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There is a magnetism passing between writers and books, once you determine yourself to be a ‘writer’.
Each passing year, this magnetism draws millions of our brethren to publisher’s craggy shores, where we proceed to beach ourselves, time and time again, with the same intense mystery of the whales attraction to land, not for health, not for wealth, and most certainly not for happiness.
Well, after a year off from tapping keys, with much ruminating (if bouts of laziness could bear such description), and spectating the year that print bit its last pillow, I have discovered something unholy: I am not a writer after all.
A brief flashback: I can remember the day I became a ‘writer’. Fifteen years ago I started work as a copywriter for a local newspaper. It was monkey work really, ‘writing’ in the same way turning screws is ‘carpentry’, but the day I started my boss took me in front of our department and introduced me: “this is the new writer”.
Proud as peach I was and soon after I joined the club, which I presumed to have many members, though scant few of these I would actually meet in the flesh over the next … Read more
Here’s something I think you’ll like. An simple yet elegant social network built around your Kindle captions called Findings: http://findings.com/
Allows you to import your existing Kindle captions as well as capturing new ones automatically as they hit your Kindle highlights page. For those without Kindles, well…umm…well there is the option of highlighting text on webpage…
I still like it.… Read more
If you are as keen on writing/reading soundtracks as I am, then you will love these three mix tapes curated by the clever ones at Oh Pioneer!
50 curated songs over three themed albums, encompassing winter, roadtrips into the wilderness and, my personal favourite, a mixtape devoted to that heavenly beacon of humanity, campfire:
This playlist has been personally tested to be suitable for fireside chats in the woods, falling asleep in a tent, quiet nights reading, driving through the mountains, fly fishing, and whatever adventures you can get yourself into.
The perfect accompaniment to a quiet room, a glass of hard liquor and some creative kindling.
Last night I had the chance to sit down with my fellow Emerging Writer's Festival bloggers and talk with novelist and translator Linda Jaivin, currently in town for the racy Dirty Words event on June 1.
Among many topics covered – Chinese Kung Fu, the art of bluffing your way through an interview, Renaissance art and French New Wave cinema – I was particularly interested in Linda’s vast catalogue of book reviews. As Linda is both a successful novelist and a critic, I wanted to find out how her position as an author influenced her approach to critquing other authors’ work.
I’ll admit that I have a pretty ignorant view of what a book review actually sets out to achieve. As a pure summary of a text, it seems a paradox that a book of 100,000 words can be explained in 150. If that were possible, all books are in dire need of more ruthless editors. And if reviews are pure opinion, how does that wash when books are such personal objects of affection? I was keen to get a more informed perspective from Linda, who has been reviewing books since before I was born.
Linda explained her approach to a review was less about like/dislike and whether to recommend a purchase, and more about giving the reader an understanding of the work itself, leaving it up to them whether they should read it or not.
She said her … Read more
In Part 1 of this review, I looked at the changes the Kindle has made to my book purchasing and selection habits. In Part 2, I'll give more detail into the reading experience compared to a book, and look at where the technology is headed in the future.
Read Part 1 of this review here.
In many ways the Kindle 3 offers an improved reading experience over a print book, but it’s not an end game comparison. There is nothing offered yet that vastly alters the core solitary reading experience humans have honed over the last few thousand years. But things are definitely starting to change.
Outside of the refined title selection and purchasing process, most of Kindle’s reading ‘advantages’ could be seen as sacrifices.
For example, one handed reading is a significant improvement, that’s achievable through the Kindle’s diminished size and weight, and the removal of page turning. By removing an aspect of a book’s tactile nature, Kindle gains its advantage. But if you are a book lover, and you love the tactile feel of books, the coarse edge of the next page curling beneath your thumb, then you will mourn the loss.
Some will see it one way, many will see it another. And in that way perhaps Kindle actually takes us a step back and refocuses attention on the contents of the book, and away from the packaging. What is obvious though, is that few will ever love the Kindle in the same way people … Read more
It took me 31 years to buy a Kindle. All those years, from infancy to adolescence and part way to adulthood, I’ve known only one way to read a book.
How significant then that after just 3 months with a Kindle, I am re-thinking the past 31 years of reading.
Let me start by apologising for the length of this Kindle review. Either I am incapable of coalescing my thoughts succinctly, or the issue of book vs Kindle is a just wordy nut worth cracking. I’ll let you decide which. To soften the blow, I have decided to serve the meal in two parts, and I’ll be posting Part 2 of this review tomorrow. Pease come back if you’re still hungry.
To whet your appetite for what’s to come, I’ve collected some of my more rash statements from the review and summarised them below:
- I have no doubt that ebooks will replace print as the dominant mode of reading books within five years.
- Books will remain in existence as long as bookshelves are being made.
- Book loving and reading are independent concepts.
- In the spectrum of possibilities for ereading, Kindle hardly rates as a single colour. A pale blue at best.
- Cloud based reading is the only viable solution to ending Amazon’s growing monopoly.
That over with, now let me tell you about Kindle.
I mentioned already that ereading will replace mainstream book reading within five … Read more
I've decided to utilise a little more of my online 'rant space' to summarise some recent developments in the e-reading area of interest to writers. This, the first of those pieces, looks at Readability and the wider movement to improve the online reading experience.
eadability is a browser plugin (or bookmarklet) used to render any text based webpage in seperate, elegantly designed tab, free from advertisements, optimised for readability. If you're familiar with Instapaper, or Read it Later you'll know the deal.
What makes Readability interesting, and particularly so for the literature community, is its financial model which sees the majority of its subscriber fees return to content producers.
Using the service is free, but for those who'd like to keep track of what they've read and "read it later", you pay a nominal $5 per month for the priviledge. $1.50 of the fee goes to keeping Readability alive, the rest gets portioned across the sites you read each month.
Monday's launch of the Readings ebook store is an important first step in providing book lovers with improved access to Australian authors in the digital realm.
Whilst market leaders Amazon and Borders will probably always reign supreme in terms of raw volume of listed ebook titles, their selection of lesser known titles – particularly those from Australian publishers – have often been lacking.
In fact, much has already been made of discrepancies between the US and Australian kindle store, and the lengths people have gone to to circumvent the problem.
Over the last few months I’ve been back and forth over the decision to buy an ereader. After recently experiencing the complex process my parents went through to manoeuver around international copyright restriction roadblocks and finally purchase Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections for their two e-reader devices, I decided I could wait a while longer to jump on that wagon.
Buying a book, online or off, has never been anything but pleasurable for me. There are few more satisfying feelings than strolling the isles of a well stocked bookstore or receiving a word heavy package on my doorstep after returning from work.
Personally, I don’t mind paying extra for a tangible product, and for many smaller Australian publishers, there hasn’t exactly been a choice. That is, until now. Read more…