eBooks or Real Books?

A Picture of a eBook

Image via Wikipedia

First, let me point out, eBooks are real books. You might not agree—but you’re wrong. Sorry. Which one you prefer reading, however, is up to you. So let me revise my title to: eBooks or Paper Books?

It’s a hot topic. It’s been covered so much lately, I probably shouldn’t waste a blog on it. But I need to talk about it. Reading is such a large part of my life. I can’t sleep unless I read before bed. So, what’s my opinion? Well, I am the proud owner of an iPad. (First generation, thank you.)

Reading-wise, the best thing about an iPad verses, say. . . a Kindle is that I can have a Kindle app on my iPad. In fact, I do have the Kindle app. Plus, I have an iBook, Nook, Bookman and Stanza app. (I also have a Borders… soon to be deleted).

Needless to say, when my lovely family presented me with an iPad last Christmas, I was thrilled. I immediately downloaded a book and began reading. Ironically, I downloaded it on my Kindle app. Outlanders by Diana Gabaldon.

First eBook Experience

 On The Down Side

  1. Reading on the iPad after working on the computer all day hurt my eyes. Not good!
  2. I found Outlanders good, but not great. What’s that got to do with eBooks vs. Paper books? In Paper Book format, if I’m getting frustrated with a book, I have a physical sense of how much more reading I’ll have to do to get through it. This gives me a sense of whether I want to hang in or not. In eBook format, I have no concrete idea how much longer the darn book is. Even if I make the font exactly the same size as a Paper Book, I still can’t physically judge how much longer it is.  I think it makes the book seem longer.
  3. This comment is specific to the iPad: It is soooooo easy to get distracted on an iPad.

On The Up Side

  1. I loved being able to touch a word and get a definition.  
  2. I found the iPad comfortable to hold.
  3. It also fit nicely in my purse.

Given those comments, you’d think I’d be a total Paper Book person. Well, that was 10 months ago. This is now.

eBook Experience 10 Months Later….

On The Up Side

  1. Bought a non-glare cover for my screen. Eyestrain is no longer a problem.
  2. Having a self-lit book is awesome. Especially nice when traveling. Hotels don’t have nice reading lights like our bedroom, but with my eBook I can turn off all the lights, let my hubby go to sleep, and still read my book.
  3. Paper books feel so heavy and cumbersome now.
  4. I just finished reading The Last Werewolf in hardback. It had soooo many words I needed to look up. I glossed right over them. If I can’t tap on a word and get a definition—forget it.
  5. Highlighting! Sure I can highlight favorite passages in a Paper Book—but can I find them again? My eBook indexes my highlighted passages for easy reference later.
  6. I can do a search for words in my eBook.

On The Down Side

1. It is still soooooo easy to get distracted on an iPad.

See—I’m getting better!

How ‘bout it. What’s your opinion? eBook or Paper Book? I still like them both… but I’m leaning toward eBooks.


What’s Your G-Rated Fantasy?

"G" rating of Motion Picture Associa...

Image via Wikipedia

A couple of writer friends and I were having coffee the other day and as we often do complaining about submissions. Specifically, the fact that whether you submit to an agent or an editor, the odds of getting a response, even a generic one, seems less than .000001 percent anymore. Most agencies don’t even try to hide the fact they won’t respond: “If you don’t hear back from us in three months, we’re not interested.” Don’t send a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Don’t expect a quick “No Thanks” via email. Expect nothing. (Or Everything. . .should they happen to be interested.)

But this post isn’t about the sad state of submitting. It’s about fantasies. Your fantasy. (Your G-rated fantasyplease!) For, as we sat there bemoaning the fact that we should have studied accounting or nursing in college, it occurred to us that, wouldn’t it be great if there was a special ink we could type up our manuscripts with that would magically charm editors and agents into responding. We weren’t even dreaming of a good response. Any response would be magic. Even a negative one. . .

Dear. . . Submitter,

Since I was the person unfortunate enough to review your attempt at putting multiple words together in a cohesive fashion, I find myself in the equally unfortunate position of having to send you a reply. While reading your submission, I was reminded of the famous story involving composer Max Reger. He did not often receive favorable reviews of his work. After getting one he particularly disliked, he wrote the following: “I am sitting in the smallest room of my house. Your review is in front of me. Soon, it will be behind me.”

Like Max Reger, I read your submission while I was in the smallest room of my house. It was in front of me and it was so bad that I felt it would have been an insult to my rectum to put it behind me. Please, next time you feel so inclined to send my office anything, send sandpaper, I know I’ll have a better experience with that in the bathroom.


*Mr. Please Delete My Contact Information Immediately.

Sigh. . . 

Looks like Super Cleaning Lady already exists!

NOT the G-Rated Super Cleaning Lady

BUT that got me thinking. . . about other fantasies. G-rated fantasies! (Shame on you!) Like the one someone (Not me, of course) had about superpowers. You know, if you could have any superpower, what would it be? Because this someone (Not me!) thinks it would be awesome to be Super Cleaning Lady! That’s right. Super Cleaning Lady steps into a room, snaps her fingers and WA-LA—the room is spotless and perfectly organized. Wouldn’t that be great? You would never have to clean. You could go around the world snapping your fingers and fixing everyone’s messy lives. I almost wish I had thought of it. (Because, I don’t think of it—ever!)

So, now that I’ve told you my—I mean, someone’s G-rated fantasy, why don’t you tell me yours!

*Rejection letter curtsey of Shawn Wickersheim, author of The Penitent Assassin. While Shawn never received such a rejection letter, it felt very good to write one. Check out his blog at: http://inkcompetentwriter.wordpress.com

What’s On My Bookshelf: The Last Werewolf

Last week I was 75 pages, give or take a few on my iBook, from finishing The Magicians, by Lev Grossman. I won’t give away the ending, but I will say while, thus far, there was much to like and dislike about the book, the last 75 pages were worth the wait. I wrote the review before the very best part of the book (Sorry, Lev Grossman). Did Quentin redeem himself? Well, not exactly, but the action was great and Grossman threw in some interesting curveballs to tie everything together. I admire Grossman for taking Harry Potter and the world of Narnia, turning them sideways, if not totally upside down, and creating a very “human” magical adventure. I might even read the sequel: The Magician King—but not yet, because now I’m reading The Last Werewolf, by Glen Duncan.

I’m not very far into this book, only 85 pages to be exact. (I’m reading an old-fashioned paper book this time), but I’ve already been furiously highlighting favorite passages. I love Duncan’s style, a sort of dark, twisted, Victorian humor/horror with a modern-day twist. Here’s an example of how the protagonist and coincidentally, the last living werewolf, Jake Marlowe, thinks:

“There’s a reason humans peg-out around eighty: prose fatigue. It looks like organ failure or cancer or stroke but it’s really just the inability to carry on clambering through the assault course of mundane cause and effect. If we ask Sheila then we can’t ask Ron. If I have the kipper now then it’s quiche for tea. Four score years is about all the ifs and thens you can take. Dementia’s the sane realization you just can’t be doing with all that anymore.”

The story is told from Jake’s slightly morose point of view and it’s definitely an interesting one. Both human and wolf intermingle to give you a violently, empathetic character. At this point in the story Jake is more than ready to die; he’s lived (without love) long enough. Some people want him dead and some, surprisingly, are ready to do whatever it takes to keep him alive! More on The Last Werewolf next week.

Before I go, I want to thank Shawn Wickersheim for recommending The Last Werewolf. Be sure to check out Shawn’s blog at: http://inkcompetentwriter.wordpress.com. Also, for you persnickety ones, Yes, I said my next book would be Abarat, Absolute Midnight, by Clive Barker—and I seriously can’t wait to read it—but hey, what can I say? I changed my mind.

What’s On My Bookshelf: The Penitent Assassin

Welcome to What’s On My Bookshelf. When I was contemplating creating a new blog, one of the things I wanted to incorporate was a middle grade/YA Sci-Fiand Fantasy book critique section. Three things stopped me.

  1. First: It may take me two weeks to read a novel. Sometimes less, sometimes more… but I’m not up to cramming my way through a book a week just to keep up a book reviewblog.
  2. Second: I don’t always read young adult science fiction and fantasy books. In fact, I recently read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series. (Loved it—I might add!)
  3. Third: What if I hate a book? A book that some really nice person  put their heart and soul into? Could I give it a bad review? Don’t think so…

As a compromise, I’ve created this page: A running commentary, if you will, rather than a critique of what I happen to be reading.

That said, if you love gritty, hardcore fantasy and adventure, check out a new eBook entitled: The Penitent Assassin, written by my friend, Shawn Wickersheim. He’s an amazing up and coming writer. So amazing, that despite what I said up above, I just had to write a review.

The Penitent Assassin is a nonstop fantasy adventure that is definitely dark, but at times also laugh-out-loud funny. Wickersheim may be a new author, but he has a wicked way with words, world building, and creating memorable lines and characters. He weaves just the right amount of magic and mayhem, as well as plenty of sex, lust, and greed. Download your copy at AmazonSmashwordsBarnes and Noble or the iBook store.

Next week I’ll be talking about The Magicians by Lev Grossman. I have lots to say about this book! Until then…