Tag Archives: ebook

Divergent, A Book I’m Using As A Diversion From Everyday Stresses

First, it must be credited that my good friend (from Kristinaradke) mentioned this book to me many months back. While I put it on a “To-Be-Read” list in my head, that, like most things in my life, became cluttered with other nonsensical mismash. So, while I “discovered” the title for myself by browsing the iBookstore, it did technically come highly recommended by a person of substantial reading reliability 🙂

The first book in the Divergent series.

So, I shall refrain from going into the ENTIRE soliloquey that is my grown-up-life stress. For those of you who are young, living with roommates, paying bills in a big city, and owing a great deal of money to the Student-Loan Sharks, I’m sure you understand that life has been daunting (*pun unintended but amusing)/tiresome/frustrating/emotionally draining. Therefore, last Fall, The Hunger Games became my escape from reality, and a temporary reprieve from responsibility (ironic). When that ended, I roamed aimlessly in the land of historical romance (no judging you book snobs :P), humor audiobooks, and a little manga. Nothing, however, could fully relieve me from my everyday worries and anxiety.

Then comes Divergent. Now, I will in no way claim this to be as-good-as OR better than The Hunger Games. As it is the first book in a trilogy, and I still have 1/4 of the ebook to read, I cannot justify such a monumental statement.

However, consider these factors:

  • This is a debut novel. I generally find debut novels to be lacking, mostly because the author is trying so hard to say so much, their work often times comes across as exhaustingly complex.
  • This is a rapidly growing sub-genre. YA Dystopian novels are explosive right now. This is not in any way a NEW sub-genre, but thanks to some of the titles that have come out these last couple of years, it is gaining speed and attention for many readers, especially adults. In my experience, 80% of the titles that come out in a “new” or “popular” sub-genre are COMPLETE crap. This, in my opinion, isn’t one of them.
  • The author is 22. Now, if you’re anything like me, you’ll have to momentarily put aside both your astonishment that anyone at that age has the skills to NOT bore you with mellow drama, as well as your not-so-subtle loathing for someone else accomplishing something so monumental as being published at such a young age. This is an impressive piece of work for someone so young and so new to the game. Color me envious.

The characters are relatable, the storyline is interesting and exciting, and the social structure created w/in this futuristic world is rather engaging. I have to say, I’m seeing a lot of promise for both the series and the young author. So if you want to escape for a bit, try Divergent by Veronica Roth.

BTW: This was the first ebook read on my new toy, the iPad. Gotta say, love the experience, but STUNK to try and read outdoors. Will still be keeping/using/loving my Kindle…they’re like my two children: I love them equally, just in varying ways.

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Filed under Digital & Mobile, Ebook, Fiction, Picks by nycbookgirl, Recommendations, Reviews, YA & Children's, Young Reader

Eating Crow, the Literary Interpretation

Fair Warning: I’m posting this via my new toy, my iPad. So if you find some mistakes and notice a lack in special/fancy styling, it’s NOT because I’m going back to the good-old-days of bare-necessity blogging; I’m just using the app and haven’t figured out all of the tricks.

This is my official apology/tweet-retraction: I was wrong.

Confused? Here’s the story: a couple months ago, I bought the ebook (Kindle edition) for The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons. I was pretty pissed to find out that I’d bought yet another edition of a book I already owned, and all of the fun endnotes (a styling thing for this particular author) were in a completely separate doc, and there were NO links to all the articles and videos the author mentioned (which he had made available on his site when the print edition first came out).

So in my anger, what did I do? I tweeted about how disappointed I was in Random House for their piss poor attempt at publishing a digital non-fiction title. I got some agreement and interaction, but overall, I was pleased for serving justice to the public.

Then I bought the iPad, and had to eat some over-cooked crow. I checked out the iBookstore, downloaded a sample of the same Simmons ebook, and prepared for disappointment.

It never came.

Much to my surprise, they’d linked the endnotes into the text, fashioning them so that you could return to your reading location, having NOT completely left the text. Also, there was the addition of a link to the webpage that the author had set up with the article links, video clip links, and additional information. Now this is not to say there aren’t still flaws (which my supervisor at work took time to point out as well): the the endnote numbers are TINY, making it probable that you’ll miss hitting the number; the endnotes are all living on one ongoing list, making it a bit confusing to locate which note you want when; it is NOT intuitive that you have to tap the number again to return to the page you’d left; and the link to the additional information takes you outside the text.

Putting all that aside, I have to set the record straight. I jumped the gun and called the major pub company out on not taking a sports book masterpiece and making it into a HIGH quality ebook. So, I apologize for my HIGH expectations for an ebook of style and elegance from one of the BIG 6. Oops, my bad.

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Filed under Ebook, Non-Fiction, Picks by nycbookgirl, Reviews, Sports

A Discovery of Good Fiction

Yes, my post’s title is a play on a new release’s title. Yes, I am feeling THAT little creativity today…(usually “bite me” would be inserted here, but w/ the Bronx Zoo Cobra thing, probably not a safe expression at the moment).

As per usual, I finished one of my genre binges this past month (I was on a big historical kick, focusing first on Edwardian, then Victorian, then going back to Medieval). Having done so, I went to my ever-reliable managing editor at work, requesting a new suggestion. Her response, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.
A Discovery of Witches (Kindle Edition)
Now, when she recommended this title she described in the following way: “It’s like The Historian meets the Twilight series.”

If you’re response to that sentence was discomfort and silence, don’t worry. So was mine.

But, seeing as she’d yet to lead me astray, and she’d been the miracle worker to introduce me to The Hunger Games, I figured I’d give her the benefit of the doubt. Have to say, second greatest choice I’ve made (first being to borrow her Kindle one weekend last Fall, leading to my love of ereaders and utter consumption of all things ebook).

If you’re like me, you enjoy a little of everything in your “Contemporary Fiction”: mystery and intrigue, romance (but not bodice ripping), adventure and excitement, and as nerdy as it sounds, something new to learn. I’m a major history fan—though I have absolutely NO brain capacity to remember anything I learn. This explains my love of biographies, sports books, and certain Dan Brown novels (no judging).

So if you are in fact like me, I absolutely recommend this one. I don’t like giving too much away, but here are some fun facts to look forward to:

  • References to the Salem Witch trails, the Crusades, the Templars, and MANY more historical conflicts
  • Travel: US (New England and New Orleans), UK (mostly Oxford w/ a little Scotland), France
  • Witches, Vampires, and Demons (oh my!)
  • Yoga, Rowing (think Crew), and a little Chess (no, its not a sport)
  • A surprisingly more comprehensive translation of Darwin’s On the Origins of Species
  • Alchemy and geneology
  • And of course—here’s where the Twilight reference comes in—forbidden love

Check it out, but be forewarned (I discovered this too late), this WILL be a series, and this first book was released in Hardcover last month. For those of you not sure what that means, it’s going to be a long wait for book two (well, long if you read more than one book a year).

Enjoy!

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Filed under Contemporary, Paranormal, Picks by nycbookgirl, Recommendations, Twilight

Return of the Prodigal Daughter

Holy Crow it’s been a long time!

In my defense (though, really, there shouldn’t be any excuses), since I’ve been gone—morphed Kelly Clarkson lyrics—I’ve completed my Capstone for grad school (like a thesis for normal master’s students); I’ve GRADUATED from grad school w/ my MS in Publishing (*grins*); I’ve started working full-time for an ebook publisher; and I’ve moved from very South Brooklyn to more Midway Brooklyn. So there is SOME reason behind my slacking off…

Quick update on recommended books/series I’ve been reading in the meantime:

*The Hunger Games: Yes, I, like so many others, have fallen victim to this FANTASTIC series. And really, why wouldn’t you? It’s only 3 books long, so it’s not like the Harry Potter epic all over again. It’s fantastically fascinating in a “this-should-NOT-be-labelled-YA”. And it is definitely NOT another Twilight thing: 1) it does not distort the myth of a well-loved society of otherworldly creatures; 2) none (well, some but very little) of that obnoxious teen-angsty drama; and 3) at the end of book three, you actually feel complete. Besides, they’re doing a movie now, w/ the author co-writing the script, so GET TO IT!

*Solo: Okay, go ahead and blame me for promoting my own works’ ebooks, but I have to admit: I went into this one fully expecting to want to shoot myself in the face 10 pages in. Didn’t happen! I think it probably helps that I’m a closet Classical music fanatic, and this title happens to have a lot of references for some great pieces, but it was also pretty thrilling. (Go figure, since it IS a “thriller”.) If you haven’t checked out Jack Higgins before, like most of my generation/friends, try this one on for size. It might just be one-size-fits-all (though that is debatable).

*Girl in Translation: A Falling-to-be-a-Successful-Book-Club Book Club pick. A great read, especially for those of you who enjoyed Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club. Compelling store; great mother-daughter dynamic; wonderful first-account view of an immigrant in modern America; and amazing written!

*Midnight’s Master: Well, really, ANYTHING by Cynthia Eden is fantastic, but I thought I’d stick to a single title, though I LOVED the entire Midnight Sins series. She’s yet another author who has taken the vampire/shifter (werewolves and such for you non-paranormal readers)/demon/etc. world. But she does it in a way that doesn’t make me cringe w/ embarrassment for the publisher (*cough* Twilight*cough*) or shudder w/ disgust at the OBVIOUS stench of OVERDOING IT (*cough*Twilight*cough). Fun, humorous, and an overall feel-good-at-the-end read!

That’s all for now. Hopefully you’ll be hearing more VERY soon. (fingers crossed!)

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Filed under Twilight, YA & Children's

Enter the Digital World: Media Zone Speakers at BookExpo America (Day 2)

Moving to the Downtown Stage at BEA, the first set of speakers were from the newly renamed “New Media Zone.” There was one presentation in particular that stood out to me, by the Australian developers of DNL eBook format, DNAML.

The format is for your computer, and has a pretty clean, clear look to it. I was excited to see it used the page-turning feature, and has smoothly embedded video and audio into the pages of the eBook. Here’s a great way to promote a book by the publisher, and a great way to give a book a more creative outlet (just imagine the fun you could have with guest “speakers” in your book, like Sarah Vowell’s The Partly Cloudy Patriot with guest readers Colbert, Stewart, O’Brien, and others).

What was truly interesting was at the end when he presented the Children’s Picture Book Lucy Goosey. The pictures were bright and colorful, the read-along voice was engaging, and the overall quality was good.

And for the publisher, this program offers some great perks, like view the sales made in real time, utilize tools for user information gathering, promote/generate additional eBook sales through program, and use the program for in-house production “as well as outsourcing the production to 3rd party companies”.

Overall its a pretty impressive system, and with the hopeful advances of the portable digital readers, there is a chance this system could help solve some of the concerns currently faced by Kindles and EReaders.

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Filed under BEA, Digital & Mobile

How Much is that E-book in the Window?

Well the first debate seems to be whether or not one includes a ndash in the product name or not…

Personally, I find it sexier with, but there’s also a cute and sassy appeal to the without look. But, seeing as how I haven’t yet conducted any control group researching, I’ll leave that discussion to the general population.

NOW to address other concerns: How do publishers work with e-books and not sacrifice their prices, or forfeit their “control” over piracy?

Happy to say that publishers sat down this past week at the London Book Fair to discuss just this. To credit them, they have fully accepted the necessity to embrace the ebook and learn how to profit from it. And as its a common topic in the industry, their concerns are valid: look at what piracy has done to the music and movie industries. Once the tangible product becomes digital, all bets are off.

So here are the sides. Take your pick, or give me another option to consider.

Pro-Publisher: Sell e-books at the exact same price they are sold for in their current form, and find a way to police illegal distribution of their material. This is an understandable argument. As PW reported, there is the belief that “publishers are “short-changing authors” if they don’t price e-books the same as physical books.” And lets not forget that even without the killing of trees and over-seas shipping costs, there is still a large staff to pay at the end of a publication (publisher, editor, marketer, publicist, art design, seller, finance, legal, agent, author, etc.). And as for piracy, well, we all know it’s technically wrong (what with it being illegal and all). So lets not dwell on that yet…

Pro-Consumer/User: Not to say that the publisher isn’t concerned for the readers, but they are trying to run a business. So what is there to say for the audience? Well, do we or do we not buy these digital contraptions to make life easier, and to save money by online purchases (see iTunes and/or Netflix)? So shelling out a few hundred for an e-book reader seems like a good idea…until suddenly the consumer is paying $25 for a new release that didn’t kill the homes of millions of woodland creatures or take multiple gallons of bankrupting ink-jets. Production costs cannot be that high. And as far as piracy goes, face the facts: if its online, its fair game. Maybe not legally, but try and explain that to the average user. Also, there is the argument that allowing some piracy actually promotes a product and encourages users to purchase the legalized content (again, see iTunes).

So what’s the solution? Sorry to say, but it’s still pretty unclear. As pointed out by the Guardian (who also covered the book fair), while publishers are still unsure of any solution, “readers are doomed to be confused for the foreseeable future.”

For some older articles and blogs discussing these concerns, check out the Huffington Post, the NYTimes, Boing Boing (really old), Techdirt, and NYTimes blog Freakonomics.

And finally, a bit of irony, brought to you by Mr. Walt Disney: “There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates‘ loot on Treasure Island and at the bottom of the Spanish Main.”

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