PastimesAuthors & Books & Comments

Previous 10 Next 10 
To: Uncle Frank who wrote (5256)3/5/2012 4:24:17 AM
From: Siber
   of 8947
I still love my Nook. So much so that back in January I ordered the Nook Tablet (the 16 GB one). I didn't like it for reading because of the backlighting. The internet was fast. I downloaded a few apps and ended up only playing Angry Birds on it for a month (highly addictive). Since I wasn't reading on it I figured $249 to play Angry Birds was wasteful. I thought my window to return it had closed so I sold in on at only a nominal loss last week. Now I'm having seller's remorse and am researching tablets all over again.

Can't afford an iPad but the next best thing, I think, is the Toshiba Thrive ($399 for a 10", $379 for 7" - that seems like a no-brainer for prospective purchasers). I like the front camera and back video cam feature. They have outstanding customer service which I learned when bought a laptop from them. Alas, it is not compatible with my library. Maybe soon. I know they have e-books, I'm just not sure of the format. A few other tablets are compatible with my library but they are inferior according to online feedback. I researched each and every one of them.

I'm not interested in the Kindle Fire. No cameras. And their annual membership is expensive.

Since B&N just came out with their new 8GB Tablet ($199) I think I'll wait and see if they upgrade in the future to include a camera. Seems like they come out with something new on a fairly regular basis. They also lowered the price on the Nook Color to $169 which, if I'm reading it right, seems to have the same features as the Tablet but with less RAM and GB. That translates into slow, yes?

The upshot is, right now I'll stick with the Nook Simple Touch. I, too, like their customer service although I get mine online or over the phone because I don't have a store near me. I wish they had included internet in the Simple Touch. It was on the First Edition Nook and I don't understand why they didn't include it in the Simple Touch. I'll wait to see what they come out with next.

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)

From: LindyBill3/5/2012 10:41:47 AM
2 Recommendations   of 8947
Finding Your Book Interrupted ... By the Tablet You Read It On

Tami Chappell for The New York Times
Reading a book on a tablet like the Kindle Fire is “like trying to cook when there are little children around,” David Myers said.

Can you concentrate on Flaubert when Facebook is only a swipe away, or give your true devotion to Mr. Darcy while Twitter beckons?

  • Times Topic: E-Book Readers

  • People who read e-books on tablets like the iPad are realizing that while a book in print or on a black-and-white Kindle is straightforward and immersive, a tablet offers a menu of distractions that can fragment the reading experience, or stop it in its tracks.

    E-mail lurks tantalizingly within reach. Looking up a tricky word or unknown fact in the book is easily accomplished through a quick Google search. And if a book starts to drag, giving up on it to stream a movie over Netflix or scroll through your Twitter feed is only a few taps away.

    That adds up to a reading experience that is more like a 21st-century cacophony than a traditional solitary activity. And some of the millions of consumers who have bought tablets and sampled e-books on apps from Amazon, Apple and Barnes & Noble have come away with a conclusion: It’s harder than ever to sit down and focus on reading.

    “It’s like trying to cook when there are little children around,” said David Myers, 53, a systems administrator in Atlanta, who got a Kindle Fire tablet in December. “A child might do something silly and you’ve got to stop cooking and fix the problem and then return to cooking.”

    “These apps beg you to review them all the time,” he said, but he remains a fan of the device.

    For book publishers, who have already seen many consumers convert from print books to e-readers, the rise of tablets poses a potential danger: that book buyers may switch to tablets and then discover that they just aren’t very amenable to reading.

    Will those readers gradually drift away from books, letting movies or the Internet occupy their leisure time instead?

    Maja Thomas, the senior vice president for Hachette Digital, part of the Hachette Book Group, hopes just the opposite occurs.

    “Someone who doesn’t have a habit of reading, and buys a tablet, is going to be offered all these opportunities for reading,” Ms. Thomas said, noting that tablets tend to come with at least one e-book app.

    “We’re hoping they will grow the number of people who will read.”

    Sales of e-readers surged during the Christmas holiday season, according to a Pew Research Center report, which showed that the number of adults in the United States who owned tablets and e-readers nearly doubled from mid-December to early January.

    But there are signs that publishers are cooling on tablets for e-reading. A recent survey by Forrester Research showed that 31 percent of publishers believed iPads and similar tablets were the ideal e-reading platform; one year ago, 46 percent thought so.

    “The tablet is like a temptress,” said James McQuivey, the Forrester Research analyst who led the survey. “It’s constantly saying, ‘You could be on YouTube now.’ Or it’s sending constant alerts that pop up, saying you just got an e-mail. Reading itself is trying to compete.”

    Indeed, the basic menu for the Kindle Fire offers links to video, apps, the Web, music, newsstand and books, effectively making books (once Amazon’s stock in trade) just another menu option. So too with the multipurpose iPad, which Allison Kutz, a 21-year-old senior at Elon University in North Carolina, bought in 2010. She says her reading experience has not been the same since.

    She is constantly fending off the urge to check other media, making it tough to finish books. For example, in late September 2010, she bought “Breaking Night,” a memoir about a homeless girl turned Harvard student. Ms. Kutz said the only time she was able to focus on it was on an airplane because there was no Internet access.

    “I’ve tried to sit down and read it in Starbucks or the apartment, but I end up on Facebook or Googling something she said, and then the next thing you know I’ve been surfing for 25 minutes,” Ms. Kutz said

    The issue of changing reader habits has been widely discussed by executives at Amazon, maker of the Kindle and Kindle Fire. Russ Grandinetti, the vice president for Kindle content, said one reason that the original Kindle, introduced in 2007 for $399, was not a multipurpose device was precisely so that people could immerse themselves without interruption.

    The new Kindle Fire, by contrast, costs $199 and offers a variety of media options: video, Internet and all the potential interruptions that come with it. But Mr. Grandinetti said the device was not meant as a replacement for the first Kindle but, rather, a complement to it; different devices for people who want different experiences.

    Many publishers believe that the market for both print books and black-and-white e-readers is not going away, despite the pull of tablets.

    Voracious book buyers were the first people to latch onto e-readers, prizing them for their convenience, portability and features like text zooming that made it easier for older people to read. Now those e-readers are lighter, sleeker and cost less than $100 — even a cheap tablet is more than double the cost — so tech-shy consumers who want a device just for reading books and not much else have little incentive to upgrade.

    As long as e-readers remain significantly less expensive than tablets, there may be a market for them for a long time.

    But Mr. McQuivey of Forrester said that it was more likely that tablets would eventually edge out black-and-white e-readers. “The historical precedent suggests that’s the case,” he said, citing the Palm Pilot, digital point-and-shoot cameras and portable GPS systems for the car as items that have been gradually displaced by multifunction devices. “There’s less and less reason to have these as stand-alone devices.”

    For Erin Faulk, a 29-year-old legal assistant and voracious reader in Los Angeles, the era of e-readers has had one major effect: she has accumulated many more books that she categorizes as “DNFs” — Did Not Finish. But she is also buying more books, she said, and she thinks that all the interruptions have, in a way, made her a more discerning reader.

    “With so many distractions, my taste in books has really leveled up,” Ms. Faulk said. “Recently, I gravitate to books that make me forget I have a world of entertainment at my fingertips. If the book’s not good enough to do that, I guess my time is better spent.”

    Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)

    To: LindyBill who wrote (5258)3/5/2012 11:06:19 AM
    From: JohnM
       of 8947
    I had my finger on the posting trigger for this one when I thought it best to check. Interesting but definitely not surprising piece.

    Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read

    To: ManyMoose who wrote (3472)3/5/2012 11:29:28 AM
    From: Glenn Petersen
       of 8947
    I know that you were/are a fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs. After I discovered his novels when I was in my early teens, I couldn't read them fast enough, particularly the Pellucidar, Mars and Venus series. For some reason, the Tarzan novels never held a lot of appeal to me. They actually seemed a bit boring when compared to his other world creations. Reading Burroughs ignited an early passion for science fiction. One summer vacation I read 60 science fiction novels in 60 days.

    While I probably will not see it at the theater (all the children in my life have grown too old), I hope that Disney has done a good job with their "John Carter" movie.

    Quaint Martian Odyssey With Multiplex Stopover

    New York Times
    Published: March 4, 2012

    Edgar Rice Burroughs's sci-fi series has captivated readers for a century.

    “John Carter,” Disney’s $250 million, 3-D sci-fi epic, which opens on Friday, is based on a novel, Edgar Rice Burroughs’s “Princess of Mars,” that is 100 years old and was already a little dated when it came out. Burroughs, better known for his Tarzan saga, published it in monthly installments in the All-Story Magazine starting in February 1912. It was the first thing he ever wrote, after a lifetime of failing at just about everything else, and he was clearly learning on the job.

    The book is filled with inconsistencies and plot threads that are never followed up. And as science fiction goes, “Princess of Mars” is not very scientific. Ostensibly it is a first-person narrative by one John Carter, a Civil War veteran who unaccountably wakes up naked on Mars, where he falls in love with a red-tinted princess named Dejah Thoris.

    It’s typical of Burroughs that there is no attempt to imagine a rocket ship or a time machine, as in Jules Verne, say, or H. G. Wells. Space travel is just something that happens, and if the prose weren’t so methodical and matter of fact — and if Burroughs weren’t so meticulous in explaining how he came by Carter’s “manuscript” — we might think he had dreamed it all.

    The Library of America plans to reissue “Princess of Mars” in April with an introduction by Junot Diaz, an unusual elevation for a book that began as a pulp serial and whose appeal remains a kind of cheerful boys’ adventure romanticism. Seldom, if ever, out of print, “Princess” has enjoyed a remarkable shelf life not so much in libraries or classrooms as in the cluttered, dreamy, overheated minds of teenage boys and certain grown-ups. Out of nostalgia or affection they have preserved that part of their mental storeroom from housecleaning and have not only made early editions of the John Carter books into expensive collector’s items, but have also extended the character into fan fiction online.

    Andrew Stanton, the director of “John Carter,” said recently that he discovered the book in 1976, when he was 11, via the Marvel comics version, and though he wasn’t much of a reader then, he quickly graduated to Burroughs in book form. “All through my 20s and 30s,” he said, “long before I ever thought I’d become a professional storyteller, I couldn’t get that stuff out of my head.”

    The charm of the book, and the 10 novels that followed, is not its futurism. Mars, or Barsoom, as it’s called by the inhabitants, seems stuck in a 19th century of its own. There are airships, but they are very sketchily described and are apparently made in part of wood. There is mention of rifles with a range of hundreds of miles, but most of the fighting is done with swords. What really interests Burroughs is not the physical properties of Barsoom but the strange taxonomy of its mostly primitive inhabitants, which he lovingly describes, especially the Tharks, a race of giant green-skinned, four-armed nomads with tusks that “curve upward to sharp points which end about where the eyes of earthly human beings are located” and whose whiteness “is not that of ivory, but of the snowiest and most gleaming of china.”

    There are also thoats, hairless beasts of burden equipped as well with extra limbs, four on each side; calots, enormous, toadlike watchdogs; fearsome white apes; creepy plant men with mouths in their hands; and two warring city states, Helium and Zadonga, inhabited by red-complexioned humanoids. Dejah Thoris is one of these, except for her ruddiness a more or less standard-issue heroine in need of saving.

    In the ’70s Ballantine reinvigorated the Barsoom franchise by publishing the books in new editions with covers by the fantasy artist Frank Frazetta, who didn’t actually bother to read the series and imagined a hunky, Conan-like John Carter and very sexy Dejah, clad in just a few diaphanous scraps. (Neither the Frazetta paintings nor the books offer any clues about her reproductive system: though womanly in every respect that meets the eye, Dejah eventually bears Carter a son, Cathoris, who like a Thark, is hatched from an egg after incubating for several years.) These editions were what caught the eye of the novelist Michael Chabon, who wrote the screenplay along with Mr. Stanton and Mark Andrews.

    “I was 11 or 12,” Mr. Chabon recalled recently, “and I thought: ‘What are these? This is something I ought to know about.’ It was a magical moment in my childhood.”

    Egg hatching aside, “Princess of Mars” is not a very sexy book. As in the Tarzan novels what interests Burroughs is not so much romance as what it means to be human — or more precisely, to be manly. Much is made of the Tharks’ primitive sense of humor, which finds amusement in the suffering of others, and in their cruelty to animals. The reason, the novel suggests, is that they are socialists, who raise their children communally and have no concept of parental love.

    Carter, on the other hand, is a courtly Southern gentleman, who remarks of himself: “I was always kind and humane in my dealings with the lower orders. I could take a human life, if necessary, with far less compunction than that of a poor, unreasoning, irresponsible brute.”

    The Barsoom novels are a little like the Oz novels of Burroughs’s friend and eventual California neighbor L. Frank Baum, whose estate, Ozcot, was not far from Burroughs’s Tarzana. Both are partly reflections of how the authors saw the United States at the time. But even more, they’re escapes from it, written by relatively late bloomers who found in writing a fulfillment that had earlier been denied them. Burroughs was 35 and a struggling salesman of pencil sharpeners when he began “Princess of Mars.” He was an avid reader of the pulps himself and decided, he said later, that “I could write stories just as rotten.”

    The novel is escape literature in every sense. Its animating feature is a yearning to be somewhere else — anywhere, just as long as it’s not the pencil sharpener factory — and the book’s impassioned feeling of otherness (right down to those weird names) is what has made it so transporting for generations of readers and both tempting and daunting to filmmakers, who have struggled since the ’30s to come up with a version that will play to both young viewers and adults, newcomers and members of the cult.

    Mr. Stanton was the lead writer for the “Toy Story” trilogy and the writer and director of “Finding Nemo” and “Wall-E.” “John Carter” is his first movie to employ live actors. (Carter is Taylor Kitsch, from “Friday Night Lights.”) In the course of making the film, he said, he kept coming across people with deep and long-standing connections to the material. One of the costume designers, for example, recalled that her father used to drive around with a Utah license plate that said JEDDAK. “Jeddak,” as any close reader of Burroughs can tell you, is Barsoomese for lord or chieftain.

    Edgar Rice Burroughs, more well-known for "Tarzan of the Apes," did away with all logic in creating his sci-fi series.

    Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (2)

    To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (5260)3/5/2012 1:27:35 PM
    From: LindyBill
    2 Recommendations   of 8947
    I was lucky enough to be prolific 12 year old reader in 1946, Just as John Campbell's "Astounding" went "hard." So I came to it with Asimov, Heinlein, and the rest. I think I also read a lot of the Mar's "space opera," But the first one that really got to me was based on the concept of "as mass approaches the speed of light, time approaches zero." The other series as the time that got to me was "Hornblower," the fictionalized version of Nelson. Could not wait for the next Sat Eve Post to come out each week.

    And of course, Rhysling, the blind singer of the space ways:

    Let me breath untrammeled air again,
    on the globe that gave me birth,
    let me rest my eyes on the fleecy skies
    and the cool, green hills of earth.

    Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)

    To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (5260)3/5/2012 1:42:47 PM
    From: ManyMoose
       of 8947
    That photo of Burroughs with the tiger rug reminded me of how Tarzan of the Apes killed male lions with his bare hands by breaking their necks in a full-Nelson hold. I can't imagine how that could be possible, but chimpanzees are very strong, and Tarzan lived with them.

    Tarzan of the Apes is the very first book that I can recall reading as a child. I remember where I lived when I read it, but I don't remember how old I was. I was about midway through grade school, I think.

    I don't recall reading any of Burroughs' science fiction, though.

    Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read

    To: Siber who wrote (5257)3/5/2012 10:05:31 PM
    From: Judi Simpson
       of 8947
    I have a Kindle Fire and do not have a membership. I actually have 2 kindles, got one in August and the Fire for Christmas. Love them both. It would be nice if the Fire had a camera.

    Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)

    To: Judi Simpson who wrote (5263)3/6/2012 2:53:22 AM
    From: Siber
       of 8947
    Does the backlighting on the Kindle Fire hurt your eyes when you read for any length of time? That's the problem I had with the Nook Tablet, even though it had two brightness settings. When I dimmed it, it still strained my eyes which made it uncomfortable to keep reading. I didn't try (what with the bad weather and all), but with the shiny screen I also thought it might be difficult to read outside.

    Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (3)

    To: Siber who wrote (5264)3/6/2012 10:31:17 AM
    From: Carolyn
       of 8947
    It doesn't as it is adjustable with a scrolling bar.

    Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)

    To: Siber who wrote (5264)3/6/2012 12:03:21 PM
    From: mistermj
       of 8947
    The Kindle Fire also allows you to put the text against an off white background similar to this on SI, or white text on a black background if your eyes are very sensitive to the light.

    Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read
    Previous 10 Next 10 

    Copyright © 1995-2018 Knight Sac Media. All rights reserved.Stock quotes are delayed at least 15 minutes - See Terms of Use.