Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My Holiday Reading Renaissance

I didn't read quite as many books this year as I normally do (but I came pretty close).  However, December has been a good month for me.  During this vacation alone, I've finished The Death of Ivan Ilyich (Tolstoy), Walden (Thoreau), Lost Books of the Oddysey (Zachary Mason), and Swann's Way, Volume 1 of Proust's masterpiece In Search of Lost Time.  For icing on the cake, I've got a few more in flight.

No doubt this is partly due to having some free time to sit down and read.  But, I can't underestimate the "Kobo effect", which encourages me by giving rewards (think Xbox achievements or Playstation trophies), giving frequent discounts on ebooks, and giving me all kinds of statistics on my reading habits.

Hopefully I can carry this momentum into next year and will continue to read many books. 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The iPad Before Christmas

I spent most of yesterday configuring my wife's new iPad.  I've had mine for a few months, so I was pretty familiar with the device.  It still took most of the day to get all of the applications she wanted, to log into everything for the first time, and to get everything customized to her liking.

When registering, Apple asked what was the primary reason for purchasing the device.  We selected "eReader".  It really was the best choice though I would have laughed at this suggestion just a few years ago.  Being hardcore bibliophiles (who can appreciate an exquisitely crafted volume) and owners of first generation Kindle devices, I didn't really see much need in using the iPad as a reading device.  But, that is what I do.  Everyday.  All the time.  I would say I easily do ninety-five percent of my reading on the iPad now (and I read quite a bit).

Multiple eReading apps have arisen (iBooks, Kindle, Nook, Google Books, Kobo, Stanza,...) to give plenty of options.  Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it really comes down to which features are important to you.  I do most of my reading of late using Kobo.

Of course the devices do many other things too.  Today we will reap the fruits of yesterday's configuration.  We can sit down and have some fun with the devices.  And get some reading done too. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Reflections on Walden

I finally got around to reading Thoreau's Walden.  Good book, but I can't believe they have high school kids reading it.  The very beginning and the very end contain most of the philosophical bits, while the middle is a pleasant meditation on getting away from society and observing nature.  With no discernible plot, I don't think this book would hold most people's attention.

Still, if you're in the mood for that sort of thing some winter's day, it is a worthy read.