Posts tagged: books

Speaking of ebooks…

By , May 16, 2011 9:35 am

Walter Jon Williams is using pirated versions of his own books to try and get legit copies online for sale:

I embarked upon a Cunning Plan. I discovered that my work had been pirated, and was available for free on BitTorrent sites located in the many outlaw server dens of former Marxist countries. So I downloaded my own work from thence with the intention of saving the work of scanning my books— I figured I’d let the pirates do the work, and steal from them. While this seemed karmically sound, there proved a couple problems.

First, the scans were truly dreadful and full of errors. (Even if you’re desperate for my work, I can’t really recommend them.) A lot of time has been spent copy-editing, both by me and by Kathy— which isn’t really so bad, because this would have to be d0ne anyway.

But second, apparently a few of my books were so obscure that they flew under the radar of even the pirates! You can’t imagine how astounded I was when I discovered this.

Best of luck!

(Originally from Consumerist)

Reading versus E-Reading

By , May 15, 2011 6:02 pm

I’ve had my Nook for about three weeks now (here’s my original mini-review) and I wanted to add some more thoughts. I have a particularly relevant experience to compare and contrast to, since I just finished A Discovery of Witches for a forthcoming review. After three weeks of reading physical and digital books, I’ve come to a conclusion: I prefer reading e-books. I prefer having physical books.

Wait, what?

Continue reading 'Reading versus E-Reading'»

NOOK’d (and some mini book reviews, and a discussion of copyright)

By , April 26, 2011 1:30 pm

Someone I met in DC had a Nook and, in large part because of her urgings, I ended up buying a refurbished one from Woot.com for $99. It arrived last week (and my purdy purple case arrived today) so I figured I’d share my thoughts on the device itself, along with the books I’ve been reading.

I went with a Nook instead of Amazon’s kindle for a few reasons. First, the Nook allows you to take out books from participating libraries, including Chicago Public Libraries. Unfortunately, the book selection isn’t great – and Amazon has said “Kindle will do that too in the coming months! – so it’s not as big of a deal as it seemed when I bought the Nook,  but whatever. Likewise, the Nook allows out-of-the-book loading of books purchased from Google Books, which will let me buy things through my local feminist bookstore’s online store front and support them. You can do the same with the Kindle, but it requires jumping through questionably legal hoops. Paula, the friend from DC, has a Nook, and she can lend me books through Barnes and Noble’s lending feature. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the Nook was $99 at Woot, and I couldn’t find a Kindle that inexpensive. The biggest visible difference of the Nook versus the Kindle is that the former has a color touch screen along the bottom, while the latter has a bunch of physical buttons, and then the Nook uses Barnes and Noble to buy books while the Kindle uses Amazon.

So what do I think? Well, about a week in I’m loving the experience of reading on the Nook. E-ink is pretty awesome, and – for me, at least – suitably replicates the experience of actually looking at a physical page. It almost looks ‘fake,’ like it’s a demo unit at a store and not an actual piece of technology that has a display that clean and smooth. The page turning time – a brief flash while the next page loads – bugged me at first, but really isn’t any longer than physically turning a page in a book. I also like that you can turn pages with the buttons along the right or left side, or swipe along the touch screen in a really satisfying manner. (The touch screen, BTW, automatically turns off while reading so you’re not distracted by the menu.)

Continue reading 'NOOK’d (and some mini book reviews, and a discussion of copyright)'»

eBooks

By , July 8, 2010 12:24 am

I just finished reading Bloodsucking Fiends, a fun vampire novel by Christopher Moore. I took it out from the library, but being the impatient type just checked on Amazon to see what the next book in the series would cost on Kindle. I don’t have a Kindle, but there’s an Android Kindle app, and I don’t mind reading books on my phone (although I do prefer hard copies).

A physical copy of You Suck costs $10.07 on Amazon. The Kindle version costs $9.99.

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Review: Transgender Voices

By , April 30, 2010 2:28 am

I wish I remember who recommended Transgender Voices: Beyond Women and Men to me.  It may have been through this blog, but…oh well! The book is written by Lori Girshick, a “sociologist and social justice activist,” and is an exploration of 150 interviews she conducted with individuals who responded to a survey looking for “gender transgressors.” Much of the book directly quotes these interviews, with Girshick interjecting her summarized opinions and conclusions throughout.

The book is divided into 6 chapters, with multiple sub-headings in each chapter. The chapters are:

  1. The Social Construction of Biological Fact
  2. Self-Definition: Birth through Adolescence
  3. Constructing the Self: Options and Challenges
  4. Coming Out to Community, Family, and Work
  5. Gender Policing
  6. Inner Turmoil and Moving Toward Acceptance

There is also an epilogue, “Gender Liberation,” and an appendix with the survey-advertising flier and the survey itself.

As you may be able to guess from the book’s subtitle, “Beyond Women and Men,” and even more so from the chapter titles, I generally agree with the politics of Transgender Voices. Girshick does a solid job of representing a very wide spectrum of people, and (for the most part) she interjects her own thoughts only to provide context or summarize how aggregate groups felt, rather than impose a specific definition of identity or gender.

However, in the introduction, “Identity Boxes,” Girshick lays the groundwork for a view I’m not 100% comfortable with:

My own bias in this book is to advocate for liberation from the binary gender system, which for many people artificially restricts the fullest expression of self. At the same time, though, I deeply respect those who wish to identify with “male” or “female,” “man” or “woman,” and are willing to undergo expensive and painful medical treatments to achieve physical correspondence with who they feel themselves to be given the current gender system.” (Pg 11, Emphasis in original)

Continue reading 'Review: Transgender Voices'»

Escaping into books

By , February 11, 2010 9:17 pm

I’ve been reading a lot this past week, trying to find a way to enjoy myself without simply sitting in front of a TV. To that end, I’ve been surrounding myself with good ‘escapism’ books, and figured I’d share.

Good Omens was the first thing I read this past week, It’s a hilarious book about the appocalypse, co-written by Neil Gaiman (of Sandman fame) and Terry Pratchett (of Discworld fame). It really successfully combines Gaiman’s skill at exploring and probing mythic tales with Pratchett’s irreverent humor.

I’m now reading the first book of The Mysterious Benedict Society series. It’s a fun young adult novel about a group of orphans who are recruited by the mysterious Mr. Benedict to help save the world from Ledroptha Curtain. Again, a fun book to read, and one where I know that everything will turn out alright regardless of the characters’ current predicament.

When I’m finish with Benedict, I think I’m going to reread some Heinlein, starting with Time Enough For Love. I fully admit Heinlein swings back and forth between being an advocate of gender equality and a shameless misogynist, but I still really enjoy his books; they take me back to being a teenager, but in a satisfying way somehow.

After that? I’m not sure. I may reread the Clan of the Cave Bear series. Without a doubt, a ridiculous and highly romanticized series, but another set of books I think I’ll enjoy without having to think too much.

How about y’all? What books must I read? What are some of your favorite books, escapist or otherwise?

Why do I do this to myself?

By , August 5, 2009 1:19 am

I’m rereading The Time Traveler’s Wife because, apparently, I’m a masochist. I had brought it to my apartment from my mom’s a few months ago, intending to lend it to a coworker, but it sat on my shelf. I’d glance at it every so often while looking for something to read, but made a conscious decision not to pick it up. Then, a few weeks ago, I watched the trailer with my coworkers, which (of course) made me pick the book up when I got home.

I really wasn’t intending to read it. I promise.

But, of course, I flipped through it briefly. And then glanced at the first few pages to remember how it began. And then sat down on my bed and continued reading the next few pages. And, well, then I couldn’t stop reading it…

It’s been sitting on my nightstand for about a week, because I was a little more than halfway through. And first time I read it (slight spoiler alert) I spent the last third of the book crying. And this time is looking to be no different.

Continue reading 'Why do I do this to myself?'»

Real classy, Amazon.com

By , April 12, 2009 7:36 pm

I’ve already made a concentrated effort to purchase books and comics from Chicago feminist bookstore Women and Children First, instead of Amazon.com. Basically, to borrow from one of my own posts, “Yes, it costs me a bit more than Amazon, but it’s important to me to have such a resource in my neighborhood. I want to live down the street from a store that carries books like Whipping Girl and Yes Means Yes (and has staff who have read them!) and hosts book clubs like The Intergenerational Feminist Book Club and (way on the other end of the spectrum) the Buffy Discussion Group. That said, it’s a shame their website is so slow…” So I’ve already been moving away from Amazon.com.

But this latest post from Jezebel.com just gives me more reason to do so. In short, Amazon is removing sales rankings from some (but, randomly, not all!) GLBT books on the basis of their “adult” content, including some books aimed at kids and young adults.

Continue reading 'Real classy, Amazon.com'»

The 100 Best Books

By , July 11, 2008 4:05 am

Not sure where this list was from. I found it over at The Bilerico Project.

Here’s what you do:
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list on your own blog.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens Continue reading 'The 100 Best Books'»

“But I’m the same person!” “Well, I sure as hell hope not”

By , May 4, 2008 2:50 pm

I just finished reading She’s Not the Man I Married, by Helen Boyd (who blogs at en|Gender). It’s sort of a thinking-out-loud kind of book – it’s not quite a memoir, not quite a book on theory, not quite a manifesto, but with tastes of all of those things, and more. It’s written by the partner of someone who identifies as trans (not transgender or transsexual or transvestite, but specifically trans, which I kind of love) and explores how the author has dealt with that and the conclusions she has come to. I really enjoyed reading it, and am looking forward to making G read it and getting her thoughts on Boyd’s experiences. Obviously, just as no two trans  individuals have the exact same experiences, no two partners of trans individuals would, either. But Boyd is one of the few voices (the only voice?) of trans partners, so I’ll take what I can get. (It also helps that she’s a good writer.)

One of the common refrains throughout the book (paraphrased) “I don’t understand it [being transsexual] but I accept it.” For exapmle, from page 243: “Like a lot of feminists, I’m generally suspicious of what people mean when they say they have ‘a woman’s brain’ or ‘feel like a woman,’ but transsexual people are content after they transition, feel they’ve fixed something, and while I’ll never understand it, I’ve met too many people now who have given up too much to transition to doubt what is going on is legitimate.” I have a huge amount of respect from anyone else who is able to see something outside their own personal experience of the world and not say “No, no one can feel that way because I don’t feel that way.”

That said, one passage from close to the end of the book jumped out at me and I did want to ruminate on it.. From page 251:

The feeling that I am supportive of Betty’s transness only for the sake of the man I met creeps up on my now and again. Betty worries that out of love for him I “put up” with her. If she gets to the point where she has no male left for me to connect t, there is a chance I will wake up one day and realize I am not in love with and feel no loyalty toward her. This is why when a trans person uses that “but I’m the same person” argument, I want to say, “Well, I sure as hell hope not,” because we had better not be dealing with all this crap without its effecting any real change. That’s the point, that the trans person’s change will be enough to make living in the world easier and more comfortable for him, whether that’s done through crossdressing or transition.

Continue reading '“But I’m the same person!” “Well, I sure as hell hope not”'»

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