would be a perfect accompaniment for this time of year. From Goodreads:

Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steam punk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers.

grey mask Secondly, I began an eBook by Patricia Wentworth titled Grey Mask. It’s supposed to be a cozy mystery type of book. Set in London, post-war (I haven’t read any indications which war, but I’m assuming WWI. I could be wrong though. It’s really hard to tell from the context clues or lack thereof.) this is a tale of Charles, who has returned to his childhood home after being jilted by his fiance. His father has passed away and he’s returned home from abroad to claim his inheritance. Upon his arrival, he happens upon several uninvited guests in his house discussing some scheme or conspiracy. Deciding to remain hidden, Charles hires a lady detective, Miss Silver, to try and sort out the mystery on his own rather than go to the police.

I’m just short of halfway through the book and so far, it’s ok. The dialogue comes off as being written for a screenplay rather than a book so it’s different, but not hard to follow. The characters are a little one dimensional. I’m waiting to see if some development will occur as the story goes on. As for the mystery itself, I have no idea what’s going on, so I guess it’s a good one, lol. This is supposed to be the first book in the Miss Silver series, but it’s really hard to believe that an entire series is centered on Miss Silver whom we only see sporadically in the novel. She seems like a tertiary character rather than the main one. We’ll see, I guess.

Queens Lastly, I started Queens of the Conquest:  England’s Medieval Queens by Alison Weir. I am a huge fan of Weir’s and appreciate and respect her writing, opinions, and history that she imparts expertly about England’s monarchy. Her biography about Henry VIII was what started my journey into learning more about England’s history, which blossomed into learning about other nations and periods in history. Anyway, I’ve only just started this book and between being really tired and having to take notes on every page (because I can’t help myself), I’m only in the first chapter, lol. I’m enjoying it so far though and can’t wait to really get into the meat of it. Please click on the book’s title for a link to the Goodreads page. I didn’t want to include a lengthy description here.

How’d you bring in the month of October? Are you reading anything you’d recommend?

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Posted in Industry News

E-Books: Trendy Fad or Taking Over the Universe?

eBook vs Print

I read an article yesterday that discussed how the sales for tablet devices are down. Is there supposed to be a correlation between this statistic and eBook sales? Considering that I read this article on Digital Book World, I think that might’ve been their point. Then, I read an article published on the Library Journal’s website about how some college book stores have stopped selling books. I guess this means they need a name change, huh? Are eBooks taking over the world? Is this the beginning of the end for print books?

This is a subject that has been debated for quite some time now. As a library and information science student, debating eBooks versus print books and the death of libraries comes up…A LOT. I even recently saw an article (I don’t remember where off the top of my head) that said something about how the trend of reading for pleasure is making a comeback. Making it sound like being literate is a fad. Hello!!

Deckle_edge_book_(Chaucer)
Deckle edge

First of all, I think it’s complete ignorance to think that the evolution of books and how they’re distributed means the end of libraries. Circulating print books is a fraction of the services that a library provides. A library is an institution for preservation. It’s much, much more than just books. Secondly, the advent of written communication began on the walls of caves and on papyrus scrolls. eBooks are just yet one more way of getting literature out there. As for print books, maybe, just maybe, there will be a decrease, eventually, in the amount of editions of a book that are printed. Someday. But I don’t think printed books will ever go completely the way of the dinosaur. Why? Because there is something about the beauty of a magnificent cover of a book that doesn’t come through on the digital version. There is the feel of a book cover. Some are like velvet, some are textured, some are embossed, some are shimmery, some are matte, some are metallic. None of that comes through in an eBook. Sometimes, the edges of the pages of a book are unique. Some are painted black, or red, or gold. Some have the deckle edging. Some pages are smooth while others are rough. I always run my hand down the page of a new book to see what kind of paper it was printed on. Then you have truly unique books like Horrorstor which was printed to look exactly like an Ikea catalog. If you haven’t seen the absolute beauty of this book for yourself, in person, I highly suggest that you make a trip to your nearest bookstore. Holding that book is an experience in and of itself. You simply cannot get these tangible, sensory experiences with eBooks.

Dust Jacket
Horrible image, but this is the inside of the dust jacket on Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See. Can you see how it shimmers? This is a perfect example of why printed books are better than eBooks.

eBooks serve a purpose and I have hundreds downloaded on my various apps. They’re convenient, They travel very well. If you have a tablet device like an iPad, you can read them in multiple formats all on one device and then use that device for various other apps. They store much nicer. If you have a “lendable” version of a book, they’re much easier to lend to a friend and you don’t have to worry about never getting them back. Some come as enhanced versions like my Kindle version of Lauren Oliver’s Pandemonium that comes with X-Ray (whatever that is) videos, text to speech, and other stuff. I haven’t read this yet, so I haven’t explored all the extras. How cool is that though?

All that being said, until they figure out how to digitally reproduce the smell, look, and feel of a real book and the experience of aimlessly meandering around my favorite bookstore just so that I can be there amongst books, for me, there will never be anything like the real experience of holding a beautifully printed book in my hand.