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16 April 2012 @ 02:57 pm
 
Right, home a week and all caught up fandom wise. Not so much the rest of my life, but I will be by the time I leave again. Maybe.

Tanzania was amazing, and where I want to live. It is so beautiful and (at least in the rural parts) incredibly friendly. I deliberately avoided the North with its tourists though, so I cant talk for the whole country. I also loved realising that actually learning languages is not outside my ability, but that I just learn them by speaking, not reading. (I actually picked up more than anyone else I arrived with, despite having the least when we arrived). The work was less good, but I still learnt a lot (even if a lot of it was what NOT to do).

Home until 1st May when I will go to Bonaire, in the Caribbean. Initially for 2 months unpaid work, but if all goes well longer and paid. Researching parrots, with grants (so far) from Disney, WWF and the Dutch Government. So not bad for a new project! I will be the first science staff member so will have a lot of freedom and ability to mold it to me, which bodes well.

So, fandom...



Sherlock was love. I can go with the swimming pool scene quite happily. Love the development of the dynamic with Sherlock and John (and did break my heart a little in Reichenbach Fall). It managed to balance having fun with it (deerstalker!) and still being good drama, with everything in between. Now if we could just have co-ordinating schedules for the third series please.





Think I perhaps should have watched the rest of the season again before watching The Wedding of River Song. But I liked it all the same. Still lacking in some answers, but we have some and I'm happy. The Doctor, the widow and the wardrobe was good fun (are we going to keep going with re-telling at christmas? Not sure I really mind).





Have also brought a Kindle on my visit home. (Well, been brought.) Having said I wouldn't get one. Because, books! I love books. But then travelling you can't carry many with you, and with everyone else having Kindles you can't swap books between you. So I spent the last 6 months scrounging round to find as many books as I could. Which led me to read some books I otherwise wouldn't have (The Arabs: A History being one, really interesting and well worth reading) but given how much I travel not really great. So. Kindle.

And now I'm kind of liking it. Not that I've actually read anything on it yet, being home and having plenty of real books to catch up on. But being able to access so many classics for free. And being able to just type in the name of a book and have it loaded in under a minute. Being able to carry a whole library with me and all my scientific journals is amazing. And in a way it makes books more accessible, as I will be able to continue to get any book I like even on a tiny Caribbean island. And classics for free.

But then it does require an ability to pay £89 for the Kindle first. Then have an internet connection, and a knowledge of how to use the internet. Which books don't require. Which may lock books away from those that can't afford them. UK libraries are already closing, if everyone has e-readers does that mean we are going to lose them altogether? And therefore lose free access to books? (Plus the purely aesthetic pleasure of trawling through musty smelling books to find the one you've been looking for, chatting to the owner in the second hand bookshop to see what interesting things they have in, curling up in the corner of an independent cafe with one of their books.)

Opinions? (or book recommendations?)

 
 
 
_stolendreams_: General - Garfield - Typing on laptop_stolendreams_ on April 16th, 2012 11:20 pm (UTC)
(LJ is being mean and saying I wrote too much, so you're getting several comments)
Kindles. I have opinions! Many of them!
I now proudly own a Kindle.

But I didn't want one, definitely definitely not. I love books. Books are special. Books are not the same as a screen. Just looking at a book can tell you how many times its been read and how well looked after its been and ... yeah. Yay books.
And then one day around October or November I looked at the small rainforests worth of journal articles I had just printed out along with the six books I was lugging around in and wondered if this whole thing might not be a little bit insane.
Long story short, started saving Amazon vouchers (uni very kindly decided to pay student guiders in amazon vouchers instead of real money this year. Still useful reward but slightly less helpful if you were hoping to pay rent or buy food...) and then got to Christmas and brother presented me with a Kindle. So amazon vouchers got to be spent on other things like ebooks and dvds. Woot!

Simply put: I am completely totally in love with my Kindle. I'll never get rid of normal books. I won't stop buying or reading normal books. I still disappear into charity shops and come out half an hour later with a load of second hand books.
But. There's something amazing about having a library on one tiny device. I usually have issues when I go home because I don't go for long so I don't take a large bag. But it's hard to fit clothes and uni work and a book to read in a small bag. Now: no problem, journal articles and fiction reading all on the same thing. Magic.
Also, also I'm reading the Game of Thrones series at the moment. Which effectively means I'm reading a whole series of books that are each at least as thick as Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (can you tell I'm sitting here looking at my bookshelf to work out a good comparison). These are very difficult things to read in physical book form. They're heavy and uncomfortable. In Kindle form however they're amazingly easy.

As for all your questions.
Will we lose libraries because of ebook readers? I don't know.
For me, personally, an ebook can never be exactly the same as a physical book. If I read something on the Kindle that I love I will go and buy the physical book (for example I have the Game of Thrones series in paperback). And I will never get rid of the books I currently own just because I've added them to my Kindle now (eg Harry Potter books are staying). If I survive the little run of deadlines I have coming up I'll be taking myself off to Oxford city library to find some books I've been wanting to read for months.
This may not be true for everyone but at the moment at least I tend to think that people buying ebook readers are those that love to read. Hopefully that means that like me, at the very least, they're not giving up physical books altogether.

Also in some ways the Kindle has made me more likely to try new unfamiliar books and authors. Going to the library can be a pain. Not so much now, but at my mum's its a nightmare to get to the library. I basically exhausted the fiction section of the local library by the time I turned 14 and trekking into town can be a pain. Here it's a short walk, but when you have a semester like I've just had where the only day off I've had has been Sundays and most of them were spent either desperately trying to catch up on sleep or trying to fit in things like food shopping and other basic essentials the library doesn't come top of the list.
But with the amazon sample thing I've tried loads of new authors. okay you only get a handful of pages to see if you like it, but you could never have had that before. Discovered some I like, some I don't. But it didn't cost me anything so I'm willing to try out new people, new genres, new themes. Etc.
_stolendreams_ on April 16th, 2012 11:20 pm (UTC)
Price I think is still an issue. Although £89 is a long way down from where they used to be, and I'm assuming they will continue to become more affordable. The internet thing is tricky. The majority of kids and young adults can use the internet, but not everyone can afford access to the internet. The Kindle Keyboard had 3G to cater for that problem. The new Kindle doesn't. Finding public wi-fi is not impossible but it's a hassle that you don't need. Also a minority of people don't have the skills to access this technology either. That's the biggest hurdle because some of them will be massive book readers simply because they don't spend their time on the internet and presumably therefore have a little more time spare than those of us who do waste our evenings on it.

Book recommendations: I love Game of Thrones series but depends if you're into epic fantasy worlds where there's no guarantee the author is ever going to get to the end of the series.
I've also just started The Hunger Games which I'm liking (also the movie is awesome).
If you haven't already now is the time to read ALL of Douglas Adams' work. Particularly Hitchhikers Guide. If you have, now is the time to re read them.
Since you've got free access to the Classics, Conan Doyle's Professor Challenger series (assuming you can get past the racism)
I really liked Philip K Dick's 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep'.

Oh and you should check out ereaderiq.com. They list all the free ebooks available on amazon! Also check project gutenberg for all the classics in a free format - slightly easier to navigate than Amazon sometimes. Just remember the Kindle needs the .mobi format and you'll be fine.
And if you want to be OCD about your Kindle organisation theres an amazing piece of software called Calibre ... and we just won't discuss exactly how much time I spent organising and tagging and putting my books into neat collections and editing author data and... yeah.
But the software also makes it easier to put books on from places like Project Gutenberg or anywhere else that isn't amazon itself.

I'll be quiet now
vervet_monkeyvervet_monkey on April 17th, 2012 08:27 am (UTC)
I love you a little bit for that!

Yeah, I'm getting all over excited with finding all the free/cheap books, lots of Conan Doyle, lots of classics (which I only discovered I actually enjoy having tried to read them when I was too young because of the need for audio books to fill time in Tanzania). Have also downloaded the first Hunger Games book and Game of Thrones is next on my list.

Given the obsessive organisation of my bookshelf I think Kindle organising will quickly become a problem...
vervet_monkeyvervet_monkey on April 17th, 2012 09:56 am (UTC)
Just so you know, those links are both amazing and dangerous. No prizes for guessing what I've spent my morning doing...