Monthly Archives: October 2012

Stormdancer

Is that a gorgeous cover, or what?  And I want her tattoo.

Also, this is an awesome book that I took home, read overnight, went back to work on too little sleep, and immediately staff picked.

It is Japanese fantasy steampunk.

Sorry, what, you need more info?  Geez, fine.  Weirdo.

Swordfighting.  Demons.  Gryphons.  Magic.  Secret plots.  Royal intrigue.  Bionic engineers.  Airships.

Like… Jules Verne crossed with Naruto.   Apparently that gives you a 6’7″ author named Jay Kristoff.

Basically, up there with the coolest books ever.

 

Christie

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Bite Your Tongue!

I am naturally sarcastic, and kind of bitchy (be nice about the “kind of”) by nature.  So sometimes, it is really hard to not say anything in response to some customers.

“Hi, I’m looking for the Sleeping Beauty trilogy.”

“Oh, by Anne Rice?  Here you go.”

“Oh, it is three books.”

Yep, that’s why they call it a trilogy.

My favorite customer interaction of the week was a phone call, however.  A man called and asked, in a very thick Russian(?) accent, if we had the latest issue of “Combat Aircraft” magazine.  Which, when said in his accent, sounded automatically ominous, despite or perhaps because he was so polite.  Then he wouldn’t leave his name for the hold, only his initials.  I could write a whole cold war spy novel based on this phone call.  It was all a secret code, and the mission is a go.

Christie

 

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What the Heck is a Riffle?

Reading is trendy.  Who saw that coming?

How do I know?  Because Facebook is officially getting in on the game.  Today, I received the following invitation, which I’m assuming is targeted to people who are using the GoodReads app:

Introducing Riffle. The app that’s inspiring people
to discover great books and to read more.

Dear Christie,

Upon a preview, Publisher’s Weekly called it “the Pinterest of Book Discovery!?

Now, as an avid reader, you’ve been selected to receive an advance entry to Riffle. Just click here to request your reserved invitation.

Three things to know about Riffle:

  1. Riffle will give you direct access to your friends’ favorite books and also connect you with passionate readers who make amazing recommendations.
  2. Riffle will give you the insider view of what your favorite authors read and what books inspire them.
  3. Riffle is new, and being developed with care by a team who wishes to inspire you to enjoy great books and to read more.

Get advanced access (click here).

Warmest regards,
The Riffle Team

P.S. Riffle is better with friends, so please feel free to share your Riffle invitation with your reading friends.

Now, I am all about getting more people into reading, so this seems like a good thing to me.  Can anyone see any possible problems and pitfalls?  Are you excited and ready to jump on board?  Me, I will take all the book info I can get.

Christie

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Kobo Arc Review

Yesterday, I actually got my hands on an Arc.  So here is the skinny: it looks pretty cool.

It is about the same size and weight as the Kobo Vox (about the weight of a trade paperback), and has a 7″ screen.  The screen is HD-really crisp HD, actually.  I noticed while using it a little lessening of responsiveness at the top of the screen, but that might have been because of all the people who just ate ice cream sandwiches (because it runs Android ice cream sandwich, get it? Food marketing tie-ins are my favorite) and then put their grubby fingers all over it.  It now has a front camera, so it’s suitable for Skype, but any photo taking will either have to be blind, or always starring you.

Kobo took inspiration from the popularity of Pinterest, and created an interface it calls “Tapestries”.  Basically, you create bulletin boards, and pin anything you want to them.  This includes videos, photos, books, music, Twitter… and it will make suggestions about additional content you might find interesting.  I noticed that (gasp) it was suggesting content that wasn’t being offered by Kobo, on occasion.  It was suggesting also… free stuff.  You can organize by media type, or theme, or whatever crazy scheme you come up with.  This being basically a geek party, I noticed one of the newly created bulletin boards was titled “Deathstar Plans”.

The books downloaded, loaded, and turned pages very quickly – they have snuck in a 1.5 Ghz dual-core processor, and it seems to be doing the trick.  They’ve taken out the option of using external MicroSD cards (which sucks), and have instead created the Vox at 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB, ranging from $200-$300.   Apparently it no longer has an internal MicroSD card, so all you guys who were looking forward to an easy hack will have harder slogging.

One of my coworkers downloaded “Temple Run” from the Google Play store as, she claimed, a test.  It downloaded fairly quickly, given the size of the file, and the game play was smooth and lag-free.

One thing I heard about, but didn’t get a chance to look at, is a feature built into the browser that apparently strips ads off web articles, so that only the content is left.  Genius, if you’re using a 7″ screen to browse the internet.  So much less zooming and dragging.

We’ll see how buggy it is when it starts actually shipping, but so far, so good.  I wasn’t actually all that interested in the Vox, but the Arc, I can actually see buying.  I was a little doubtful of Kobo positioning it as competition for tablets, but it looks like they may have been right.

Hopefully, the cases will actually arrive at the same time as the Arc – the custom Kobo Glo and Mini cases still haven’t arrived, and the pre-order on them is actually sold out.  Approximate Arc arrival date is mid-November.

All in all, looks solid.

Christie

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The Hobbit

I am bouncing in my chair, writing this.  Makes for lots of typos.  Hobbit movie!!!

Alright, deep breaths, calming down.  Nope, still ridiculously excited.

If you haven’t read it, and I know you’re out there, do read it.  I (bracing for impact) prefer it to Lord of the Rings.  The writing is better, and Tolkien wanders off on fewer tangents.  It tends to lose people at the very beginning, before the adventure starts – be forewarned, Tolkien loooooves long lead-ins.  This is not Clive Cussler, or Robert Ludlum, where the action starts on the first page.

Tolkien is trying to bring you into the same state of mind as Bilbo Baggins.  A hobbit who loves his home, loves having lots of food always easily available, loves comfort and routine.  But Gandalf (the wizard and Deus ex Machina of Tolkien) has decided that Bilbo needs an adventure, will he, nil he.  And that adventure will change him forever.

I tended to skip the songs, I will admit, but you can also find people who have set them to music and performed them on YouTube.

If you need an excuse to read it, read it to a kid, be it yours, a niece or nephew, or some random stranger whose parents will probably call the police on you.

If you read a chapter a week, you’ll be done just in time for the movie.

Christie

 

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Carl Sagan said…

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October 16, 2012 · 9:29 am

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

How can you resist that title?  I think I would recognize Mr. Penumbra.  I want to work in his bookstore.  Honestly, the only thing I didn’t like about this book was the cover art.  The cover they had on the advance reading copy was nicer.

This book features a quirky bookstore (hey, I work in a bookstore!), code breaking, bibliophile cults (sign me up), crazy awesome technology (some of which is real), hot girl computer geeks (not me, in this case), mysterious goings on at Google…  honestly, it’s like someone custom designed a book for me.  The writing is great, the pacing is great… thank you Robin Sloan, I appreciate the book you wrote for me.

If you love books, be it real ones or on e-reader, this book is for you.  Be forewarned, friends and family, I will be forcing you to read this.

Christie

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Fifty Shades of Hay

Happy Thanksgiving!

Christie

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Kobo Glo and Mini Review

I finally got my hands on the two newest members of the Kobo product line, the Glo and the  Mini.

Now, I already own the Touch, so I was already familiar with the basic functions.  The Glo and Mini are practically identical in the way that they operate,  which I find very straightforward.   The nice thing about these is that they are for reading and only reading, no MP3 player or anything else, so they are easy to learn and very intuitive.

The Glo is almost identical to the existing Touch.  It no longer has the button to return to the home screen, but has a button to turn the light on and off on top.  This makes the Glo a little smaller than the touch, in height, so existing cases will be a little too big.  The speed is a little faster, and the type is a little crisper.  The light is actually amazingly good.  It looks a lot like an IndiGlo watch, the way the screen is lit.  The light’s brightness can be adjusted, which is nice.  If you would have bought a clip light for the Touch, the extra money for the Glo is probably worth it.  For me, I already have a Touch that I’m happy with, and it doesn’t make sense to buy the Glo just for some minor speed and screen upgrades, and a light.    For anyone who doesn’t already have one, if you can spare the extra cash, the Glo is a good deal.

The mini is… cute.  It’s really teeny.  For how teeny it is, the screen is larger than I was expecting (5″).  It really is small enough to fit in a pocket (back jeans pocket, I tested ) and for people for whom teeniness and portability is the main thing, this definitely qualifies.  It still has most of the functionality of the Touch, minus the micro SD slot, so you’re limited to the original 1.3GB storage.  Since, however, that is enough for about 1000 books, I’m thinking that would be enough for most people.   Also, at about $80, the price is incredibly good for a reader of this quality.  I personally prefer the larger screen size.

One other new feature of the two new readers which I especially like is the fact that they can now be initialized wirelessly, via WiFi, instead of only via computer.  This is especially handy if you’re a) traveling without a computer, and have to reset your reader for some reason, or do it by accident, or b) sell the darn things, and have random annoying teenagers who think resetting them to the factory defaults is hilarious, which previously meant having to disable the security devices, remove them from display, drag them to the office, find out that the software on the office computers hasn’t been upgraded yet and have to wait for the computer techs at head office to upgrade it remotely because you don’t have admin access, re-setup the devices, replace them on the display, repeat ad nauseum.  Sorry, little rant there, I’m okay now.  So take that, annoying teenagers!

Buying books from anyone except Kobo still needs to be done via computer, or SD card, however.

On the whole, fairly impressed.  If you’re looking for a new e-reader, I recommend it.

Christie

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Adopt A School!

With only three days left, the race is on to get as many adoptions for our local school’s library as possible.  A hundred-year-old school in need of modernization, we’re hoping to win the $10,000 makeover for the library, as well as provide as many new books as possible.

The students made an adorable video on why they need the funds for their library:

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You can adopt the school for free (although donations are certainly welcome).  The adoption is just an e-mail address for you, but has already put fifteen additional books in the library.  Thanks for your help!

Adopt Agincourt Public School

Christie

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