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Books

RIP RBDigital. Boo to the Libby App

Libraries Ireland recently switched from the RBDigital app that my wife loved to an app called Libby. She reads magazines on a very old iPad so she made the reluctant switch to Libby.

It was a nightmare. By accident she selected the county library rather than the city library and we couldn’t see where to change library. I reinstalled it as that seemed to be the easiest way of fixing that issue.

Once into the app she entered her details and attempted to read a magazine. Unfortunately it was so slow it was frustrating. I realise this iPad is old, but the RBDigital app was quick and responsive on the device. The Libby app is not. Pages load slowly, the whole device lags when Libby is running. Downloading magazines is very slow.

We had the same experience on a Kindle Fire Android tablet, but it was marginally faster. From snail’s pace to sloth’s pace. What the hell is the app written in? Some high level framework that needs the latest hardware to run it?

Then I saw you can use their website, libbyapp.com instead. Firefox on the Android tablet, and Chrome on the iPad were a lot more responsive. While it was still slow to load magazines it was usable. Libby even makes it easy to add a new device.

Their website works just fine in Chrome on my ageing iPad, and the immersive view of Firefox on the Android tablet looks even better so I must see about putting Firefox on the iPad too.

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Books

The Smell of a new Book

I’ve been using my phone to read books for the last decade. Ever since the Grand Meetup in Seaside Florida actually. I decided I needed to buy an actual book I wanted to read on a device rather than “trying out” some of the free classic books I found online.

I still buy books in “dead tree format” sometimes and my last time in Vibes & Scribes I bought The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut. That was some times ago and I still haven’t read it but I opened it this morning and ummm, that new book smell is powerful. I miss that.

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Books

Flicking through childhood memories

My brother gave my son a present of this Asterix Omnibus several years ago but I think I appreciated the gift more. Following the sad news of the passing of Albert Uderzo during the week I’ve been catching up with the adventures of Asterix again.

I devoured these books when I was younger and reading them now they’re still funny and entertaining. I still love them!

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Books

The Egg

You were on your way home when you died.

You should read The Egg, a short story by Andy Weir, the author of The Martian.

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Books

Discworld Reading Order

image

Via this Reddit post.

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Books

All You Need Is Kill

Edge of Tomorrow

If you’ve seen the film, “Edge of Tomorrow” you need to read the book on which it is based. All You Need Is Kill is set in Japan, the main character is a Japanese man named Keiji Kiriya while Rita Vrataski is still an American special forces, The Full Metal Bitch.

There are a few differences between film and book but the same basic idea is there which I’ll refrain from talking about just in case you’ve never heard of or seen “Edge of Tomorrow”. The ending is completely different however and I’m not happy with it. Suddenly everything changed with only a one line explanation. If you don’t care about spoilers here’s a discussion about it. The book is also a little short, around 200 pages. The author could have used a few extra pages to build up to why the ending had to happen that way.

If you enjoyed the movie, you need to read the book. You can find multiple versions on amazon.com but the UK site unfortunately only has the paperback version.

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Books

A Lament for the Living

Lament for the Living

Well, look what stumbled into my house the other day. No, not a zombie. It was the postman, he almost tripped on the sticky-up-bit of the door before handing me a box from Amazon. Inside was a signed copy of David Nicol’s latest book, Lament for the Living. I gave the postman a quick look to confirm that he wasn’t bitten or moaning and sent him on his way. He looked a bit frightened.

The book is a great read. If you like zombie books you’ll love this one. One scene in particular had me laughing out loud as I imagined it in my head. Unfortunately it turned really grim shortly after so I was, “Errm, oops. Yikes! That turned nasty quickly!”

I liked how the story progressed, even if revelations later in the book were quite disturbing. Nicol twists the story around making me identify first with one lot, then another, then I find they’re .. well, you’ll have to read the book now, won’t you?

Get it on Amazon (US), Amazon (UK) or even itunes. The official page for the book also lists a few more local Amazon sites and other sites where the book can be bought. Amazon let’s you have a sneak peak of the start of the book if you want it.

Disclaimer: I was sent a review copy by the author and I’m friends with him. The links above are not affiliate links. Whether that clouds your judgement of my post or not is up to you. I enjoyed the book.

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Books

The original Pinocchio was a dark, grim story

My son Adam has taken an interest in Pinocchio after receiving a little wooden toy that looks similar to the well known character. He watched a few videos on Youtube of the Disney classic and since I knew the original would be available as a Kindle download I offered to read him a few chapters before going to bed.

What an eye opener.

I never saw the original Walt Disney cartoon but I’m familiar with the characters and the story. I’ve only got to chapter 6 of the story but so far Geppetto is in gaol for child(puppet) abuse and Pinocchio has killed Jiminy Cricket (Talking Cricket in the story) with a mallet to the head. (Apparently he reappears alive at the end of the story but it’s not explained how)

.. but unfortunately it struck him exactly on the head, so that the poor Cricket had scarcely breath to cry “Cri-cri-cri!” and then he remained dried up and flattened against the wall.

pinocchio collodi hung

In an awful twist, later on in the novel Pinocchio is caught and hung by the cat and the fox. He dies and “Collodi actually intended that to be the end of his tale, but public outcry from fans got him to return to the story and bring the puppet boy back to life.” (src)

I may read the story for myself, but I’ll track down a book based on the Disney movie instead. It’s not just the much darker imagery and events in the book but also the odd, old fashioned English. It’s difficult going. Reading the story aloud is difficult.

Pinocchio to Talking Cricket: “Take care, you wicked, ill-omened croaker! Woe to you if I fly into a passion!”
The soldier without disturbing himself in the least caught him cleverly by the nose and gave him to Geppetto.

For further reading, you can find the original Pinocchio for free in many places including Amazon. Also take a look at this commentary and this one.

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Books

The Evolution of Batman

The evolution of Batman

A fairly inclusive infographic recording 70 years of Batman evolution by Reddit user gonzoblair (blairerickson) and posted here.

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Books

The Joy of Books

This video reminds me of that feeling walking into Waterstones or other book shop of the worlds waiting to be discovered on the bookshelves lining the walls and in the “3 for 2” piles of books displayed near the door.

I love reading, but I’ve hardly read a paperback in over 18 months. When you’ve found a great book it doesn’t matter what format the story is in. I do miss the book shop ritual though.

From one of the comments on that video:

I read, share, discuss, donate, gift and love my ebooks. So should you. Don’t hate only the latest incarnation of books. I imagine scroll-fetishists thought that bound folios were the work of the devil. Sigh.

(via Kathy Foley)