Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Clone Wars by Karen Traviss (review)

Title: The Clone Wars
Author: Karen Traviss
Illustrator: N/A
Discs: 7
Genre: Young People
Dewey Decimal: YP CD F Tra Clo
Cost: $0

Another stereotypical Star Wars book that has the stereotypical plot, characters, and action sequences. How this franchise can continue to support works like this is amazing. But even more amazing is that Traviss wrote this. I know it was likely designed to be a bit "toned down" as far as depth and scope, but Traviss has proven herself as a solid writer in some of her previous Star Wars works; namely the Commando series. And while her Commando series can't really compare to the arcs of New Jedi Order or Legacy of the Force, it's good enough to recommend.

Clone Wars on the other hand, is not. So save your time and money, and check it out from the library in either print or audio formats. Both will entertain you, but don't expect to think very hard while you travel through hyperspace.

Friday, February 27, 2009

NEW POLL: Epic Fantasy Death Match


That's right folks. All six of you voted and there was a tie. So, help me narrow it down some more between A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin and Across the Face of the World by Russell Kirkpatrick.
You have one week to decide, so go vote!

Remember, there can be only one!

News of the week

We start off this week with the upcoming Virginia Festival of the Book from March 18-22 in Charlottesville, Virginia. With four pages of just fiction authors, I think this is one of those events only a true bibliophile would attend. Check the link to get a better idea of who will be there.

Then we have some belated news from the February 11th edition of The Journal. The weekly craft during Storytime was dream catchers. As we can see here, the kids had fun.

Neal Wyatt of Library Journal spells his name wrong but lists his top fantasy novels. Hmmm. Nothing I've read yet. Maybe he spelled the titles wrong too.

Then we have a book on the black history of schools in Cleveland County, North Carolina. The book has done so well, it's already sold out of its first printing.

And while I used to live in Shelby and miss it dearly, I think I'm more likely to follow the 2009 Audies. The finalist list has been released but I'm ashamed to admit I've only read three books on the list (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, and The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry). Does it help that Nation by Terry Pratchett is on my short list at the library?

Jim C. Hines mentioned that one of his books (The Stepsister Scheme) had shown up on a pirate site. While I know peer-to-peer (aka P2P) networks are alive and running well, I honestly had not thought of e-books showing up there. Could this be the proof the industry needs that e-books are the wave of the future? After all, if there's a black market for an item, then somebody out there must want it bad enough to break the law to get it. Well publishers, here's further proof e-books are coming. Galley Cat reports that galleys are now showing up on P2P sites. While the ripples may be small now I think this shows a clear increase in e-book readers (meaning both those people that read e-books and the technology that reads e-books).

*And in late-breaking news, Galley Cat is reporting that publisher O'Reilly saw jumps in their sales of pirated books. Could this be the an e-book echo? (I call dibs on that phrase!) We've already heard from authors like Hines and many others that free e-books can boost sales. Could pirated books do the same thing? Isn't this the same thing we're seeing with all those free IHOP pancakes and Quizno's subs? Publishers, I'm willing to accept your free books now (e-book and printed versions are accepted).

Even though my commute has gone from seven and a half hours a week to seven and a half seconds a day, I still enjoy audio books. Which brings us to this link that shows some of the top audio book downloads from libraries.

And while Borders makes more cuts to their workforce, I get more nervous about the gift cards I have. Will they turn out like Circuit City and become worthless? Or will Barnes & Noble accept them? Or am I still crazy for thinking merger?

I've never been a fan of Tolkien, but I can appreciate the impact he’s made on the industry. Even now, well after his death, he’s still making ripples. And no, I won't even go into the whole Richard Morgan debate. At least not now.

As previously reported, Anderson News asked for more money. Now they’re laying people off. But it looks like there is more to the magazine industry that the readers don’t know about.

And yet again, e-books are back in the news. It looks like Danielle Steel is joining the ranks of other mainstream authors like John Grisham and Tom Clancy in doing e-books. Welcome to the next century old-farts.

Think your library stinks? Not as much as this one. Do you hate those smelly patrons at the library? If you do, best leave before you make comments that land you in jail.

And in more somber news, Matthew Reidsma (reidsrow) recently reported the death of his grandfather and posted the eulogy. While I know none of the family on any personal level, I can certainly relate to the feelings. For me it is utterly regretting not spending more time with my other grandmother. I'm not sure what brings me to tears more, the thought of not seeing them again or my own stupidity.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Weekend Purchase Report

I had planned on waiting until the end of each month before giving each Library Dad Reading Fund report, but I'm thinking an as-I-buy-it format will be easier for me to remember.

Balance on 2/20 = $72.89


Maelstrom by Taylor Anderson = $14.97 (40% off retail price of $24.95)
Across the Face of the World by Russell Kirkpatrick = $7.99
A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin = $7.99

Total = $32.50 (includes $1.55 in tax)

Ending Balance on 2/23 = $40.39

My original intention was to buy A Game of Thrones used, but the local used book store didn't have it in stock. Nor did they have The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks, a book I've been meaning to re-read for several years now. So instead of saving a few dollars with a used copy, I bought the new, off the shelf version. With one of the crappiest covers I've ever seen. But more on that after I read it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Island in the Sea of Time by S. M. Stirling (review)

Title: Island in the Sea of Time
Author: S. M. Stirling
Illustrator: N/A
Discs: 21
Genre: Fiction
Dewey Decimal: CD F Sti
ISBN: 9781400106790
Cost: $0

Stirling delivers for the first time. Again.

That line sums up Stirling's work in the entire Nantucket/Changed World/Alien Space Bats epic so far. This time we visit Stirling's work early on in the series. The first book to be precise, of the Island in the Sea of Time trilogy. We have an Event (aka the Change) that takes place in March of 1998. The island of Nantucket is "zapped" (that's a technical term) back in time. Cars, guns, and everything works as normal. Even planes fly. But essentially everything off-island is now sitting at 1250 BC. Which means the mainland is populated by the natives. And Europe isn't much better.

Enter the hero of the story. A woman by the name of Marian Alston. Who's black. And a lesbian. And the Captain of the Coast Guard ship Eagle. I think this is the first and only book I've read with a main character with so many "minority labels" applied to them. It's like turning that cookie-cutter fantasy novel on it's head.

Which is what happens to the people of Nantucket. Their tale of survival, betrayal, and progress is mapped out in Island in the Sea of Time. Alston leads the good guys (and gals) while a former Coastie by the name of Walker leads the bad guys.

If you haven't read the series, this is where you need to stop. I'm going to dive deep into the plotlines and do some analysis and theorizing, both of which may give away some future endings.


Similarities abound. Alston and Walker are very much like Juni and Arminger. Hell, some of the names are even close. Arminger and Arnstein. Anyway, there's some plot points that look similar too. Havel and Arminger's head to head battle is much like Alston and Walker's head to head battle. The good guy gone bad syndrome is repeated. We hear of levies, Bitter Root Territory, and countless other phrases that take us back (or forward) to the other series.

But I'm okay with that. While there are all these things rolling around that look so much alike, it's a bit like an apple and an orange. You can eat them, but they taste different. The original Nantucket series has all the physics of today. Everything works. The Oregon series has none of the physics today. Nothing works. So it give you a different perspective on how things turn out when the world ends (or Alien Space bats attack).

I think the similarities are much more obvious since I've delved into the new series recently and am now going back to the originals. While some may see this as a bit of copy/paste by Stirling, I think there's something deeper that we need to look at. Ourselves as humans. I think that's what we're really seeing in the both sets, humans adapting to the harsh conditions of their environment. Think Darwin. We're all made up of essentially the same stuff. But it is those that adapt that survive. So those that survive in both worlds are going to share a lot of the same traits.

What I see this leading up to something big. Something those that survive the Change will develop as some sort of extra trait. What that is, I have no idea. A sixth sense, ESP, telekinesis, who knows. Maybe they'll just start growing extra thick skin on their forearms from the bows.

Anyway, stay tuned for more from Stirling. He's still writing and I'm still going through the original series.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Anton Strout Interview

Title: Deader Still
Author: Anton Strout
Illustrator: N/A
Genre: Fiction
Dewey Decimal: F Str
ISBN: 978-0441016914
Cost: $7.99

Deader Still is the second installment in the Simon Canderous series (slated to be at least four titles). I read (and reviewed) Strout's debut, Dead to Me, last year and it ranked up there near the top of my net worth scale. And considering he ranked just under authors like Joe Abercrombie and Michael Chabon, it means he's doing something right.

The King of Urban Fantasy and Sarcastic Wit (aka Anton Strout) was kind enough to grant Library Dad time enough for an interview. So please kneel as he bestows wise words upon us.

Do you visit your local library? If so, how often and what section do you enjoy most?
Sadly, I don’t make it to the local library all that much. When I was a kid in the Berkshires, I was a fiend for it. I would cubby up with a stack of fantasy books and just go to town. I remember reading through a bunch of Piers Anthony that was like a binge session. I read so much of him back then that I eventually burned out. Then I used to go to the record section and go through movie soundtracks and such. The theme to Exodus as well as the disco version of Star Wars* stick in my head, as well as all the early Henry Mancini works. As an adult, though, I worked in bookstores for years and my day job is in a publishing house (Penguin), so I’m constantly surrounded by books. There’s a library surrounding me most every hour of my day now.

*I think this is Star Wars and Other Golactic Funk by Meco. I know because I have it. -Library Dad

We already know you would win any cage match but in a match between Jim C. Hines and Patrick Rothfuss, who would win and why?
This is a close one. Pat’s got this big and burly thing going on, but Jim is wily and conniving like, well, a goblin. He’s likely to stab you in the back the second you turn on him. Ultimately, I think Rothfuss would win, though, because Jim would get lost in the man’s beard. Jim’s a small cravenly guy, and Pat’s beard is HUGE. I lost a Sno-Cone in there once. It wasn’t pretty.

How does marriage affect your writing? How does writing affect your marriage?
Marriage affects my writing like every other life experience does. I feel like my brain is a video camera, recording everything around me all the time for some future use in my work. Marriage is a new dynamic to add to the mental writing pile. I haven’t really written much with married couples in it, but I suspect we’ll see that change as I get used to marriage and its nuances. As far as writing affecting my marriage… My wife used to be an editor at Three Rivers Press, so she understands what it takes to be a writer. She’s excellent at helping me find the time to do it and also quite content to do her own thing, which is what I love about her. I think it takes security for a spouse to play polygamy with a writer’s work.

After you take your shower, do you dry off before you get out or after you get out?
I’m also a gamer, so it is widely disputed as to whether I’m capable of taking a shower, although I swear I’ve never had convention “funk”. I think for the real answer for that, you’ll have to talk to my stalkers who man my webcam. $5.99 a month.

Do you wear boxers, briefs, or those boxer-brief cross-overs?
Boxers…with a 95% chance of them having cartoon characters or superheroes on them. Again, see webcam.

With your illness last summer, you faced death and took some quality pharmaceuticals. Did you get any great writing ideas from either experience?
I’ll be honest. I miss morphine. I’ve never been habitual about anything, writing included, BUT taking morphine after my surgery, I could really feel the appeal of it. Even now, I sometimes go, “Man, that would feel really comfy right now”… it’s like being wrapped up in a big warm blanket made of divinity. That said, don’t do drugs, kids! Stay in school! Or Mr. T and I are gonna break our feet off in your ass!

What was your major when you first started college? Are you using it today and why?
I was a theater major when I first started school, and it shows in my writing. I set a stage, and I think I read a bit cinematically, as if the reader were watching a movie or a play. Plus, I spent a lot of time acting and building sets… that’s pretty much what I do in putting a book together now, isn’t it?

Does your toilet paper come off the top of the roll or the bottom of the roll?
I used to be an under the bottom of the roll guy, but something changed in the past year. Suddenly, I’m all over the top. I have zero idea what this says about me.

Do you have any opinions on e-books in today's publishing market and tough economy? Do you think printed books will be replaced by e-books or will printed books just become a thing for collectors?
I think both can survive. I think the tactile sensation of holding a book, turning the pages, the smell, the ink… nothing really lives up to that. However, I totally get the e-book appeal… I think the industry needs to agree on a standard as far as how to process then for the right tech markets… right now, we’re seeing a jillion formats come out in the electronic arena… that takes a lot of man hours to do all those conversions in a publishing house, which will ultimately drive the price up to cover all that expense. But I think books can be appreciated in both worlds, as long as people are being entertained and the stories get shared.

If I beg and plead and pimp your book enough, will you send me a galley of book three?
It certainly increases your odds, because if there’s one thing I truly love, it’s human suffering.

There you have it, the King has spoken. He has now commanded you to go out and buy his book.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Combat and Survival - Volume 8

Title: Combat and Survival (Volume 8)
Author: H. S. Stuttman, Inc. Publishers
Illustrator: N/A
Pages: 59
Genre: Non-Fiction
Dewey Decimal: 355.5 Com
ISBN: 0-87475-560-3
Cost: $0

This volume covers mainly patrols and how to operate and lead them. From setting up a patrol base to recce, just about everything topic is covered. The unarmed combat lessons move to "rescue" scenarios. And of course the requisite armored carriers, tanks, and high powered pistols. And it finishes with some hazardous material scenarios and, my favorite, exploring sewers.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Library Dad Reading Fund Update

I recently picked up The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks. And I scored a gift card for Borders!

So here's where we stand right now with the Library Dad Reading Fund:

Balance on 1/31 = $50.41

The Way of Shadows Purchase = $2.52
Gift Cards Acquired = $25.00

Ending Balance on 2/20 = $72.89

That's almost eight dollars a month until the end of the year!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

News from around the stacks

John Drake has penned a prequel to Treasure Island. Titled Flint & Silver, it is due to be released in May of 2009. You can watch him here in a video interview. And there's more, the film rights have already been purchased. And he's making the prequel a trilogy? And he looks a lot like Obi-Wan? Me thinks the Emperor has been meddling again.

While not exactly book related, seasons one and two of Mr. Belvedere will be arriving on DVD on March 17, 2009. Wow. Now I feel old now.

Mr. Zeleznik has been kind enough to grace my inbox with some reading material. Too bad the general public won't be privy to it.

While I am very much a LOST addict now, I don't think I'll be reading Island by Aldous Huxley. Yes, there are vague references to the book in LOST, but based on this review, I'll save my scarce reading time for something else.

I'm also a sucker for cover art. Which means The Age of Ra by James Lovegrove looks rather enticing. And while it has me thinking of Stargate much to the author's remorse, I think that's a good thing.

We already know The Alexander Cipher is coming next month, but there's another cipher out there. The Dakota Cipher by William Dietrich comes out in April of 2009. The plot sounds quirky and interesting. A Viking utopia in North America? And Thomas Jefferson? And this guy wrote a book called The Scourge of God? And he won the Pulitzer? Hmmm. Something to think about.

Library Journal has a long list of sci-fi/fantasy novels due to be released soon.

Adobe released an SDK (that's Software Developer Kit in geek speak) for Adobe Reader Mobile 9. Big news for those companies looking to delve into PDF formats and e-books. You'll see Plastic Logic is mentioned in the article. If they can deliver on what they've promised (and come to the table with a reasonable price), they may give the Kindle a run for their money.

Big-time author Patrick Rothfuss will be doing a reading on February 26th at the Hayward Public Library (sorry, no elk allowed). Besides being a big-time author, Pat also has a big-time beard, a big-time head of hair, and a big-time thumb (as seen below).

And finally, we have another last minute addition on the Kindle 2. David Pauly comments on how, when, and if the Kindle can take the place of "old-fashioned printed" books. I myself am just not sold on the Kindle. Yet. I think Sony will introduce a new version of their reader soon in an attempt to counter any Kindle 2 sales. Microsoft will try to get into the market, but will be make something too powerful and full of extras that it won't come out for three more years. Google will jump in and make huge, tsunami-like waves in the industry when they buy Plastic Logic and use them as their e-book platform. But back to making books die off like a bad Darwinian evolution, I'm just not sold yet. The publishing industry, while taking some lumps, will still survive. Newspapers will still be available. After all, you can't do a crossword or Sudoku on a Kindle, can you?

Anyway, enough blabbering from me. Enjoy your news!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ye Olde Book Porn

Wow. That's the only word I can think of to describe the Catalogue of Digitized Medieval Manuscripts website. You see, I'm on that borderline of generations. I can still remember when only the rich had computers. And those were some strange box you hooked up to your television and had this cartridge that looked like an 8-track to play games.

In college, technology advanced far enough that we had this fancy new thing called email on something called Kermit, and I'm not talking about that green frog. I'd call my neighbor and we'd play Doom over the phone lines. My computer called his and we were connected for a head to head deathmatch.

A few years passed and technology advanced again with the advent of the "internet" full of message boards and porn. Years continued to pass and we're now seeing books, entire books, online for free or nearly free reading.

And now we step back in time to pull up something written so far in the past that you probably can't trace your family that far back. And what do we do with that? We photograph it and put it online for the world to see. For free.

The only down side I can see is the rumors that the site has crashed periodically from heavy traffic. i wouldn't be surprised as the images are huge and high quality. And there's a lot to look at.

So enjoy your book porn from the days of yore.

Canterbury Tales (in Middle English) -

And oh so much more.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

150th Anniversary of On the Origin of Species

Title: On the Origin of Species
Author: Charles Darwin
Illustrator: N/A
Pages: 252
Genre: Non-Fiction
Dewey Decimal: 575 DAR
Cost: $0

Title: The Descent of Man (included with the above text in one binding)
Author: Charles Darwin
Illustrator: N/A
Pages: 448
Genre: Non-Fiction
Dewey Decimal: 575 DAR
Cost: $0

Title: The Illustrated Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
Author: Charles Darwin
Illustrator: Richard E. Leakey
Pages: 223
Genre: Non-Fiction
Dewey Decimal: 575 DAR
ISBN: 0-8090-5735-2
Cost: $0

Darwin started his career as a man of science and God. But his natural curiosity and trip on the H.M.S. Beagle changed not only his life, but the life of evolutionary science. While Darwin is often seen as the father of evolution, he is nothing more than a student and teacher of the topic. He just happened to be the right person in the right place at the right time for history to put him on a pedestal.

This book has caused a lot of conversation of creation and evolution. Darwin was quoted in the February 2009 issue of Fast Company as saying "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change." How true this rings in the business market (how Fast Company referred to it).

The two books I checked out were informational and both appealed to different audiences. The first being the full version of Darwin's work. While clearly this was written for the educated person, there are some words and phrases that would be hard to comprehend for those without some higher education.

The second book is an abridged and illustrated version of Origin of Species. The introduction by Richard Leakey is a reason to pick this book up alone (the entire Leakey family is well known in this field of science) but the illustrations certainly help visual learners. And the abridgement cuts out a lot of the wordiness that the original had (and made feel like a copy of Moby Dick at times.)

You can check out some of the titles in this article for more information on how to discover Darwin.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Combat and Survival - Volume 7

Title: Combat and Survival (Volume 7)
Author: H. S. Stuttman, Inc. Publishers
Illustrator: N/A
Pages: 59
Genre: Non-Fiction
Dewey Decimal: 355.5 Com
ISBN: 0-87475-560-3
Cost: $0

The series gets a little darker with coverage of capture and torture. And while I'm sure some of the advice is helpful, it certainly can't prepare you for a real-life situation. But learning how you can use tap codes is nice for a young kid wanting to play war with his buddies.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

I know it's a day early, but this should give you some inspiration for your weekend foray into the library (or book store).

What is it? A great list of couples and scenes in books that are Most Likely to Make Your Heart Flutter. I'm always a sucker for lists, but this is one of the best I've seen in a long, long time.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (review)

Title: Mistborn
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Illustrator: N/A
Pages: 654
Genre: Fiction
Dewey Decimal: N/A
ISBN: unknown
Cost: $0 (free PDF from TOR from 2008)

This was my first foray into Sanderson's work. I didn't really know what to expect beyond the guy must be good if he's finishing Jordan's Wheel of Time series. I think the hardest part for me, surprisingly, was the e-book format. I can see now why Kindles and Sony Readers are so popular for e-book fans. This book was hard to read since when I had the time was usually when I was off the computer. Which meant I'd have to lug a laptop out and deal with a hot lap if I wanted to finish.

Sanderson also had a bit of the typical "quest" and "political intrigue" as the MacGuffin in this book. But what appealed to me most was the magic system. So many times I've read about potions and spells and wand waving. Sanderson instead creates a world that has people that can "burn" metals they swallow. How ingenious.

The class-based society was also a bit cookie-cutter, as was their rebellion. But it was well balanced with the amount of thought that went into the planning and scheming by a main character. And the person that dies at the end? Wow. Didn't really expect that one. The second death? That one I did expect.

So, while I had personal issues with the e-book, I pushed through them. And after ten months, I finally got to the end of a very good story with an original magic system. Check it out if you can. Buy it if you can't.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Your News Report

The National Yiddish Book Center is online and functional. The project began over a decade ago and now contains over 10,000 titles in Yiddish. But do they have The Yiddish Policemen's Union?

Anderson News makes news of its own by discontinuing distribution for at least a few days while they come to terms with a charging more money. I'd expect retailers to pay the extra money as Anderson is a major company in the realm of periodicals.

The Missouri Department of Revenue is no longer giving out tax forms at libraries and post office branches. I suggest you use their online site.

We've seen it before and we're seeing it again; people are going to libraries for more than just books. This article however, take libraries and architecture and gives you different perspective.

Congratulations to the Rosedale branch of the Baltimore County Public Library system for winning the 2009 John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award. Their Storyville learning center has done wonders.

USA Today is reporting that libraries won't be prosecuted for lending books printed after 1985. And in general it sounds like they'll be pretty lenient even if they did. Why the hubub? Because some of those older books you check out from your local library may have lead in the ink.

And delving yet again into the world of e-books, take a look at Tobias Buckell and how his print sales were impacted by a free e-book from his publisher. Tor, Buckell's publisher, had several books released in e-book format last year. Enough to keep anyone in front of a computer busy for some time (unfortunately, the e-book links have been removed).

And just in time for Valentine's Day, we have Harlequin giving away sixteen titles (free and in e-book format). And while there are not many truly free books out there, you can find a few with some hunting. Or you can let someone else to the legwork and visit sites like Hey, It's Free! Then there's rumors that Barnes & Noble will join the ranks of e-book sellers (the same article also talks about "shortcovers," a new e-book concept). Plastic Logic also emerges as a new producer of e-book readers. Time will tell how they fare.

Finally, Mike Elgan of Computerworld has a super-awesome article on e-books. I highly, highly suggest you read it. Twice. He mentions Amazon's new version of the Kindle (big news by itself), but I think the bigger news is the e-book revolution. I'll delve into it a bit here and give my own opinions on his points.

First, he talks about the economy. Last year, book publisher TOR released a decent number of titles in PDF format for free. Ironically, I've seen an increase in free books and free samples lately (both inside and outside of the book industry). This leads me to believe that indeed, readers are looking to cut costs. I've seen (and practiced) this mostly with libraries. But I could see people buying an e-book reader to save money in the long term. e-books in any format are cheaper for the reader.

Second, Elgan talks to the environment. I can see the point, but find it hard to say that printed books are a serious environmental hazard. Sure, cutting down trees and the plants that make paper out of them and the presses that print on the paper could use some tuning up. But rarely do I see a person shell out twenty-five dollars on a new hardback only to throw it away a few months later.

The publishing revolution, now that I'm seeing a heavy dose of. Not many publishers are doing well enough to ignore an opportunity to cut costs. Shipping reviewers, editors, and printers a PDF version of the book is much easier than a printed version. And think of the money that could be saved with the ARCs/Galleys! In fact, netGalley is taking this part to task and doing well from what I see.

Aggressive e-book marketing it a bit of hit or miss with me. I see little aggressiveness, but I do see marketing. I think if Sony or Amazon dropped the price of their readers, we'd see more conversions with customer and even more marketing. Which leads me to believe that whichever publisher pushes this wave hard could end up on top.

Availability of e-books is certainly growing. Books in PDF, Word, RTF, and various other formats are available out there now. You can download full novels, read books online, read sample chapters, and even read draft versions. And I think those freebies are great marketing levers. It's the mainstream titles that are cropping up on Kindle and Sony Reader sites that are starting to draw more attention. In fact, I'd guess that nearly every mainstream title and author carried by major publishers is or will be available in some form of e-book format.

The death of newsprint is hard for me to swallow. I think part of me never expects the newspapers to die off. After all, they've been around for decades. And make for great research tools. But having something in your hand as you read the news is comforting to me. Getting my news via RSS feeds or Wikipedia or my Wii just doesn't quite feel right. I think time will tell on this one. And our newspapers of the future may be nothing more than a piece of plastic that's a touch screen that gives us all the news we sign up for and nothing more.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Reading Update and Preview

I thought I'd take a minute to give everyone a quick update on where I was with my reading. And a bit of a preview of things to come.

Island in the Sea of Time by S. M. Stirling - I'm nearly halfway through this re-read. Technically I'm listening to the audio version, but I've read the book at least twice. It's still entertaining, but I'm starting to draw some interesting parallels between this book and the newer series.

Mistborn by Brian Sanderson - Page 606. Which means I'm nearly done. I'd finish it tonight, but it's an e-book and I prefer not to read with a heavy laptop sitting on my chest. It's taken a fair bit of effort to get this far but I'll tell you more in my review.

The Bible - Yes, I'm reading the Bible. I'll regale you with all my thoughts and impressions when I finish it. But don't hold your breath, I'm only in Kings 1.

Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb - Page 182. Making steady progress. No thoughts or theories at the moment, but I'm still entertained so that's good.

A Midwife's Tale by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich - Page 87. A hugely educational book so far and I've barely cracked the surface of it.

Survive! by Les Stroud - Page 52. Another educational title, but on a totally different level. Again it's still early, but I think I'll learn a lot.

What should you expect this month? Well, I'll continue with the Combat and Survival theme every Monday. Consider it a military Monday if you'd like. That should last through mid-year before I pick up another series.

I also have some new titles around evolution that I'll cover next week (fingers crossed) and a ton of ideas for the coming months. Most of those ideas center on the poll over there on the right, so if you haven't voted yet, please do. I also have a list of about fifteen books I'll be checking out to read. Which will mean a review for each book. So stay tuned for more from Library Dad!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Combat and Survival - Volume 6

Title: Combat and Survival (Volume 6)
Author: H. S. Stuttman, Inc. Publishers
Illustrator: N/A
Pages: 60
Genre: Non-Fiction
Dewey Decimal: 355.5 Com
ISBN: 0-87475-560-3
Cost: $0

You can't get much more classic than the Colt .45 handgun. But I get a kick out of the "how-to" section on being a sniper and moving as a unit and as an individual and one of the points they tell you is to cover up your watch. Guess the guy on the cover missed that part.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Gnu News Report

We know the economy is bad and could be getting worse. While our governmental representatives work on a plan to fix this, many people are heading to libraries to save money. They can check-out books or movies, use computers, and even get help on a resume all for free. Of the changes, some are interesting, such as the number of trips by patrons is going down, but the number of books checked out is rising. Some libraries are even reporting that patrons are waiting in line outside for the library to open. In contrast to this is news that some libraries are losing funding and cutting jobs.

Could Elaine have discovered the next big genre in spec fic? I'm not sure, but I think I'll be avoiding it either way.

While the Dabel Brothers are making news again for their graphic adaptation of the Wheel of Time series, they hit closer to home with me for their work on Warriors.

The "Ethics of Sully" could have caused a woman to return her library book after seven years.

Some kids in New Jersey are sending Sasha and Malia Obama some books for the White House library.

The Glendale Public Library will have a large book sale on February 21st.

And that leaves author Jim C. Hines talking about piracy and the free e-book of his pal C. C. Finlay's novel, The Patriot Witch (you can right-click and save as).

Thursday, February 5, 2009

News from around the web

As previously reported, Harlequin is giving away e-book versions of sixteen titles. Freebies always sound romantic.

China Melville, a popular sci-fi author has a new book due out in June 2009. It's called The City & The City. Sounds duplicitous.

While my knowledge of Jane Austen's world is limited to keeping Little Women* in the freezer, Laurie Viera Rigler has added a twist. She will regale us with her sophomoric visit to the world of Austen in June 2009 with Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict. *Yes, I know Austen didn't write Little Women.

My favorite football team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, may be courting book deals after their recent SuperBowl win. This isn't terribly surprising. After all, they are the only franchise to win six SuperBowl titles.

The National Museum of the American Indian has begun to put their collection online. Simply go to their main page and click on "Search" to access their collection. They're reportedly planning on putting the entire collection online over the next four years.

President Obama saw a slight jump in sales of his books in January. Dreams of My Father doubled sales during inauguration week by clearing 48,000 units. Just a slight increase.

We've been getting a lot of buzz recently about e-books, but we now have video books. I'm thinking (and hoping) this movement will fail. Utterly.

Reader's Digest applies the theory of less is more to its workforce. They're cutting 8% (under 300 people). And heads roll at Borders as well. Maybe the new CEO can get the ship afloat again.
And for those from Canada that don't already know, the BookExpo Canada has been shut down. This is something that's been brewing for weeks now. But on the flip side, Reed Exhibitions, the company behind it (and the New York Comic Con), is launching a Chicago Comic Con.

In much sadder news, illustrator Blair Lent passed away. I remember him for Tikki Tikki Tembo.

Back to e-books for a minute. Adobe, the king of all things PDF, has kicked Follett to the curb. And Sony will be releasing it's reader in Germany in March.

Then we have the President reading to some second-graders. But take note of the library in the background.

And the best library news of late? Captain Chelsey "Sully" Sullenberger, pilot of the plane that crashed in the Hudson River, appears to have lost his library book in the crash. The library is waiving the fees and replacing the book. The book, reportedly on professional ethics, has not been identified yet. While it appears the title won't be released anytime soon, I'd guess it will eventually be leaked and there will be a jump in sales.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A good source of free books

In no particular order, here is a list of sites and blogs that often offer free books. They may not be offering something today, but bookmark them for later.
I know this is a supremely short list, but it's a start!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The First Month

With any debut, be it book, blog, or album, the creator has butterflies about how widespread their work of art will be accepted. And since I tend to come up with some pretty half-baked creations, I'm very pleased with the reception Library Dad has received over the past month. And while I would love to see more traffic here, I'm very happy with what I have.

So here's a bit of a summary of what Library Dad has seen so far.

  • Visits: 420
  • Top Search Terms: review "island in the sea of time -wikipedia, library dad, and alexander cipher
  • Money Spent: $4.59
  • Top Visiting States/Countries: California, Virginia, New York, United Kingdom, and Canada
Big thanks to my mom, Fantasy Debut, and Words and Stuff for their support.

The poll went better than expected as well with twelve votes. The clear winner was Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb pulling in six votes. Second place went to A Midwife's Tale by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich and third was Allegiance by Timothy Zahn. While The Scourge of God only pulled down one vote, I've already read it so I don't feel too bad.

You should see a new poll up, so take a moment to go vote on it. In the meantime, I've already started reading Royal Assassin and A Midwife's Tale.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Combat and Survival - Volume 5

Title: Combat and Survival (Volume 5)
Author: H. S. Stuttman, Inc. Publishers
Illustrator: N/A
Pages: 60
Genre: Non-Fiction
Dewey Decimal: 355.5 Com
ISBN: 0-87475-560-3
Cost: $0

This series keeps on going like that pink bunny on television. This volume, like the others, covers everything from military equipment to weapons to tactics. And of course there are the personal accounts of war from Vietnam, Afghanistan, Germany, and many other places that help put things into perspective. My favorite though, how to defend yourself and how to make a harness for rappelling with a piece of rope.