Feeling Bookish

I’m simultaneously reading an eBook on the Nook (The Handmaid’s Tale) and a hardcover (Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk) and it’s proving to be pretty easy since the topics are so divergent.

I’m also thinking a lot about (if not actually doing) my own writing. I hope everyone can/will appreciate the increased blogging output as of late, but my Google Docs have also grown in number and measure.

If you’re curious what I’m up to – and I’ve been very coy – check out these two innovative approaches to the future of the book:

I’m no developer, I’m more of a hack(er), but I get excited when I think about extending some of the ideas on this blog, marrying them with my non-blogging past-times and dreaming up something new. It also doesn’t hurt to have spirited (albeit brief) conversations with folks at the forefront of eBooks.

Needless to say, I’ve done the whole novel writing thing and the flash fiction thing – and I like to revisit both concepts now & again, but this is something new.

If you’re curious about more thinking on the future of the book check out this video from the Social Books Panel (#sociabooks) at Social Media Week 2011.

You should probably also check out Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes as well. Transformative found art, I’d guess you’d call it.

Happy Reading & Writing!

Kindling

After spending our most recent vacation with my in-laws (two of whom, my mother-in-law and brother-in-law own Kindles) I’d made up my mind that a refurbished Kindle might make a nice present, perhaps for my 33rd birthday or Christmas.

Then a funny thing happened. Amazon got all “Big Brother” with two books by the George Orwell (naturally), Animal Farm and 1984.

You can imagine what happened next:

Lots of folks up in arms.
Tons of “isn’t it ironic” tweets.
Folks (me included) thinking about switching their allegiances to Sony’s eBook reader.

Then the truth came out, stranger than fiction as it always seems to be. Turns out the real culprit in this crime were the publishers who told Amazon they had the rights to sell the book digitally when they did not, in fact, have those rights.

So Amazon’s actions actually protected well-established, prior-art-style copyright as most folks know it?

This isn’t some gigantic bait-and-switch that amounts to theft of a users’ property?

The entire concept of DRM & internet-enabled device/software/media management hasn’t just been dealt a deathblow (Don’t tell the RIAA)?

Yes and no.

In the short term, it’s not good for eBooks which have been exposed as nothing more than portable book-renting kiosks.

In the long term it’s good for Amazon, which keeps the relationship with publishers and (some) customers who see them vigorously defending copyright.

For me: I don’t want any part of a remote-controlled, technology-crippled, tether-bound money pit.

Unless, of course, I could distribute my blog there.

In which case, sign me up. 😉

What do you think about Kindle? Own one? Still want one (despite this news)?

I see digital distribution/engagement/consumption as a forgone conclusion, I just don’t know if I’m willing to tie myself to Amazon & the Kindle just yet.

Reading Lists

I got stuck in a rut earlier today thinking about Albert Camus’ The Stranger. Not a great way to spend your mid-day, post-lunch, I can assure.

The things that have been weighing heavily on my mind – politics (both office and national varieties), what I want out of my “home life”, religion and faith – you know, the big questions, are still unresolved but I bled into that dark place today. Not good.

I contemplated (thought about, not considered joining up) Satanism, Libertarianism, Atheism, Agnosticism, Existentialism and Death. All in the space of about an hour. I was busy.

Where I meted out, personally, was the need to get some definition through perspective and experience. A little existentialist, a little pragmatist. You see, I’m going to Maui a week from Saturday and reading material is a must for plane rides and beach vacations.

Here’s my short list. Hopefully I come away with perspective, if not epiphany, serenity or my own new philosophy.

  • Engleby: A Novel by Sebastian Faulks
  • The new Bond book, Devil May Care, by Faulks under commission of the Fleming family hits bookstores tomorrow. I haven’t read any of his work and want to try something accessible before reading the very pulp-y Bond.

  • Everything Is Illuminated
  • I feel like I should have read this already. Much like The Amazing Adventure of Kavalier & Clay, I’m ashamed to admit that I’m so late to the game.

  • Grey by Jon Armstrong
  • I have an advance reader copy that is begging to be read.

  • Kerouac’s On the Road (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century)
  • It’s time. I’m on a bit of journey, it was mentioned in Lost and I got a copy for free.

  • Another book of your own suggestion
  • I’m looking for something entertaining (obviously) but one with themes relating to change, movement and self-discovery.

    I won’t laugh at you if you suggest Walden by Thoreau, but I won’t read it.

Happy Reading! (And hopefully happy me soon too, though Hawaii will help regardless of the book).