Finally back to this!
I only read three books that I classified as speculative fiction:
I also read two pieces of historical fiction:
I read one novella, another Captain Lacey story by Ashley Gardner, The Necklace Affair. Again, the Captain solves the mystery with the help of his many friends and even an enemy or two. I really enjoy this series!
Finally, I listened to one audiobook, On the Trail of the Space Pirates by Carey Rockwell. I got it from Librivox.org. The story was written for kids, but it was fun to listen to. The young hero, Tom Corbett, is a Space Cadet in the traditional sense of the word, and he ends up saving the day. I enjoyed it.
So that finished up my May reading. So far in June I haven’t read as much as usual, but I may catch up!
I’ve been traveling and haven’t had time, interest or internet connection to post last month’s reading until now. But finally, I am back home and ready to post.
I read The Conquest of the Illinois by George Rogers Clark. It was very interesting to me. I like reading about history (as long as there are no wars involved!) and, being from Illinois, I am especially interested in the history of that part of the country. I won’t say that this was always an easy or fascinating read, but I am glad I read it.
I read 7 mysteries:
OK, I managed to take a lot longer to finish this post than it should have, and I still have a bunch of books to go, so I will be back to finish May’s reading!
You may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything about my writing over the past month. That would be because I have done very little writing. I certainly haven’t written even every week, much less every day. I am disappointed in myself, but that is the way things are right now. I hope to get back to it, but I am not going to stress about it. We’ll just see what happens, I guess.
If you are based in the US, this is a vitally important issue!
What is it? According to The Guardian,
Net neutrality is the idea that internet service providers (ISPs) treat everyone’s data equally, whether that’s an email from your mom, a bank transfer, or a streamed episode of The Handmaid’s Tale. It means that ISPs don’t get to choose which data is sent more quickly and which sites get blocked or throttled (for example slowing the delivery of a TV show because it’s streamed by a video company that competes with a subsidiary of the ISP) and who has to pay extra. For this reason some have described net neutrality as the “first amendment of the internet”.
Why does it matter? According to Mozilla,
Net neutrality is fundamental to free speech. Without net neutrality, big companies could censor your voice and make it harder to speak up online. Net neutrality has been called the “First Amendment of the Internet.”
Net neutrality is fundamental to competition. Without net neutrality, big Internet service providers can choose which services and content load quickly, and which move at a glacial pace. That means the big guys can afford to buy their way in, while the little guys are muscled out.
Net neutrality is fundamental to innovation. Without net neutrality, creators and entrepreneurs could struggle to reach new users. Investment in new ideas would dry up, and the Internet would start to look more and more like cable TV: so many channels, but with nothing on.
Net neutrality is fundamental to user choice. Without net neutrality, ISPs could decide you’ve watched too many cat videos in one day, and throttle your Internet speeds — leaving you behind on the latest Maru memes.
What can you do? Visit one or more of these sites to get ideas:
Or watch this segment by John Oliver on YouTube.
We don’t have a lot of time to make our voices heard. Please take a minute to let the FCC and Congress know how you feel about this issue.
Well, it has taken a little while for me to get back to this, but here goes.
I read two pieces of speculative fiction:
For Historical Fiction, I read The Sudbury School Murders by Ashley Gardner. I really like these books. They are mysteries set in the early 1800s. As is always the case, the mystery was good, and the glimpse into England at that time was quite enjoyable. Captain Lacey has taken a job at a boys school, apparently to solve the problem of serious pranks being played on people at the school. It ends up being much more complicated than that, as the title would imply. I thoroughly enjoyed this book!
I read two pieces of shorter fiction:
I also got back in to listening to books, Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy this month. It was an interesting story of how the world might have been in the year 2000. Bellamy had much higher hopes for us than we deserve, I’m afraid. I got the audio version from Librivox.org.
So April wasn’t a bad month for reading, but it wasn’t great, either. Let’s see how May goes!
I didn’t do a lot of reading in April. My classes took a lot of time, getting the students all settled and comfortable with the courses. But I did some, and I’ll tell you about it here.
I read one non-fictoin book, Hagakure: the Book of the Samurai by Yamamoto Tsunetomo. It was read a research for the books. The edition I read was a poorly done one, but it was free, so I guess I can’t complain! It was an interesting read, but by now it seems familiar. If I were going to read this again, I would opt for a different edition.
I read 4 mysteries:
OK, that’s all I have time for today. More tomorrow?
I read an article on the Guardian today that has me thinking. The title is “How eBooks lost their shine: ‘Kindles now look clunky and unhip’. Unfortunately, I am not sure what I think about it.
The author talks about the resurgence of physical books, stating
figures published today by the Publishing Association show that sales of consumer ebooks have dropped by 17%, while sales of physical books are up 8%.
Overall sales of books in Britain have risen, she goes on to state, which is the good news in all of this as far as I am concerned. The format of the books isn’t as important as the reading of books.
What irritated me was this:
Once upon a time, people bought books because they liked reading. Now they buy books because they like books. “All these people are really thinking about how the books are – not just what’s in them, but what they’re like as objects,” says Jennifer Cownie, who runs the beautiful Bookifer website and the Cownifer Instagram, which match books to decorative papers, and who bought a Kindle but hated it.
In general, this seems like a throwback to the days of people having libraries or bookshelves filled with books that were there to impress, not to be read. That doesn’t seem like progress to me. Books are for reading, not as a kind of art. It shouldn’t matter what the cover looks like; the story is what matters.
And I have to wonder why she didn’t like her Kindle. Was it because it was unhip or because reading on it was not pleasurable? Did she give the Kindle a chance or just abandon it right away?
Buried way down in the article was a very important statement:
The figures from the Publishing Association should be treated with some caution. They exclude self-published books, a sizable market for ebooks. And, according to Dan Franklin, a digital publishing specialist, more than 50% of genre sales are on ebook. Digital book sales overall are up 6%.
Most of the authors I read are self-published. Part of that is because there are some awesome self-published authors out there, and part is because traditional publishers often price their ebooks at or higher than the paperback editions.
There is another side to this discussion, too, and that is privacy. My husband sent me a link to a First Monday article by Clifford Lynch on reader privacy in the age of reader analytics. I will admit to not having read the whole article, but his closing thoughts include these:
At some point it’s worth asking what readers of various kinds will actually tolerate before the creepiness factor becomes overwhelming and repulsive. Suppose, as a thought experiment, that Amazon said it would share every purchaser’s e-mail address with the author of books they purchased? (Pick your own opt-in or opt-out boundary conditions). How about sharing this information with the book’s publisher? Would a discount on the purchase price or some other reward make most readers more comfortable? What conditions (enforceable or not) might be imposed on the author or the publisher regarding reuse of this purchaser information, and would this make any difference to readers’ comfort levels? What choices would customers make in such situations?
I probably don’t worry as much about privacy as I should. Do I need to worry about Amazon or Kobo selling my data? Would I be better off switching to paper books? Amazon could still sell my data if I buy my books from them. I don’t see much way around it: we have very limited privacy anymore.
My husband loves to buy and read physical books. He only reads used books that he buys or gets from lending libraries without any paper trail. He is very concerned about privacy and, although he has had two ereaders, never got into ebooks. His approach is a fine one, I think. But it doesn’t work for me.
I love my ereaders. I love my ebooks. I buy mostly genre fiction by independent authors, so ebooks are right for me. What about you?