Unfinished books

unfinished-books072012 from shelf-awareness dot comLast year when I was working on my dissertation, I only managed to read something like eleven “fun” books, and two of those were at the very end of the year after I had deposited. For myriad reasons I was incredibly excited when I finished my degree. One of those reasons was that I would be able to read “fun” books again. I had missed being able to cozy up in bed or on the couch and just read. Of the books I read last year, very few of them held me captive. I had missed staying up until the wee hours of the morning or standing up to find my legs cramping due to having been in the same position for hours, because I was so into a book that I forgot the rest of the world existed.  Mostly, I read a little before I turned the light out to fall asleep. It was more habit than insatiable thirst.

Well, it is almost March, so presumably I have consumed many books and have been able to scratch my reading itch, right? Well, let’s evaluate. Of the books I have finished, one of them was a non-fiction book (which. truthfully, was rather captivating) and the other was a graphic novel. Yes, that is correct: So far this year, I have only finished two books! Continue reading

Categories: Book Reviews, Random Ruminations, Reading | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Happy Birthday, Bram Stoker!

Today is the 165th anniversary of Bram Stoker’s birth. Thank you Google for bringing this to my attention. He was Irish (yeah, baby). He published Dracula in 1897. He wrote other novels, short stories and non-fiction – none of which I’ve read. Maybe I should get around to that. However, Dracula is one of my favorite books and to date, still one of the best vampire books ever written. Well, when you’re the immortalizer of a myth, it is hard to be topped, I suppose.

Also, did you know that his great-grand nephew Dacre Stoker, along with Ian Holt, published a “sequel” to Dracula a few years ago? It is called Dracula: The Un-Dead. A quick glance at the reviews tells me it is not a very good “sequel,” but that as a stand-alone, alternate story about vampires, it is a quick and entertaining read. So, I think I may check it out.

Another bit of trivia: the first movie based on Bram Stoker’s novel was Nosferatu in 1922 with Max Schreck. Stoker’s widow, Florence Stoker was still alive at the time. Apparently the movie makers did not have the rights to the story and they didn’t pay her any royalties either, so she sued them. The result was that the film be destroyed, but, obviously, not all copies were destroyed since it is still available.  I liked the movie. However, the first authorized movie was Dracula with Bela Lugosi (yeah, baby). Did you know that Tod Browning directed it?!? I suppose I must have known that at some point, but apparently I forgot, because upon just re-discovering that fact, I was like, “no way!”

Anyway, Happy Birthday, Bram Stoker! May you rest in peace.

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Rant on the Nook versus the Kindle

Awhile ago I decided to buy an e-reader.  I figured if, one day, I end up self-publishing, I should know what is out there and how others do it.  So, I did some research and I ended up buying a Nook instead of a Kindle.  Here are some reasons why:

– It was cheaper.

– The cheapest version of the Nook seemed to be better than the cheapest version of the Kindle (I don’t remember my reasoning at the moment).

– But the number one reasons why I decided to buy a Nook over a Kindle was because I felt the Nook catered more towards the self-published author and Barnes and Noble were less interested in controlling the market like Amazon.

Let me explain.  The Nook supports e-pub files.  I don’t know if the Kindle supports these files, but I don’t think so.  This file is the format that is not associated with any particular apparatus or company.  It is the generic file.  This means that the Nook supports platforms such as Project Gutenberg and Smashwords.  If you are not already aware of Smashwords, you should check it out – it is awesome.  And, it is the e-publishing platform that provides authors with the largest royalties and control over pricing.  Of course, Smashwords’ audience is much smaller than Amazon, but publishing on Smashwords means your book is distributed to and can be read on a number of different readers, not just the Kindle.

Secondly,as much as I love Amazon, I really do not want them to rule the world, which is  Continue reading

Categories: Miscellaneous, Reading | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Pub(lishing) Crawl

I am still plugging away on my dissertation.  The past three or four days I got distracted doing other things, but I still feel like I am close to being done.  I was hoping to be done by this Friday, but I’m not done with the Appendix chapter yet!  It is ridiculous how much time I have spent on the Appendix!  Anyway, I MUST finish it before the school year starts…

But that is not the purpose of this post.

I just wanted to share this blogsite with anyone out there who is interested and hasn’t already discovered it:

I absolutely love it!  It seems like every morning there is a fresh, new post by some author or editor.  While I have not even begun a fiction manuscript yet, I always find their posts interesting, informative and inspiring.  It is also not a bad place to discover some new books.

So, there you have it.  Check it out.  Enjoy!

Categories: Miscellaneous, Reading, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nook Books and Cyber Writers

That was my attempt at rhyming.  That was the best I could do.  This is why I don’t write poetry.

I just got a Nook!  And I love it!

Originally, I resisted the e-reader.  I was considering it mostly for school, so that I could use it for articles, because I HATE reading things on the computer.  Not websites and blogs, but PDFs or stories.  Unless it is an exceedingly long article, I usually print out the articles I use for my academic work.  I realize this can be construed as a waste of paper, but it is the only way I can force myself to read them.  This way I can highlight, take notes and feel like I am engaging with the material.  There is something about being able to sift through papers, the feel of flipping to a new page.    This is also why I am convinced the physical book will never die, despite the convenience of the e-reader.  And nothing smells quite as comforting as an old book.

Well, none of the e-readers seem to support the functions I originally wanted in one.  (The possible exception is the I-Pad, but that is far too expensive for me at the moment.  One day, maybe.  You know, when there is something far cooler available that I still won’t be able to afford.)  This is probably because the e-reader was not designed for the academic, but for the more general reader, something of which this world has far more.

I would also like to point out at this time, because there are certain stories I can’t help but tell, that my 10-year old self was prophetic regarding the e-reader.  First, to give you some idea of how long ago this was, going to the movies cost less than $3.00, you could fill up your car with gas for about $15.00, the U.S. president ate jelly beans, and the future was Back to the Future.  My 10-year old self started writing a story called, Escape?  Descriptive, huh?  Anyway, it took place in the future.  There were aliens and spaceships and…electronic handheld diaries, in which the main character stored all her books, reference materials and wrote in her diary.  She lamented the loss of the feel of a paper book in her hand, but as her family was to embark on a long space voyage, there simply wasn’t room for physical books.  Yeah, I suppose it was inevitable that computers would get smaller and smaller. Nevertheless, I like to think it was prophetic of my 10-year old self.

Today, many years later, I finally have my own handheld diary…except, I can only read on it.  I decided to finally cave in and buy one because my interest in its capabilities have changed.  Ever since I decided that, once I am done with the Ph.D., I need to start working on my creative writing again, I have been thinking about the self-published e-books already available.  I have come across a variety that I want to read, but like I said above, I HATE reading on my computer.  I can’t snuggle with my laptop in bed.  So, my reasons for wanting an e-reader shifted.  Instead of wanting one to aid in research, I started wanting one for its intended purpose: fun reading.

I was also thinking that I should probably know what kinds of things are being self-published, because, when the time comes, chances are that, if I want my book published, I will have to do it myself.  Today, this is a much more exciting prospect than it was 10 years ago.  So, just like “writers read,” I figure “self-published authors read self-published novels.” And I’m having a ball so far.  SO much interesting stuff available.  It never ceases to amaze me the depths of people’s imaginations, even with a story that has been told time and again.

Which leads me to my next point: Cyber Writers.  You guys are awesome!

This is the first blog I’ve started that has had a well-defined theme involving a subject to which I am dedicated.  It is also my first blog to have actual readers.  Before I started it I was convinced that no one wanted to read yet another blog about writing.  There are so many out there already.  What I failed to consider was that it does not matter:  writers write and writers read, and writers write and read about writing.  Just in the couple of weeks since I’ve started this, I feel like I’ve learned so much.

And my eyes have been opened to the writing community.  There are so many of us, from those with several books already under the belt to virtual beginners like myself.  And it seems like there are so many supportive, encouraging voices out there.  Such a wonderful community.  I really appreciate that and I thought I would let you all know.

Y’all are awesome!  Thanks!


Categories: Miscellaneous, Random Ruminations, Reading | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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