Category Archives: Book Column

Book Purge 2010

I purged a bunch of books right at the end of 2010. All of them were fiction books and I managed to sell them all to a local used-bookstore for store credit. I hope they all found happy new homes. It feels good to have the extra space on the bookshelves again, but it was a pain in the patooty to search them all out and delete them from my LibraryThing catalog.

But sometimes you just have to purge.

I had a fiction problem last year. It’s like having too much sugar in your sweet tea. After a while it affects your taste buds (and waist line), but I digress…. So far I am on track with making 2011 a non-fiction-only year.  A little scary. With only three months under my belt I’m already “jonesing” for a fiction fix. So this may wind up only being a non-fiction-6-month experiment. Maybe like a cleansing? Detox?

I hope your reading year is off to a great start!

Book Review: The Strain

I read this book back during the summer of 2010 and The Strain was exactly what I wanted for a quick summertime read. Penned by the guy behind Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth, you can almost see the movie playing out before you.

The premise is that the ancient virus that turns people into vampires has made its way from the Old World to the New World via a trans-Atlantic flight.

The book, being the first of a trilogy, covers all the basis. Background for all the characters ties in global business, science, World War II, and current government workings, all to build the case that something evil has always been lurking in the dark throughout history.

The first part of the book read more like CSI or a Crighton novel with all of the CDC, tech and biology talk. All of which adds to the realism (and gore). But then it turns to the mystic side when an old Jewish Holocaust survivor joins the fight and brings more history to light.

It’s a very straight forward and great sci-fi romp and I look forward to the next two installments! I give it 3 out of 5.

“…books that are foolish, ignorant, malignant…”

I cannot tell you how much I enjoy this bit that was penned back in the 16th century. It’s great! I have thoughts like this on a weekly basis. I guess things really don’t change that much. If Erasmus only knew how many books get printed these days… wow… back then he said:

“(Printers) ‘fill the world with pamphlets and books that are foolish, ignorant, malignant, libelous, mad, impious and subversive; and such is the flood that even things that might have done some good lose all their goodness’…”

Thanks to Shelf Awareness, for making it part of their quote of the day. And also for linking through to author Ann Blair’s entire Boston Globe piece Information Overload, the Early Years, which is a GREAT read, if you have a few minutes.

Read Library eBooks on your Apple iOS Device

You can now download and read free ebooks from the JCLC OverDrive system, on the iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. I’ve been doing this for two weeks now, and other than a lack of sleep from all of the reading, I have had no issues. This week I finished up two paper books and three ebooks, all thanks to the BlueFire Reader app and the JCLC eBooks system.

It’s a pretty straight forward process. I get pretty detailed in my steps, so please don’t let the number of steps deter you from trying this. Here is how you check out and read the library eBooks on your iOS device:

  1. Download the free BlueFire Reader app (iTunes link) to your device and create an account.
  2. Download the free Adobe Digital Editions desktop reader and create an account. This puts the Adobe Digital Editions program on your computer, which will act as “home base” and authenticate your ebooks.
  3. Launch the BlueFire Reader app, on your device, tap on “info” and authorize your app with your Adobe Digital Editions password.

Now, that you are all legit you are ready to check out a book!

  1. Go to the JCLC site (or your library’s downloadable site) and sign in.
  2. Check out a book. An .acm “key” file will download to your computer. Use your Adobe Digital Editions program to open this file, this will download the .epub (the actual book) file to your computer. You can now read that book on your computer.
  3. From your computer, send yourself an email, with that .epub file as an attachment.
  4. Now check your email on your iOS device. The attachment will appear with the BlueFire Reader logo.
  5. Tap and hold on that icon until the fly-out menu appears saying “Open with BlueFire Reader”, which you will select.
  6. BlueFire Reader app will now launch and you can start reading! Once your “checkout period” has expired the file will deactivate from your iOS device and your computer desktop.

I’ve also heard of people using free services like DropBox to get the book file on their device, but I haven’t tried it. The BlueFire folks are on Twitter and have been really responsive to all of my support questions. The OverDrive team is on Twitter too. I know that OverDrive and Sony have both promised Adobe DE-friendly apps soon, so BlueFire won’t be the only option. But as of right now, it’s certainly the best.

Let me know what you think and if you read anything good!