Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Book Review: "West with the Night" by Beryl Markham

     I read this for the "Real World Reads" non-fiction book club at the library for January 2014.  The only thing this book accomplishes is trying to use every adjective in the English language.  I absolutely hated it.  The only positive thing I have to say is that I finished it and that I never have to read another word of it ever again.  I would never recommend it to anybody...ever.

And so it goes...

Monday, January 6, 2014

Book Review: Inferno by Dan Brown

     I read this is three sittings, I thought it was excellent!  If you like the other Dan Brown books with Robert Langdon in them, then you will like this one.  It follows the same M.O. except he starts out with amnesia in this one.  I won't say too much else because it is a mystery book where he solves puzzles; what I will say is that the characters spend quite a bit of time in Florence, and although it does reference Dante's Inferno throughout the book, I do not think it would be necessary to have read Dante's work or the other Langdon books by Dan Brown in order to read this one.  The main character, Robert Langdon, is the sort of India Jones of symbols and art.  Each adventure can stand on its own and does not stem from previous events in the other novels.  The only nod to the other books is when he mentions the Vatican "doesn't like him either" to another character.  Since I am an art historian myself, I did know where they were heading for the various locations by the hints provided; however, I was still very surprised with the twists and turns in the plot and with the characters.  It was an enjoyable leisure read! 

And so it goes...

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Nook Glowlight Review - Love it!

     I love my new Nook Glowlight, in a nutshell: lightweight, easy to use, free books from libraries (EPUB/PDF), does not tire your eyes, read in any light level, really looks like a book, helpful staff at B&N (Barnes & Noble), can return it to a store if there are problems/no shipping nonsense.  For a more detailed account and picutres please read on!  
     I did quite a bit of research on dedicated eReaders and ultimately decided on the Nook Glowlight.  I thought I would share some pictures and why it is worth it.  I did not want a tablet for myself but an eReader.  We did purchase a tablet, I researched the heck out of that too, and decided on the Nexus 7.  We are very pleased with that as a tablet!  This purchase though was a dedicated eReader just for me, so I could use it for leisure reading and to have one very light item to carry with me to my classes.  Since I teach Humanities, I have quite a few novels to take with me to class meetings.  When I am 4-5 buildings away this is a heavy load to take around.  The Nook will let me carry one little 6 oz. item and have every novel for every class with me.
     So, to the pictures, taken from my camera and not altered by flash or anything else.  I want to show actual pictures that are not taken by a professional or for promotional purposes.  All photographs were taken in a half-lit or slightly dim room.  Sunlight is streaming in a bit from the left and a standing lamp is lighting it a bit from the right.  I read last night using the Glowlight at half setting in a room with only one standing lamp several feet away and it was wonderful.  I read for four hours and my eyes did not get tired.  It really is like having the page of a book in front of you, but with the ability to choose a font you like, a size font you like (I love large print), the spacing in between lines you like, the amount of margins you want, and it is infinitely lighter than a paperback.  It really is a customizable book that is extremely light and a total dream to use!
     FYI: it is guaranteed for one year, with a second year of coverage purchasable for $29.95.  Since everybody I talked to and all the reviews of the Nooks said they were still working after many years and that they just got the new Glowlight for that feature, I decided to go with the free one year.  The staff told me I had thirty days to change my mind though and add the second year if I so desired.

From B&N:
It was listed at $15, a super deal compared to the $40 one Amazon lists for their Kindle Paperwhite cover.  However, since I went to my local B&N store which had an additional 30% off sale, I got it for $10.  It has a slightly textured cover with canvas on the inside that has several pockets.  Extremely lightweight but durable and folds over easily for one-handed reading.
Front back


Folded over 

The screen images:
Unlocking screen 

Homepage - no Glowlight
Homepage - Glowlight halfway
Homepage - Glowlight all the way up
Book page - no Glowlight
Book page - Glowlight halfway

     I do not know if my camera does it justice, but the texts are true blacks with no pixelation or fuzziness whatsoever.  There is a slightly darker area at the top of the page with the Glowlight on but it did not bother me one bit.  There really is no text up there except the book title and it is not different enough that you would notice much, I think the lighting scheme is slightly different there: if you look closely you can see sort of LED-type dots on the top and these are not present on any of the other sides.  To turn the pages you simply tap the left or right side.  To look up definitions you hold your finger on the word for a few seconds and the dictionary function with the word highlighted pops up.  I thought this was such a useful feature!  You can also bookmark pages (seen above right), easily navigate book contents, and all of the other things they promise on the B&N website.
     I liked being able to go to the store to look at all of their models and play with them myself, even though I read a billion reviews of all the eReaders from a billion different sites (really, for about a month).  I was able to ask questions of the friendly staff who personally own different models, find out why they had the models they chose, and look at all of the covers in person.  The rubber-like sides to prevent damage if dropped are very soft and were also a selling feature for me.  God knows we all drop stuff and I have seen so many shattered iPhone images that I thought this was a very smart design idea.  I did not like the cover designed specifically for the Glowlight at all though, it was flat like a page that clipped on the side and folds over in some funky way that I didn't find useful.

     The cover I chose and the other ones designed for the Simple Touch were fine by me.  The only difference is if you have a Simple Touch you can push the back of the cover to turn it on and off.  Since the on and off button is on the upper left side of the Glowlight you cannot do that: this means you take a half a second to open the cover or turn it off before closing the cover.  To me, not a big deal at all to have both the front and back covered, easy fold over to hold it with one hand, it is light, and it can hold an I.D./business card/some papers/etc. and even with the cover on you can access the port to charge it.  This was the right choice for me to be able to put it into my purse/bag to take with me to classes, traveling, and so forth.

Compared to a regular size print paperback that is 300 pages:
Looking at the bottom/short side
Looking at the long side

     Now, one of the complaints I read in user reviews was that it only comes with a Micro-USB connector to charge at your computer, nothing to plug it into a wall outlet.  This is not a problem for me though because I bought this item at 5 Below for $3 a little while ago so I could connect my phone to my computer.  This item from Bytech lets you plug any Micro-USB to a computer or to a wall outlet, and it has a retractable cord so you get plenty of length out of it too.  So, $3 for my phone/Nook/Nexus 7/camera/etc. to either connect to/charge via computer or wall outlet.  Trust me, go buy one of these, best $3 I ever spent!  They are the first place I think of for electronic convenience items, covers, headphones, etc.  Why pay so much when you can get almost all of them for $3 to $5?

     One of the other reasons I chose the Nook Glowlight was that with the Kindle you cannot have EPUB files.  The Nook is ready to go for EPUB files.  Since I want to get my leisure reading for free from my fantastic local library this was a selling point for me.  Apparently you can eventually get EPUB files onto a Kindle but it requires some conversion of files and other jazz.  For the Nook I just put Adobe Digital Editions on my computer, plug in my Nook, and then transfer the files, voila!  It is an extra step because this is just an eReader, so unlike a tablet I cannot download it from my library's digital consortium directly via the app.  The Nook Glowlight does have Wifi though, so you can buy books from B&N with one touch.  They have tons for $2.99 and under, and they did give me a free $5 credit for my purchase of the Nook, so I got The Book Thief by Markus Zusak for free ($4.99).  
     I did try downloading the same EPUB book (Dan Brown, Inferno) from my library on the Nexus 7 directly though, and I have to say it takes one second on the Nook to transfer the files and it is so much more pleasurable to read on the Nook because of the lighting system.  The Nexus 7 battery would also not be at 90% after four hours of reading like my Nook was, with the Glowlight on.  The Nexus 7 reader app from Google Play is nice, but it is just harder on the eyes because of it being back-lit (more like reading on a computer screen than a book) and also much harder on the battery life of the Nexus 7. It uses the Overdrive Media Console app to get to my library's digital consortium and download the book.  It is also not easy to transfer it over to the Google Play reader, I spent much time looking for the answer to that on the Internet, most results on the forum here, basically telling you to get other apps:

Now, for EPUB/PDF/etc. to your Nook:
-Where to download Adobe Digital Editions (free) for EPUB, PDF/A, etc.: 
-A huge list of all the supported devices:
-What it looks like on your screen (right-click, copy to computer/device, Nook, done!):

That is all of the info. that I think you would need to help you decide if the Nook Glowlight is the eReader for you.  I hope the information and the pictures help you!  I personally love it and think it is a wonderful device!  It really is a two-click process to get EPUB books from the library, and only a one-click process to purchase books.  The two-clicks for free books doesn't bother me, especially since I am never actually away from a computer, they are everywhere (home, office, friends/family, library, etc.).  Happy reading!

And so it goes...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary

Starts at 1:50pm Central

Sunday, October 20, 2013

I am extremely fondue of this...

Insert cheese pun here________
Insert Eurythmics pun here________

And so it goes...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Coffee With Your Face in Foam

Want your coffee with your picture on it?  Well if you are in Taiwan, you now have that option thanks to "Let's Cafe" kiosks.  Interested patrons of this coffee art can go into convenience stores, upload their photo to the coffee machine, and then it “prints” their photo onto their drink.

You can see more pictures and a video of the process here: 

And so it goes...

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The 12th Doctor is Revealed!

BBC has announced the 12th Doctor of the Doctor Who series will be Peter Capaldi, the reveal video is below.

Interesting choice, we will see how it all works out!

This article summarizes his filmography a bit for those who are not terribly familiar with him (the list on IMDB is huge).

And so it goes...

Blog Awards

Here are a few awards this blog has received thanks to some kind folks!

Friends and Favorites Award

Friends and Favorites Award
given 05/20/2009 by SquirrelQueen (

One Lovely Blog Award

One Lovely Blog Award
given on 07/23/2009 by Juanita (