Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Freading and Kindle Unlimited

Last week when I logged into my library's Freading.com web site, I saw a bunch of new books from Open Road Media, including the Cadfael medieval mysteries. Most of those books are tagged "coming soon", though. A quick search online found that the Cadfael books will be released on 5 August, so I'm anticipating that their status on Freading will change on that date. Even nicer this week, I found that many books from RosettaBooks have been added to the catalog, and almost all of those are available right now. And, RosettaBooks is carrying a number of well-known authors such as Barbara Taylor Bradford, M. C. Beaton, Kurt Vonegut, Ben Bova, Harold Robbins, and Harry Kemelman.

On 18 July, Amazon launched Kindle Unlimited, a subscription service. One thing I've discovered about Freading and Kindle Unlimited is that there is a major overlap between the books which are available from the two different channels. Freading doesn't cost ME anything, because my library pays for the service. Kindle Unlimited will cost me $9.95 per month after a 30-day trial period.

Granted, the catalogs for the two are not identical, but as I said, there's a great deal of overlap between the two. Freading has the price advantage, but doesn't allow me to read on my Kindle device. I'm lucky enough to have a second reader (a BeBook mini) which is supported by Adobe Digital Editions, so I have reasonable access to the books from Freading. The advantage of Kindle Unlimited is that it supports my Kindle reader, but the downside is the price. I think that for now, I'm going to pass on Kindle Unlimited and get the books I want to read from Freading.

Monday, July 28, 2014

#HSreadathon -- summing it all up

High Summer Read-a-Thon While I didn't post any status updates for this read-a-thon, the first four days were running concurrently with the Wicked Wildfire Read-a-Thon, so my updates applied here as well. I'm counting this a successful read-a-thon. I read a total fo 567 pages, finishing two books during the week: Heavenly Pleasures by Kerry Greenwood and Charlotte Tweed and the School for Orphaned Dragons by Allegra Skye. I also read portions of 3 other books and listened to 2 hours of an audio book.

Almost all of my reading was of electronic books. My primary reader is a Kindle. But, when I borrow eBooks from my public library through the Freading service, I can only get them in ePub format, which is not supported by the Kindle. That's when I turn to the BeBook reader. Heavenly Pleasures was borrowed from the library. I started reading it before the read-a-thon began and it was the first book I completed this week. This is the second in Greenwood's cozy mystery series set in a bakery in Melbourne. I definitely enjoyed it and have already checked out the next in the series, and read the first 13 pages of Devil's Food.

I then thrashed around a bit trying to decide what to read next. I read a couple of pages of U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton—the only "paper" book I read all week—before settling down to finish a book I had started in June. Charlotte Tweed and the School for Orphaned Dragons is a freebie I picked up from Amazon in early June. I had read about one third of it and then set it aside for a while. For the read-a-thon, I resumed reading and finished the book. It was a pretty good story and I would have given it fairly high marks if the author had finished it before publication. But, she didn't. The story just stops, having come to no resolution at all. Supposedly there's a sequel, but I don't know when it will be released.

Over the weekend, I listened to a couple of hours of The Map That Changed the World by Simon Winchester. This is the story of William Smith, the father of English geology. Smith developed the theory of stratification and was one of the first to recognize that the fossils in rocks could identify the time period when the rocks were formed. There's a map, too, as the title says. It measured 6 feet by 8.5 feet, and was colored entirely by hand. I'm thoroughly enjoying this recording, read by the author himself.

Lastly, I've settled down to reading Torch of Freedom by David Weber and Eric Flint. It's grand science fiction set in the universe of Honor Harrington. One of my reading goals this year is to complete the multiple series of books in the "Honorverse".

The Books

Heavenly Pleasures by Kerry Greenwood Charlotte Tweed and the School for Orphaned Dragons by Allegra Skye
U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton Torch of Freedom by David Weber & Eric Flint Devil's Food by Kerry Greenwood The Map that Changed the World by Simon Winchester

Saturday, July 26, 2014

#WWReadathon -- a final post

Wicked Wildfire Read-a-Thon Well, Wicked Wildfire Read-a-Thon is over for another year. If I've done the math correctly, I read 912 pages during the 11 days of the read-a-thon. I completed four books, three of which were library books. I read a mixture of electronic books and traditional books printed on paper. I tried to follow the postings to Twitter and responded to a couple as time permitted. As usual, it was a joy to participate in this event celebrating the love of reading. I look forward to next summer.

Statistics

Number of books read: 7
Number of books completed: 4
Number of pages read: 912

Books Completed

Running Blind by Lee Child Death of an Outsider by M C Beaton The Martian by Andy Weir Heavenly Pleasures by Kerry Greenwood

Books Still Reading

Charlotte Tweed and the School for Orphaned Dragons by Allegra Skye U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton Torch of Freedom by David Weber & Eric Flint

Saturday, July 19, 2014

#HSReadathon --- High Summer Read-a-Thon

High Summer Read-a-Thon This year, the High Summer Read-a-Thon is going to run concurrently with the last four days of Wicked Wildfire Read-a-Thon. That's not going to cause a particular problem since both of these are very laid-back events. Neither read-a-thon has a particular emphasis on challenges—it's really all about reading, blogging (or sharing on Facebook or Twitter if you don't have a blog), and being part of community of readers.

As with other read-a-thons, my own goal is simply to do a better job of sharing what I'm reading via this blog. I'm sitting on a couple of library books which will need to be returned in the next week, so I'll probably focus on completing those. Right now I'm reading Heavenly Pleasures, the second book in Kerry Greenwood's cozy mystery series starring baker Corrina Chapman, which I may finish before the read-a-thon begins. This one is an eBook checked out through my library's subscription to Freading.com. Also checked out are Demon Drums by Carol Severance and The Healer's War by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough.

Heavenly Pleasures by Kerry Greenwood Demon Drums by Carol Severance The Healer's War by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

#WWReadathon Status Updates

Wicked Wildfire Read-a-Thon

When it comes to read-a-thons, I'm torn between using a single post containing an ongoing status or creating separate posts. Since this read-a-thon is one of the longest around, I think a single post will be easier to maintain. If I miss an update, I can easily correct it later.

Updates

Monday, 14 July: I almost forgot about the Wicked Wildfire Read-a-Thon, so I was late in signing up. I had a library book downloaded to my Kindle that I needed to finish because it was due, so I settled in to read the last ~71 pages of Running Blind. Then, I turned to another library book, Death of an Outsider and read the first 39 pages. I also visited several web sites of other #WWReadathon participants, cooked a cornbread taco casserole for supper, and watched the latest episode of Major Crimes.

Tuesday, 15 July: Death of an Outsider is a very short book, so I was able to finish it and return it to the drop-off box at my local library. With that done, I started reading Andy Weir's The Martian which has been highly recommended. The library's book club will be discussing it at the September meeting. I didn't get very far into it, but it is definitely looking like a good read.

Wednesday, 16 July: It was a busy day, and I didn't get much reading done. I made progress in The Martian and have decided that I definitely like it. The main character is very likeable and although his situation is dire, he gets busy trying to solve the problem instead of getting mired asking "why me?"

Thursday, 17 July: It was also a busy day, and I only found time to read during lunch and supper. That meant that I read 141 pages in The Martian, putting me well past ½-way through the book. This is definitely going to be one of the best books I've read all year.

Friday, 18 July: I used my lunch hour and supper as reading time and after supper I had only 65 pages left in The Martian, so I took the book to bed with me and finished it around 23:30. Yay! Now the challenge is to decide what to read next.

Saturday, 19 July: You'd think that I'd get more reading done on a day when I don't have to work, but that wasn't the case. I had so much that I needed to get done. I started reading Heavenly Pleasures by Kerry Greenwood, the second book in her Corrina Chapman cozy mystery series.

Sunday, 20 July: I found even less time to read on Sunday than on Saturday! I'm enjoying Heavenly Pleasures. (Who wouldn't like a book about a bakery and a chocolate shop?) I just need to use my free time for reading rather than other chores.

Monday, 21 July: Back to work and I found a little bit of time to read during my lunch break. It was a busy day all day long and when evening came, I took time to watch a couple of shows on TV instead of read.

Tuesday, 22 July: Finally back to a more usual amount of time spent reading. I am still reading Heavenly Pleasures, but I'm nearing the end. At bedtime I was 80% of the way through it.

Wednesday, 23 July: Finally finished Heavenly Pleasures during lunchtime. I thrashed around the rest of the day, reading 9 pages in Charlotte Tweed and the School for Orphaned Dragons by Allegra Skye and 6 pages of U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton.

Thursday, 24 July: The last day of the read-a-thon and I was still thrashing around. I read 19 pages in Torch of Freedom/i> by David Weber and Eric Flint before settling down to read more of Charlotte Tweed and the School for Orphaned Dragons. I was making good progress by bedtime and should finish it in the next day or two.

Statistics

Monday, 14 July

Number of books I've read today: 2
Number of pages I've read today: 110
Number of books completed today: 1

Tuesday, 15 July

Number of books I've read today: 2
Number of pages I've read today: 119
Number of books completed today: 1

Wednesday, 16 July

Number of books I've read today: 1
Number of pages I've read today: 54
Number of books completed today: 0

Thursday, 17 July

Number of books I've read today: 1
Number of pages I've read today: 141
Number of books completed today: 0

Friday, 18 July

Number of books I've read today: 1
Number of pages I've read today: 164
Number of books completed today: 1

Saturday, 19 July

Number of books I've read today: 1
Number of pages I've read today: 35
Number of books completed today: 0

Sunday, 20 July

Number of books I've read today: 1
Number of pages I've read today: 20
Number of books completed today: 0

Monday, 21 July

Number of books I've read today: 1
Number of pages I've read today: 48
Number of books completed today: 0

Tuesday, 22 July

Number of books I've read today: 1
Number of pages I've read today: 98
Number of books completed today: 0

Wednesday, 23 July

Number of books I've read today: 3
Number of pages I've read today: 65
Number of books completed today: 1

Thursday, 24 July

Number of books I've read today: 2
Number of pages I've read today: 58
Number of books completed today: 0

The Books

Running Blind by Lee Child Death of an Outsider by M C Beaton The Martian by Andy Weir Heavenly Pleasures by Kerry Greenwood Charlotte Tweed and the School for Orphaned Dragons by Allegra Skye U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton Torch of Freedom by David Weber & Eric Flint

#WWReadathon Starting Position and Goals

Wicked Wildfire Read-a-Thon

As Monday morning dawned, there were two unfinished books that I was actively reading. (There are more unfinished books around, but the rest of them have been set aside, perhaps forever.) On my Kindle, I was reading Running Blind by Lee Child, the fourth book in his popular Jack Reacher mystery/thriller series. The Kindle indicated that I was about 86% of the way through the book, so I'm estimating that I was somewhere around page 445 of 516. The other book in progress was The Map That Changed the World by Simon Winchester, an audio book. I am almost exactly ½ way through, with 4 hours and 43 minutes remaining from a total of 9 hours and 59 minutes. (Hmmm…makes me wonder why they didn't make it one second longer and call it 10 hours.)

My goals for the read-a-thon are simple: I want to publish what I'm reading here on the blog. Since this is a normal work week, I don't see any way that I can read much more than usual, but I can put more emphasis on the social aspect by posting to the blog and communicating with other read-a-thon participants.

Books queued up to read very soon which are most likely to show up this week:

The Martian by Andy Weir A Lady of Resources by Shelley Adina Heavenly Pleasures by Kerry Greenwood

Monday, July 14, 2014

#WWReadathon -- Wicked Wildfire Read-a-Thon

Wicked Wildfire Read-a-Thon I almost missed it! The Wicked Wildfire Read-a-Thon begins today. The goal is to “dedicate the days of July 14-24 to as much reading as possible”. Now, I don't think I can squeeze in any more reading than I usually do, but I can post about it on my blog, tweet using the hashtag #WWReadathon, and join one or more chats in the WWReadathon room. I might even find time to participate in one or more of the challenges.

So, although I'm getting a late start linking up with other participants in the read-a-thon, I do know what I've been reading so far today. I'll be back later to post about my starting position and goals for the week.

New books at Freading - 2014.07.14

This morning I took a quick glance at the new arrivals at Freading.com and found some very interesting titles had been added to the collection. The newest books still show "Coming Soon", so it may be a week or so before the books get loaded to the server. For now, it's fun to just look at the catalog and think which books one might want to borrow.

For the middle school set, the first eight books in Bonnie Bryant's Pony Tails series will soon be available. Horse-crazy girls will enjoy meeting May, Jasmine, and Corey; three girls with only one thing in common. They love ponies. The series goes on for eight more volumes, so let's hope that they show up at Freading as soon as possible. In the meantime, get started with Pony Crazy and move on to May's Riding Lesson, Corey's Pony is Missing and the rest of this series recently added to the Freading site.

Also for the middle school set—and maybe of more interest to the boys— are the Boxcar Children series. Now, these books have been available at Freading for quite some time. What's new is that Spanish translations of several of the books are now listed as "coming soon". It looks like their availability on Freading is tied to their publication date of 29 July. If so, then at the end of the month, Spanish readers can check out the first three books in the series: Los chicos del vag√≥n de carga (The Boxcar Children), La isla de las sorpresas (Surprise Island), and El misterio de la casa amarilla (The Yellow House Mystery).

P.S. You can find the English editions of the Boxcar Children books here .

Adult readers may enjoy the Alan Graham Mysteries by Malcolm Shuman. This five volume series features archaeologist Alan Graham tackles both ancient and contemporary mysteries in Louisiana's Bayou country. And, these books show consistently high ratings at Goodreads.com. Start with Burial Ground and continue on through the rest of the series.

Teens aren't left out, either. You may want to check out fantasy novels The Zodiak Collector by Laura Diamond and Twell & the Army of Powers by Kate O'Leary.

Lastly, a group of books from Intercollegiate Studies Institute, A Student's Guide to ... offer a college-level survey of various broad topics—covering both fundamentals as well referring the reader to additional published books on the subject. Consider checking out A Student's Guide to Music History, A Student's Guide to Natural Science, A Student's Guide to Philosophy, or A Student's Guide to U. S. History, among many others.