Reading a vacation

Reading and I have a strange relationship - when I read, I read voraciously: I stay awake reading an extra two hours, then get up an hour earlier than normal to continue reading! As you can imagine, it can be exhausting to maintain this habit. Fortunately books have finite lengths. (Typically I would STOP reading for months after this intense period, out of exhaustion. And fear.  And surprise.  Exhaustion, Fear and Surprise!)

Enter the Sony Reader, which contains many more books than one paperback does in a much smaller size. Here’s a plus, any time I went shopping with Joan and my mom, I could pop out into the sun and be guaranteed there were megabytes of book in my shorts’s [generous] cargo pocket that I hadn’t read yet.

I actually read the HUGO-nominated (and CC-licensed!) “Blindsight” by outstanding author Peter Watts. Joan had introduced my to Starfish and Maelstrom - which we own but are also CC-licensed, and I was happy to read the new book as well as re-read the other two books. The ideas in these books are little candies that you can roll around in the mouth of your mind! They’re great little technology romps and highly recommended. (See here - the PDF versions *are* readable on the Sony Reader - turn them sidewise with a Medium zoom - it’s slow to turn pages but you pick up the rhythm quickly). And the work is definitely worth purchasing, if only to hand to someone you know who likes Sci-Fi and doesn’t like to read from a pixellated (e-ink or not!) screen.

I also went through a large amount of Overclocked, Cory Doctorow’s short story collection. One thing I lost with the Sony Reader platform was the ordering of the printed format. I think Cory’s does great work in the novella format. Some of the short stories have been hit (especially 0wnz0red) or miss, and his books have been interesting but not always compelling. Sometimes I have a hard time reading stuff that is preaching to the choir, or similarly re-used ideas. But he is worth reading though. I’ve bought one of his books too, although the name is evading me.

Finally I had Bruce Eckel’s Thinking In Python on the reader but barely touched it as it is a work in progress and I really need an interpreter in front of me to understand things, it was a essentially review with the non-Python portion and it was also something I would read mid-morning and my mid-mornings were busy. Similarly, I had Why’s Poignant Guide to Ruby on my reader, but the PDF is definitely NOT formatted for the small Sony Reader screen.

So, the Reader is definitely usable for someone like me. Granted, I’d read e-books off of a monochrome, indiglo Palm V, while travelling through France climbing, so that shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. It’ll be interesting to see if I continue reading pathologically or not - maybe the Reader will cure me by always having a constant dose of the drug instead of books being a limited availability option. The other thing I hope for is the sheer time for reading that a vacation offers. Ahhh…


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