Thursday, February 18, 2010


Now Playing -
The Neverending Tick Of The Clock...

Life - 
For the last week, I have been the temporary Administrative Assistant for the district office at my work.

This is not a job I have any experience in, nor one that I’ve ever really had any desire to get experience in, but it has been an interesting week, make no mistake there.

Not a thrilling week though. It’s pretty obvious that they’re taking it easy, not giving me all of the tasks that a typical admin would do and as a result, I spend a good chunk of my time fiddling with things and trying to convince myself that I’m doing meaningful tasks. I dusted the plants. I spent fifteen minutes refreshing my email screen, waiting for an important missive, only to learn that it refreshes itself and makes a little beep when they arrive.

My boss, a very nice and good natured fellow has no problem with me reading my nook, but even with his blessing, I feel like I’m cheating, doing something scandalous and I feel obligated to  tuck it aside and check the computer screen when people walk past.

The worst part about the job though, is the drive. It’s apparently not excessive for this area, where up to an hour commute is not considered too long, but the 36 minute drive each way seems like a lot of wasted time to me.

Luckily, this is only a temporary post and I’ve just been officially notified that my next destination is in a store in Bath, ME. Which Lindsay and I loved on our visit. We started looking into places out there that accept pets last night and Lindsay is spending some time calling around today, in the hopes that we can head that way on Saturday and look at some potential apartments.

If I had the internet at “home” (We have not had it for a week now, if we want to check anything, we have to go to the office, rouse the landlord and make him let us into one of the closer rooms for a few minutes.)  I would post a photo here of the snow storm we got the other night. It was gorgeous and made for a bit of a harrowing and long drive home but true to the resident’s word, the street crews were on the ball and by morning, the roads were bare and clean and by nightfall, most of the snow we had received was melted away again.

Reading -

I am woefully behind on updating my reading, and I’m certain I’ve missed two or three books on the list, I just can’t remember what ones, and they’re all boxed away in Idaho. At any rate, here are the books I’ve read so far since the last update –

by Nelson DeMille
2007, 512 pages

By Bill Bryson
2006, 397 pages

By William Lashner
2003, 592 pages

By Robert Terrall
2007, 220 pages

By David Baldacci
2006, 624 pages

By Lawrence Block
1991, 304 pages

By Bill Bryson
2000, 304 pages

By James Lee Burke
2002, 275 pages

By Richard Stark
2008, 208 pages

By Richard Stark
2010, 168 pages

By Victor Gischler
2008, 336 pages

By Lawrence Watt-Evans
2005, 203 pages

A few of these were read on the nook, my new little buddy out here in a land where I don’t have my personal collection and no library card. (They frown on giving those out to people with an Idaho driver’s license and no permanent address…) So without further ado, here’s my initial review of the nook, by Barnes and Noble -

Reviews Of Unusual Size - 

The Barnes & Noble nook

I had mightily resisted liking these at first, despite my interest in e-readers, but as I’d feared, I am blown away by the convenience of reading on the nook.

The screen is a nice matte grey-white and has very crisp, clear words that legitimately feel like reading a printed page. I was pretty shocked at that. I’ve read five books or so on the nook since getting it on the fifth of this month. That’s pretty good, though a few were shorter books than usual.

5 Things I LIKE about the nook –

 -1-   Incredibly portable and convenient. I have packed this all over the place since getting it, to work, bed, in the car… I even read it as I’m brushing my teeth!

-2-   The holding capacity. I have 148 books on my nook right now, 10 from B&N, the rest side loaded from my computer. It’s very simple to load and with the expandable SD slot, I’m only using up 1% of my available memory. That’s a lot of books in there!

-3-  The ease of reading. The screen is easy on the eyes, incredibly similar in terms of eyestrain to a regular book. Even to my headache prone brain, the nook is great.

-4-  Design. Though a bit gimmicky, I’ve come to like the touch screen at the bottom of the nook. It lets you access the menus easily and without feeling too foolish and when it shuts off,  you scarcely notice it’s there, it doesn’t interfere with your reading at all.

-5-  Page turns. Though the nook has the inherent page flashes as the e-ink screen refreshes with each page turn, it’s not that distracting, and scarcely takes longer than a real page turn, which is fully fine to me. It’s easy to turn the pages too, with buttons on both sides of the device and the option to flick the pages using the touch screen once it’s gone dark. I do keep thinking the buttons should be higher on the left side though, likely to do with how I hold it with my left hand.

5 Things I DISLIKE about the nook –

-1-  Despite the upgrade and ease of use, the nook is still very buggy. It freezes a bit sometimes and you have to reset it and it does silly things now and again, like taking you to the settings page in the midst of a book.

-2-  Battery life.  Though I’m pretty sure I’m using it more than anticipated, my battery only lasts for about three days, rather than the suggested ten. It’s not that big of deal though, and I have admittedly been playing with the touch screen a lot because it’s a new toy.

-3-  Durability. Despite the ease of packing the nook around, I’m still pretty paranoid about how fragile it seems. My particular nook suffers from a problem that a few have had, the left hand forward button has cracked slightly. This is something that B&N is fixing, but it does make me a bit concerned about future problems.

-4-  The usb connector port. This is a silly little thing, but there’s a tiny ledge along the port and it’s pretty sharp edged. This is also the one spot that my finger tries to rest every time I use this thing.

-5-  The outlandish cost of accessories. Most sleeves and cases for the nook that I’ve found so far run you around fifty bucks. That seems ridiculous. Instead, I bought a case at Target on clearance for fifteen that seems pretty great. I’ll try and get pictures posted eventually.

I’m also a bit concerned about how easy it is to order books on your nook. It’s extremely simple. Like to the point that I should disable my card just in case.


I’ll likely do a new review on this once I’ve had it for a while, to see how it still holds up.


Jonathon Arntson said...

Do I fail, having never heard of any of those?

What prompted you to read SHIVER?

Kristopher and Crew said...

I go through phases with my reading, a lot of the time based around what I'm writing at the time. I find that reading the genre I'm writing helps get me into the right mindset and actually influences my dialogue.

When I read Shiver, I was writing and editing my MG novel, The Whispering Ferns. So I was reading a lot of MG and YA then.

Right now, I'm not writing anything, I need a private space to write and I don't have that, so I'm just reading whatever strikes my fancy, lately that's been 1940-1970's era crime novels. That and Bill Bryson, who writes travel books with a good dose of humor thrown in.

You'd probably like him. The crime books are very much an acquired taste. Lots of death, thievery and hard boiled-ness.

Also, most of these were saved on my hard drive as e-books, and I have scarce few other genres on there right now. (Well, that hand hard SF, but I don't find myself in the mood for those much anymore.)

Jonathon Arntson said...

I wrote the name down. Never done true SF...

randymeiss said...

I really hope you get transferred to Bath. I can't imagine the drudgery you're in now. If you feel guilty about reading on the job how about random surfing and e-books. At least then you can project an "image" of diligently working at the computer.

Sounds like you need to give the audio books a try again. They are invaluable to me on long car trips. If you're interested in future reading in the YA category, I highly recomend Patrick Carman's "Atherton Trilogy". It's a delightful post-apocalyptic scenario I just got done with.