Friday’s workout didn’t go well. Running on fumes, I felt the way Hunter Thompson described himself in “Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas” — much inappropriate sweating. Yes, you’re supposed to sweat while you exercise, but not this much. Went home, showered, ran this errand and that, couldn’t regulate my thermostat, caught a chill. And then, Saturday morning, it was official: Sick. Oh, well. It’s been stalking me all winter; might as well get it over with.
At least it happened on a weekend. I had planned to go to Eastern Market, maybe call a friend for lunch, walk the Dequindre Cut and hope for spring. Instead I slept and whined and slept and finished Major Pettigrew. By late afternoon, I felt better, well enough to rise and grocery shop and blah blah blah, but I’m cautiously optimistic this may have been a 24-hour thing. One day of having one’s clock cleaned, rather than the two-week cold so many of you have been struggling with? I’ll take it.
Among the other things we had to take on Saturday — heavy rains (would have washed out any recreational stroll) followed by snow. Another two inches. Sigh. I think I bear up under winter’s assault like a trouper, but by March I’m thinking about crocuses and daffodils. A gardener once told me to plant peas on St. Patrick’s Day. Are you kidding me? It was a good day to stay in bed.
Major Pettigrew was an absolute joy, by the way. I’m looking forward to the book-club discussion Friday.
Which seems as good a transition as any into the iPad. Unlike many Appleheads, I don’t spring for every new gadget that comes along, but it seems I spring for quite a lot of them, eventually. In the world of Appleheads, this represents enormous restraint. I’m still hanging onto by nearly three-year-old iPhone with no plans for an upgrade, but the new iPad is sorely tempting me. It seems like so much machine for a mere five bills, and I can think of a million places I would use it, rather than shlep my laptop around. I figure it’s only a matter of time, which then raises the question of e-books. I don’t want to go all Andy Rooney here — he already did — but it seems these will be inevitable, and I might as well get with the program. As I always embrace technology with ambivalence, I expect my e-book collection will be as whack as my MP3 collection, which started out being strictly upbeat workout music and oddities I might throw into a home movie soundtrack, and now is, frankly, an embarrassment. I don’t want to wipe out on my bike and have the EMTs pluck the earbuds from my cooling ears to hear “Brand New Key.” But, in that strange way that the delivery device always changes that which it delivers, so too will e-readers change publishing. I had coffee with an author friend the other day, who reported that her author friends, the ones who write niche products like spanking stories and other erotica, are enjoying a boom in sales. You can hide anything in a Kindle, it seems.
And as I recall, another author friend says the Kindle is great for hot new books you want to read in, but not necessarily read through — think “Game Change” and other texts-between-covers that really should be long magazine articles. For ten bucks, you can Kindle ’em, scan ’em and forget ’em. Lots of magazines cost five bucks these days; is that so much more?
Do you sense I am trying to talk myself into something here?
Maybe Connie or one of you librarians can enlighten me: How does e-pub work in lending? How do you “borrow” an e-book? Do you get a time-limited license that expires after two weeks? What are the copyright protections like, or do we now expect authors to write free, too?
Manic Monday, so let’s go bloggage-ing:
We’re No. 1! My very own congressional district — Michigan 13 — was at the absolute bottom of the heap in this fascinating but irritatingly vague map of “the nation’s well-being.” How did yours do?
Planning for life after Glenn Beck, on Fox.
Echoing Gene Weingarten: A fart joke in Dennis the Menace! (And, as he points out, you shoulda seen the first draft.)
Gotta run. Enjoy Monday, all.
Bitter Scribe said on March 7, 2011 at 10:36 am
As it happens, the Chi Trib had an article about libraries and e-books yesterday. It said HarperCollins is putting a 26-checkout limit on their e-books, which the librarians don’t like at all.
Connie said on March 7, 2011 at 10:37 am
Library e-book programs are controlled by a license. We don’t actually buy and own the e-book, we license the right to it. In the largest program, Overdrive, the one shared by a large consortium of libraries in the Detroit Metro area, and available to Fort Wayne/Allen County library users as well, only as many copies as you have purchased of the e-book can be out at one time, so you may find yourself on a waiting list for the digital version. And yes it will disappear after two weeks or whatever is the designated check-out. Other programs such as NetLibrary have more generous licensing regulations, at least with their audio books, and will allow multiple simultaneous downloads.
It was hard to miss last week’s announcement by publisher Harper Collins that as of this week new titles licensed through Overdrive would be limited to 26 checkouts and would either be no longer available after 26 or would need to be repurchased.
I understand their point in terms of revenue and author’s rights, but it still seems, well stupid to me to not allow multiple simultaneous uses of a digital product.
These products provide e-books in the “standard” epub format which can be read on any reader except for the Kindle. And for your ipad you will need an app.
Overdrive also has a resident user restriction which makes sense to me. If you want to come to my library’s web page to download epubs you must enter the appropriate library card number which is verified against our user database. No reciprocal privileges for electronic resources. Our pricing is based on population served.
I have just signed the contract to add music downloads to our e-book and audio-book download selection. This is a product called Freegal and makes available mostly Sony music product.
And yes all Overdrive e-book products are protected by DRM.
Deborah said on March 7, 2011 at 10:40 am
As I mentioned here before I got an iPad a couple of weeks ago. I love it. I’ve only download one book so far because I’ve got a few real books (you know what I mean) to finish reading. The book I bought is by David Sedaris, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, which is hilarious as is everything by Sedaris. I plan to download a few more before my trip to NM next week. The battery on the iPad is awesome, something like 10 hours I think. My favorite part is I can read it at night and not disturb my sleeping husband by turning on a light. I know you can do that with other e-books too, but this is the best. I bought the old iPad right before the new one came out, I knew that before I bought it. I researched what the new one was going to have as best I could and it didn’t seem like anything I really needed and wanted to have it in my hot little hands before our trip. Now I’m looking for a decent case for it, that I can tuck into my handbag that doesn’t break the bank. So far the ones I’ve seen are around $39-$48 and not worth it.
LAMary said on March 7, 2011 at 11:18 am
Dave, sorry to hear about your dog. I know it’s very difficult and sad.
Nancy, not to be a downer but be careful with that cold. It fades in and out at the beginning, then floors you. I haven’t been that sick in a really long time and never been that sick with a cold.
Connie said on March 7, 2011 at 11:34 am
I loved “Major Pettigrew” and it also wins my personal award for best cover of 2010.
Julie Robinson said on March 7, 2011 at 11:36 am
We’ve been having this discussion in our house and spent yesterday looking at netbooks for the hubby, who has both a dead laptop and a birthday this week. Apple products were ruled out because he needs flash for work, and he doesn’t think the other tablets are worth their price.
And I’ve been thinking of a Nook to take advantage of library e-books and the ability to enlarge fonts. Or maybe I just need to buy a whole-page magnifier? It sounds like publishers may make e-books too expensive for libraries, and as a librarian’s daughter I can’t bring myself to buy books that I’m not going to re-read.
Music downloads would be awesome since I love to explore recordings but often only want to listen a few times. Right now our son has Napster and I can piggyback along on his membership. For musicians, Napster and the like are fantastic options. For $16/month, he can listen to all 200 interpretations of a certain piece if he wants to.
BTW, the above mentioned hubby was named for Dennis the Menace. Really. Family lore is that as he was #8, Mom & Dad threw the naming rights out to the older kids, who were fond of the comic strip. Those of you who know him also know that the Menace part has never, ever applied to this sweet guy.
Dorothy said on March 7, 2011 at 11:40 am
We took three Kenyon students to the Columbus Museum of Art yesterday, then introduced them to The Book Loft in German Village (a fabulous 32-room establishment that is clearly not for the claustrophobic). That’s where I bought “Major Pettigrew.” I’m already absorbed in it and I’m only on page 15. Lunch hour today will be spent falling into it a little more. I’d be further but some yarn I ordered arrived via USPS on Saturday. A co-worker is expecting triplets and I promised I’d make three blankets for the wee ones, due on August 1st but expected to be delivered sooner than that. I wish I could crochet/knit and read at the same time.
Julie Robinson said on March 7, 2011 at 12:11 pm
Dorothy, you could with an audiobook. 🙂
nancy said on March 7, 2011 at 12:12 pm
I was in such a rush this morning I forgot to include the link to the map of the nation’s well-being. Thanks for being too polite to mention it. It’s in there now.
Oh, and Deborah — I don’t know if you’re crafty, but it seems there are zillions of sew-it-yourself iPad cover plans out there. Mrs. Sweet Juniper made one from scrap.
Suzanne said on March 7, 2011 at 12:17 pm
I heard about the Harper Collins e-book fiasco. Sadly, libraries are under attack probably more than schools these days, but there are fewer of us library people to fight it. It’s not a profession that I ever thought I would have to watch die off…
Connie said on March 7, 2011 at 12:25 pm
Suzanne, I also have that despairing feeling that my lifetime profession is dying off. I discouraged my own daughter from considering a library/information science master’s program. Though whether that IU SPEA Master’s in Public Policy/Environmental Policy she is currently half way through will serve her better? I have no idea. It is getting her to Oxford for the summer though, which is cool, even though I have to babysit her very hairy dog.
Bitter Scribe said on March 7, 2011 at 12:40 pm
I was married to a librarian during the very beginning of the Internet era. My ex-wife kept saying that reference librarians, in particular, would be replaced by the Internet.
She had a point. I used to call a reference librarian at least once every couple of months, but I haven’t done so in years.
mccxxiii said on March 7, 2011 at 12:48 pm
“And as I recall, another author friend says the Kindle is great for hot new books you want to read in, but not necessarily read through — think “Game Change” and other texts-between-covers that really should be long magazine articles. For ten bucks, you can Kindle ‘em, scan ‘em and forget ‘em. Lots of magazines cost five bucks these days; is that so much more?”
As for my personal Kindle experience, this is *exactly, completely* true. You nailed it. That’s why the borrowing/lending thing has never loomed in my mind: If I buy a book that I might want to actually *keep* and lend around, I’m not getting that on the Kindle.
I think there’s a lot of room for coolness in the “Kindle Single” territory, too. We’ll see what develops there.
Kim said on March 7, 2011 at 1:23 pm
I totally do not get that map. Maybe it’s because it’s Monday, but it seems to be missing the ‘splainer.
prospero said on March 7, 2011 at 1:27 pm
If Dennis were really a menace, he’d bite those bubbles. And Nancy, Melanie Safka is a certified artiste. Brand New Key is a work of pure lascivious genius. Not anything like not quite clean utrou when medics get to you. Joanie Jr. I am nearing the end of 2666 (Savage Detectives is better.) It’s astounding, but who could stare at a screen long enough to make it through 900 pp? How long would it take to download? How will all this e-book bidness be affected by net.non-neutrality, when Scalia tells Roberts it’s time to mess that up for everybody.
Julie Robinson said on March 7, 2011 at 1:37 pm
A youngish friend just made an amazing discovery: homemade stove-top vanilla pudding. It took every ounce of energy to refrain from a tactless geezer remark.
Dexter said on March 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm
I haven’t unwrapped my Sony reader yet. I will, sooner or later.
I don’t buy the latest gadget until the big announcement from the manufacturer that the price has dropped greatly, which guarantees my new product will be obsolete in a few weeks.
I was very pleased a couple nights ago when I was looking for some info in the online edition of The New Yorker, and discovered that all I had to do was enter my subscription number and sha-zaam! An entire digital edition available with free archives access going back to every story since 1925! I felt like I had just received a great present. I have no idea when they got this thing going.
I also am receiving emails to alert me to stuff I might otherwise pass over.
John Brown said on March 7, 2011 at 2:44 pm
My wife has a kindle and loves it. You can get a lot of out-of-copyright books (pre-1923). Melville, Twain and many others are available for free. We got the 3G Wi-Fi.
Hattie said on March 7, 2011 at 3:00 pm
I am on my fourth e-book and third Kindle. The first was a Sony reader, the second a Kindle 2, which I destroyed with careless handling, the third a Kindle 2 which I ruthlessly dumped for the Kindle 3. I read about three times as much as I used to, and I don’t have piles of books and newspapers and magazines around any more.
One thing I love is to read a review of a book in the NYT (Kindle download, 99 cents) and download a sample for free and decide whether or not to buy it.
As to libraries and librarians: it’s all data base management now, so anyone thinking of going into library science should do that instead. It’s a lucrative profession and uses the same skills as librarianship.
Rana said on March 7, 2011 at 3:06 pm
Dorothy – is it the difficulty of holding the book that’s preventing you from knitting while reading, or is it that the knitting requires too much of your attention? If it’s the first, you might try this device – I find it remarkably easy to use (and, yes, sometimes I knit while reading).
(Plus it’s available on Amazon, so you can do the kickback thing for our hostess.)
Bob (not Greene) said on March 7, 2011 at 3:33 pm
Nance, If Michigan 13 is last, then I think my district (IL 3) may be next to last (63 on the scale). Of course, my congressman is Dan Lipinski, so that would explain a lot.
Dorothy said on March 7, 2011 at 3:37 pm
Well I’m actually crocheting these blankets (one at a time, of course). And I have to look down at the crocheting to see which stitch I’m going into – the front or the back of the stitch. With knitting you can kind of “feel” with the needles where you’re going to do the next stitch, but I’m not 100% confident in my abilities to do that yet. I’ve knitted for less than 2 years and still feel like I’m doing baby steps at it.
An audio book sounds wonderful (thanks Julie!) but if I use the DVD player in the living room, then Mike can’t watch t.v. if he wants to. It’s too much bother to move the lap top out of that room and sit on the bed to crochet and have the book playing, worry about dog hairs getting into my project, and worrying about Augie (dog) or the Lucy (cat) jumping up and bumping the laptop. Our downstairs/walk out basement is rather chilly compared to the rest of the house and I’d have to put on a space heater if I planted myself down there to read and stitch. I prefer the cozy upstairs. Don’t I just sound like the most complicated person ever?!
paddyo' said on March 7, 2011 at 3:48 pm
Deborah, I’m not in the iPad/Kindle/Sony Reader world yet (lots of pressure from friends/colleagues, but lots more regular books to read and not lots of spare cash lying around), so take this with the proverbial salt, a shaker’s worth, but:
I happened across this yesterday in The Denver Post, a combination iPad case and Bluetooth keyboard that, if you’re needing a keyboard, sounds pretty cool, even elegant.
Judybusy said on March 7, 2011 at 3:50 pm
Dorothy, have you considered earphones?(Your brain sounds much like mine btw!)
Rana, I’m in awe you can knit and read at the same time.
I’ve put Major Pettigrew on the wait list at the library.
On Amazon, a search for the Major also brought up Mrs. Pettigrew lives for a Day, recently re-issued by Persephone Press. They specialize in publishing 20th century neglected authors–mostly women, naturally. They seem to publish the kinds of British lit I enjoy, and wanted to let the readers here know of them, if you weren’t acquainted.
moe99 said on March 7, 2011 at 4:44 pm
A younger member of our church works at Amazon. He said that Kindles should be able to download books from the library, but the librarian I emailed wrote that it was not possible given the current state of technology from amazon. Wonder who is right here?
Rana said on March 7, 2011 at 4:47 pm
Judybusy, it’s only socks, because it’s the same thing going ’round and ’round. It helped get me through my orals prep in grad school, because I’m too fidgetty to sit still without something to do.
Julie Robinson said on March 7, 2011 at 4:49 pm
Dorothy, to me you sound like someone always thinking of others–of Mike and your co-worker (three! blankets). Baby blankets are fun though, aren’t they? All those lovely yarns, plus I’m too old for big/complicated projects.
I didn’t know there was a Mrs. Pettigrew book; is it what the movie was based on? Only they made her a Miss. Funny, funny flick.
prospero said on March 7, 2011 at 5:13 pm
That is one scary looking woman Newt married. I bet there is green alligator skin just below that paleface surface.
MichaelG said on March 7, 2011 at 7:30 pm
Hey, VelvetGoldmine, nobody has “claimed” (paypal’s word) the money I posted the other day. I sent it to email@example.com. Is that wrong? Lemme know.
Dorothy said on March 7, 2011 at 8:19 pm
The two Pettigrew books can’t really be connected (other than the name) because “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand” is the first novel for its writer.
I am in a serious funk because earlier this evening my sister Diane “liked” Michelle Malkin on Facebook. I knew she had “liked” Sarah Palin a few months ago. She and her husband are pretty conservative. Still, I feel like I have to do an intervention or something – kidnap her and have her de-programmed immediately, if not sooner!
Lola said on March 7, 2011 at 9:15 pm
Prospero, I’m thinking a lot about about THEY LIVE lately.
Jolene said on March 7, 2011 at 9:21 pm
Liking Michelle Malkin is pretty serious–not so much because she’s a conservative, but because she’s so mean. I don’t follow her, but every time I come across something she’s said, I’m astonished by how hateful she can be.
Deborah said on March 7, 2011 at 9:37 pm
My right wing sister is a huge Michelle Malkin fan. Jolene, you are so right about MM, she is as mean as they come. My sister is one angry son of a gun too, I can see why she is attracted.
brian stouder said on March 7, 2011 at 9:39 pm
I’ve been trying to get Pam to post here, especially since she just got a Nook in the past month, and she loves that thing.
Getting books from the library entails downloading a file onto your computer, and then getting it from there onto your Nook; whereas getting books from B&N is a direct shot.
She told me that one of my main objections – that if you lose your reader, you’ve lost your library – is overcome by B&N, as they keep your library on record, and can restore it to a new machine if that becomes necessary.(well, everything you bought from them, anyway!)
She also says that they frequently have random “buy this book today for .99” sales, which she likes.
Her challenge was getting the lighting right; apparently, there’s no single “best way”. For her, an external light is best, as she finds back-lit screens tiresome.
btw – when I rolled my mouse across that map of “well being” in the US, I found that it went from “vague” to flatly deceptive.
For example – put your mouse on Nevada. It says “65”. Roll north into Oregon, which is clearly a shade darker, and it still says “65”. Roll east toward Idaho, and even though the color remains the same as the Oregon-“65” area, the number jumps to “67”!
‘Course, I don’t know what any of those numbers mean, in any case.
I was sick as a dog all day Sunday – lots of BIG sneezes and excess fluids -but Monday was a lot better. (and all I have to say to Mary is “I’m not listening!! nahnahnahnahnahnahnahnahnah)
edit: Re-Malkin (et al) – plain spite seems to make the money flow. I think that a human inclination is to cut to the chase; tell me who the bad guy is, and don’t be subtle.
For example, it would be so, so, so nice if the “tea baggers” ever read a single truly nonfiction THING about our “Founding Fathers”. The other night I was repeating (with due credit!) what Nancy said about Huckabee/busts/Winston Churchill/Abraham Lincoln/Barack Obama – and fell into a (friendly) argument with a guy!
He pointed out that the Brits are very great frinds, blah blah blah, and removing Churchill from the Oval was legitimately, truly offensive.
After we hashed over that, I went after Huck’s Kenyan gambit, and the other fellow retreated a little, only to stubornly defend Huckabee’s criticisms of Obama’s worldview and assumptions…in other words, his unAmerican viewpoints.
I regaled him with a recitation of how Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were accused of being Francophiles (and Jacobins), while they accused Hamilton (and indeed – Washington) for being “monocrats” and Anglophiles.
Apparently, questioning the vintage of one’s “truly American” perspectives and assumptions is as old American politics. Indeed, Nance’s linked article about Beck-fatigue is directly on this same subject. Muck-rakers and party-organ grinders date all the way back to the old days, too….in fact, I’ll give Beck this much credit: he actually stands there and spews the muck out of his own mouth, himself – as opposed to all those newspaper pseudonym attacks that our fussy Founding Fathers loved so much, back in the day.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 7, 2011 at 9:53 pm
Prospero, I showed that picture to my wife; my son leaned in to see, and said, in his 12 year old innocence “wait, that’s a statue, isn’t it?”
Julie, bless you in your restraint.
Julie Robinson said on March 7, 2011 at 10:14 pm
Jeff I have probably mentioned this before but at about that age our son saw a video of Michael Jackson performing as a child and asked “Michael Jackson used to be black?”
Brian, the random bargain books for .99 appeals to me. (And everyone knows you have to spend money to save money, right?) I put Major Pettigrew on hold as an e-book to see how just reading it on the computer might feel.
I just got over that two-week steamroller cold and Dennis started sneezing tonight. We were greeters at church on Sunday and shook a lot of hands. But bless the two people who told us they had colds and weren’t shaking!
Judybusy said on March 7, 2011 at 10:18 pm
Julie–my typo. The movie is based on a book, MISS Pettigrew….and Dorothy, no there’s no connection between the two books except both popped up when I searched for the Major on Amazon. I just had never heard of Persephone Press and wanted to share. I loved the movie, Miss Pettigrew and now will put that on the to read list as well.
On edit: Just checked the library catalog: Miss P is available on CD read by Frances McDormand! (I have yet to figure out the whole download method, so stick to CDs when I want to listen….)
joodyb said on March 7, 2011 at 10:44 pm
Deborah and paddyo, i have the aforementioned Zagg keyboard/case. well worth the wait. the touchpad makes me crazy; the bluetooth keyboard makes it a little laptop, not full-sized but way better for any kind of data entry. and it is nearly weightless. it was a great birthday present.
no, the iPad screen is not visible outdoors. (i can sit on the patio and type on a laptop if needed. i get that chance 2x a year here maybe.) yes, you can sit outside with your kindle, but i wouldn’t take either one of them to the beach.
(iPad screen also beautiful for movie/tv downloads. great on a plane.)
Jolene said on March 7, 2011 at 11:36 pm
Moe, your librarian is correct re not being able to download books to the Kindle. A bit of googling indicates that the Kindle uses a proprietary file type that Amazon controls. That’s the short answer. A librarian has written a longer answer that explains how the coding and management of digital files is done and how that relates to the usability of diverse file types on particular devices. Her article contains a link to a very useful cheat sheet, meant for library staff, that lists devices that are compatible w/ the file types used by libraries–as of when the article was written in August, 2010.
LAMary said on March 7, 2011 at 11:46 pm
If you like Miss Pettigrew you should definitely look for Barbara Pym novels. Another wonderful 20th century English novelist of that type is E.F. Benson. All the Lucia novels are very entertaining. Barbara Pym is like Jane Austen set in postwar England. Sometimes laugh out loud funny, sometimes just charming.
barbara said on March 8, 2011 at 5:05 am
There are 3 ways at the very least to read ebooks on an iPad — with a Kindle app, with the native Books app, and with Stanza, all free, and all have their plusses and minuses.
Lots of ways to read things, and I see that Overdrive now has a way to download directly to iPad (this is new to me — I might have to revisit once this week is over). So make that 4.
If you go for the free public domain books, they’re almost always reformatted Project Gutenberg books. PG is starting to make their own epubs (mostly autogenerated; formatting quality is variable), so you can download them directly into your iPad from there.
I love my iPad for reading books. I didn’t think I would, but it was great for rereading a series that I have stored in a box… somewhere.
Oh, and get GoodReader (.99 last I looked). It has a few interface issues, but it’s a great all-purpose reader of documents, and can sync to your dropbox so you’re not dependent on your computer to get documents in and out of your iPad.
jcburns said on March 8, 2011 at 9:08 am
Yep, Barbara, you’ve hit the highlights. We have just dozens of PDFs and ebooks that we read in iBooks, in Stanza, in GoodReader, and in the Kindle app on the iPad…and we too use Dropbox for easy synching and general tossing back and forth.
We used to take long trips where Sammy would literally bring a bankers box full of (did I mention heavy?) books along for entertainment and reference. Nowadays, all of that fits into a more atomic, more searchable, pinchy device.
Julie Robinson said on March 8, 2011 at 9:32 am
judybusy, I’m going to have to listen to Miss Pettigrew read by Frances McDormand, it sounds like a treasure. Our library has Overdrive and it is super easy to use, and I will tell you that nothing on a computer comes easy to me.
jc, the travel convenience is what will probably tip me into buying an e-reader, especially if our daughter ends up moving far, far away, as she is now contemplating.
Dorothy said on March 8, 2011 at 10:01 am
“Mean” is the very first word that came to mind to describe Ms. Malkin when I saw my sister’s Facebook decision. All I can do is hope she realizes her mistake someday and changes her mind. I wouldn’t put it past her to do it just to get my dander up. She’s got a warped kind of sense of humor.
Judybusy said on March 8, 2011 at 10:05 am
LAMary, I’ve read both those authors and do just love them! I haven’t read all of Pym’s yet, still savoring to make them last. Pity she wasn’t recognized sooner and therefore didn’t write more. Rumer Godden and Penelope Lively are both wonderful authors who wrote many young adult books that can be enjoyed by real adults. They also have many written for adult readers, full of subtle relationship portraits.