books or magazines?

You are likely aware that Terry and I don’t watch television in the evenings. We have our music, jazz six nights a week and classical on Sunday (though that’s another story). Terry has her magazines, physical books, and sometimes her iPad.

I have my iPad. Everything is on my iPad. I have my Facebook and Twitter apps. There’s my RSS reader and my Goodreads app. Then there’s the iOS Newsstand, my Zinio magazine app, and my Amazon Kindle app.

I have built up a lot of magazine subscriptions. Some are paid  iOS Newsstand subscriptions, some are free due to our print subscriptions. I added a lot of subscriptions in Zinio when they were offering deep discounts and attractive deals – a policy that they have discontinued.

There is only so much time in an evening, and I have to decide whether it goes to books or magazines. Increasingly over the past several months, I have chosen to spend that time with Kindle books. Some of the magazine subscriptions are going to have to lapse, especially as Zinio’s deals have become less generous.

But spending more time with books? I’ll take that as a Good Thing.

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What I’m Reading

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about what’s on my iPad Kindle app, though I have mentioned various books I’ve been reading along the way. I will say that I think for 2012 Amazon was quite happy with me as a Kindle books customer.

I have spent the last number of weeks delving into serious nonfiction. I read The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, which describes the quest for the manuscript of De Rerum Natura by Lucretius, and its influence on the early modern period. I followed that with The Misunderstood Jew, which describes Jesus’ Jewish roots and how interpretations of gospel stories often fail to take into account the Jewish context. Next I read, in part simultaneously, Unprotected Texts: The Bible’s Surprising Contradictions About Sex and Desire and The Liturgical Year: The Spiraling Adventure of the Spiritual Life. The former is a fascinating and well-documented discussion about the highly divergent and contradictory teachings in the Bible on sex and sexuality. The latter is by Joan Chittister, one of my favorite authors in the realm of spirituality. It is a marvelous meditation of the importance of the liturgical calendar in our lives. In amongst those books, I enjoyed Eats, Shoots & Leaves, which was highly enjoyable, but of course made some very serious points about the importance of proper punctuation.

I thought I was going a bit overboard with religion and serious, well-footnoted nonfiction, so as I was finishing Unprotected Texts, I started 360 Sound, The Columbia Records Story as an iBook, given that it’s not available in Kindle format. Upon completing Texts I decided it was now time for something completely different, and downloaded the Kindle edition of George Takei’s Oh Myyy!, the story of how the septuagenarian actor’s presence in social media has gone viral.

As for what’s next, we’ll see. I have plenty of samples on my iPad of books I may want to read. And, of course, there’s always something new coming along. Fortunately, my Christmas present from Terry was a pair of very generous Amazon gift cards.

Those will keep me going for a while.


Kindle and Facebook

Seems that Amazon snuck in a Kindle upgrade without my realizing it. The Kindle has always had the capability of allowing you to select text from a book you are reading and copy it to a clippings file, which you can then transfer to your computer. Now there's a new dimension.

Rather than copying the text to your clippings file, you can share it on Facebook. Amazon automatically Kindle adds the book title and, of course, a link to the book on Amazon.

It's self-promotion for Amazon to be sure, but also a very cool way for me to share the words of an author that I want to get out to my friends on Facebook. I've done it once already. If you're a friend of mine on Facebook, look for more from me.

I promise to try my best to restrain myself and not to overdo it.


Kindle update

Kindle I'm pleased to say that my new Kindle light has worked out every bit as well as I had hoped. It has a nice, bright light that covers the entire reading area, and it does not get dimmer as the charge goes down. When the charge runs out, poof!, it goes off. I connect it to the USB port on my desktop computer and after several hours it's ready to go again. Love it!

Of course, my case of Kindle Overwhelm has not improved in the least. It's just gotten worse. I keep accumulating samples (as you can see) at a rate faster than I finish books. The nice thing is that when I'm ready to buy a book it's right there on my Kindle, and just a couple of clicks away. (Well, except for the samples on my Android, but even those I can send to my Kindle with just a couple of taps.)

One thing I can be sure of: I'm not going to run out of things to read any time soon.


a light to the Kindle

You wouldn't think that getting good light on my Kindle would be tough, but it is.

When I first got my second-generation Kindle, I immediately found that the light I used with my old first-generation Kindle was too heavy and bulky for the newer design. So I bought a light that was suggested with the newer Kindle. That didn't work out very well – it didn't provide enough light, and it was hard to adjust.

One day were browsing our local independent used bookseller, and I saw a small Mighty Bright that looked appropriate. It started off well, but turned out to have a very short battery life, and the bright light became dim very quickly. Not to mention that the required battery wasn't available everywhere.

I tried using the high-intensity lamp I've had since I was a kid, and that provided good light, but was awkward to pull out and put back into the headboard each time, and I could only use it while sitting on the bed.

I tried using the Kindle application for my laptop, and that actually worked very well. But when I want to read I really want to put away my computer and read.

I looked once again on Amazon, and saw a Verso Rechargeable Arc Light, which looked really nice. Plus I like the rechargeable part. Very confusing as to how it opened up, and it quit working before I even had it properly seated on my Kindle.

I returned that and bought a Verso Rechargeable Wrap Light. Same light, different design. It lights up the Kindle very well and recharges on my computer USB port. When the charge runs out it doesn't get dim for a prolonged time, it switches off. So far, so good.

What's amazing is that when you read the Amazon reviews, how many people struggle to find the right light and go through multiple lights before finding the right one. I guess one solution would be to buy the third-generation Kindle, which promises much better contrast. But that seems extravagant and wasteful, since I'm already on my second. And then what do I do when the color Kindle comes out?

I think my current setup will work fine for now.