William Gibson's latest book "Zero History" is being released tomorrow. In anticipation I've been reading through the previous two novels in the trilogy. And once again I'm looking at the Buzz Rickson flight jackets. If San Francisco ever got cold enough to wear these I'd probably buy one today.

navigation

"For every 100 copies of a physical book we sell, where we have the Kindle edition, we will sell 48 copies of the Kindle edition." — NYTimes interview with Jeff Bezos.

I held off buying a Kindle for myself for longer than is normal. The price was the main reason, but I never thought I'd enjoy reading a book on the device.

When my wife finally bought me one for my birthday I started with tech books. The sort of books you burn through and shelve and never read again. Then it was a quick slide into fiction and now I can't imagine lugging a book around that doesn't have a version on the Kindle.

navigation

navigation

navigation

navigation

Kevin Kelly's eBook called 200 Documentaries You Must See Before You Die is now free for download. Kevin is using some kind of Yahoo Ad call in the new Adobe Reader. If you have an older version of Adobe Reader or use Apple's preview tool you're not going to see the ads—but you can still read the book for free.

navigation

navigation

navigation

I keep wanting to post about Kindle but everyone else has done it better (ob. link to Mark Pilgrim's post).

Instead I will just comment that ebook readers: awesome. Wireless EVDO enabled ebook readers that can download a specially formatted version of the NY Times or other newspaper: awesome. An actual selection of books to buy: way awesome.

I own a Sony eBook Reader. It sits in a drawer underneath my Sony PSP. The reason it's in the drawer is I read every book I wanted to read on manybooks.net and Sony's online book store selection was terrible (I think there were four tech books). After some noodling I was able to set up a workflow for converting pirated found txt formatted books or free books like Cory's library.

The ebook itself, the e-ink never loses its cool. If you have been wanting an ebook I say buy it. I think this has more to do with Amazon's lack of experience with developing and shipping electronic products than people will admit. But I'm biased: I like gadgets and things that are awesome.

navigation

navigation

You know when you like this band and nobody else knows about the band and you're all hot about this band and OMG this band is the best you have to hear this band and then suddenly that band is ALL OVER the television and MTV and Billy Joel does a duet with the lead singer on his ranch in Utah and you're like WTF SELLOUTS I HATE THAT BAND...except for their old shit, that was when they were good.

Well this is nothing like that. The exact opposite. Julia Wertz' comics are and have been awesome for some time, and finally she has an actual book bound by machines that you can buy and have shipped to you by someone who is not Julia Wertz.

I'm really pleased to see book reviews and people talking about this book because BACK IN APRIL 2006 I WAS ALL INTO THAT COMIC. Oh yeah...this weblog-thing finally pays off!

(Sorry Julia for calling it a web comic. I didn't know any better.)

navigation

Jason linked to two parts of a three part series by Errol Morris about an iconic photograph taken during the Crimean War. (Part 1, Part 2). I read both posts on my ride to work and by the time I got into the office all I could think about was The Crimean war. Ooh, gotta get a book on the Crimean War! Reading all about the Crimean on Wikipedia. I'm crazy for the Crimean!

After visiting both Borders Books in Downtown SF I bought the last book between them on the subject. The last book between them turns out to be a condensed version which seems to be a good introduction based on the reader review. I'm hoping everyone read the Errol Morris posts and bought up all but one of the books on the subject—but I doubt it.

navigation

navigation

navigation

navigation

I did not know there was a book about The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles. Though, if you really want to experience the museum as intended, I think you should visit first, skipping the Wikipedia page I linked to.

navigation

Picture 1.pngGoopymart (you might be familiar with his Teh Internets series, or possibly these guys) has illustrated a book! If you have kids, or a 6th grade education, you should get this book.

navigation

Lookingleft I never thought it would happen to me: I am comic book crazy. I can't stop thinking about my next trip to the comic book store to pick up some more Kevin Huizenga or Jordan Crane.

And who is to blame? The Fart Party. Here I was, happily laughing about poo and cheese and cheese poo, and then she goes and mentions Jeffrey Brown. So the next time I'm in Giant Robot there's a Jeffrey Brown book. And then the next time I'm in Needles + Pens there is a different Jeffrey Brown book. I buy them all.

I remember liking Derek Kirk Kim's online comic a few years back (Same Difference the links seem to be broken though), and I find his book at Super 7 so I buy it too, then wow Kevin Huizenga and Jordan Crane. And crap, I can't find any Jason Shiga anywhere.

Then while talking to my friend Chris he mentions Pyongyang which I just ordered, sight unseen.

I think my favorite part about all of this is that I'm coming from a nearly complete state of ignorance of comic books. Other than the Jeffrey Brown Julia recommended I've mostly selected them by randomly (or is it?) buying books based on covers or quickly flipping through to see if I like anything inside. Which, as we know for novels is a crapshoot, but for comic books is much more representative of the whole product. The fact that I'm finding incredibly touching and entertaining bits of art all by myself feels much more satisfying than having someone point me in the direction*.

I think the reason buying comic books is interesting to me is that they can require less commitment than a novel and cost less than a video game, so I have the freedom to sample and try things I might not like. In fact I've purchased a couple so far that I hated. With video games I pore over review sites, double check with MetaCritic, and finally take the "plunge" by renting it from GameFly. If it passes all those tests I'll probably buy it. Even then I get stuck with an Oblivion Elder Scrolls for $50 that fails to keep me entertained.

* I realize any book that's managed to make it onto Giant Robot's or Super 7's shelves or for that matter printed by a small publishing house means quite a few people think its worth reading. Unlike the gatekeepers of video games or indie music or anything else that shows up in the pages of Entertainment Weekly, the small independent comic book still feels like a large gamble to me.

navigation

Matt's suggestions for enjoying audiobooks are dead on. I am partial to non-fiction as I don't trust the tone or timing of most people with fiction. But iTunes usually gives me a pretty good idea on what to expect.

I have two more links for audiobooks you might enjoy. Free and nearly free ones. First, there's the Project Gutenberg audiobooks read by computers or people. I'm not so sure I want Zarvox reading my Mark Twain, but I do like the concept.

Next there's the Telltale Weekly that is very close to free (starting at 25¢ a book).

navigation

Cov_pocketref My Pocket Ref just arrived in the mail (thank you Amazon Prime). I thumbed through one of these once at a friend's house while we tried to figure out how to tie a certain knot, but I had forgotten the name. The other night I saw it on an episode of Mythbusters so I immediately ordered it.

I'll probably never need to decipher proofreader marks, convert furlongs to feet, or signal a crane operator, but I've always been the sort of person who enjoys having that kind of data at my fingertips. Google and the web are still great for finding nuggets of information that possibly answer your question, but there's always that moment of deciphering and extracting what you were looking for. Pocket Ref features simple tables and entries arranged in a very readable manner that still beats the web. And you can put it in your pocket.

navigation

I probably have a list of ten or twenty things that either I regret or think about every so often. I was wondering the other day what would happen if I ever did sort them out. They are small things, nothing too important, just stuff I wonder about.

For example, in my third year of High School we had a substitute English for three weeks. For some reason everyone in the class instantly hated him (either due to his being an overly vocal libertarian, or just being the sort of person who would be an overly vocal libertarian, I don't know for sure, either way he was a prick). Nobody in the class listened to him, we would come to English class and just sit around for 45 minutes until it was time to go. This was an honors class, so it wasn't like we were troubled kids, the guy just rubbed us the wrong way with his discussion of personal freedoms and choices which had nothing to do with literature.

So at one point he decided to assign us to read a book. He said it was his favorite book and it was VERY funny. He went on for several minutes about how funny the book was and how much he loved it. He passed out copies to everyone and I remember reading the first few pages in which people were preparing for a fête. There was also something about a bomb in the cake, I think. I might be wrong.

The word "fête" is important, however, because I remember grabbing my dictionary to find out what a "fête" was. Either way the bell rang or he started going on about how freedom was an illusion wrapped in a riddle or something and I decided to read something else.

If this rings a bell, please send me an email. I'd like to read this book.

(If it turns out this is a book by Ayn Rand please don't bother.)

navigation

My cyber-internet-friend Gabriel Jeffrey has compiled a book from the grouphug.us archives called Stoned, Naked, And Looking in My Neighbor's Window for Simon & Schuster. It's a real live book you can go to your local store (or shoppe for those of you in the UK) and buy.

I like the UK cover more than the US one. Mainly because I like comics more than girls in panties.

navigation

I was seriously addicted to Encyclopedia Brown stories when I was a kid. Someone brought up the books on a discussion board, and I was amazed that I could still remember the ending explanations.

"How can he know the knife was short if it was still buried in the watermelon?"

"He was punched in the chest yet he put his glasses on right after the bully ran away!"

"The happy baby is dancing on a hot car hood that was just driven for hours."

"The guitarist without pads on the tips of his fingers is the fake. Guitarists develop calluses on the tips of their fingers after years of playing."

Were you a fan, and can you still remember the endings?

navigation

ManyBooks.net: "This site contains more than 10,000 eBooks from Project Gutenberg and other sources, formatted for reading on your Palm, PocketPC, Zaurus, Rocketbook, or PDA."

They even have an RSS feed for their Recent Additions.

navigation