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The Great Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages. I know why this made it on my list of books I wanted to read, but I'm not quite sure how I found out about it. It's a children's book about kids growing up in Los Alamos during WWII. It was enjoyable.

Accelerando by Charles Stross. I've been working on this one on my phone for six months or so, and finally got through it. I probably would have got through it faster on paper. Phone is terribly convenient, but a touch awkward. I kinda want to go back through and read it again to see if I can put the threads together better the second time through... but with the first read taking that long, I don't think so. At least not immediately.

Stross is strongly influenced by Vernor Vinge, and aspects of this book were strongly reminiscent of Vinge's Rainbow's End, which was released later. Which raises the question in my mind... was there recursive influence? I also want to go back and read Vinge's A Fire Upon The Deep now, as I have a feeling I'd have a better grasp of it now (kind of like how I understood it better after discovering newsgroups and learning to read headers).

Accelerando has been released for free electronically, and it's available at http://www.accelerando.org/book/.

Huh, I mentioned that I was reading a Charles Stross short story collection last month, but didn't write it down here. Apparently I got distracted by other books, and stuck it back on the bookshelf thinking I'd finished it, but looking at it now I don't think I did. Oops. Guess that will be on next month's list.

The Guy Not Taken by Jennifer Weiner. A collection of short stories. She writes good mommy lit. And good other stuff, too.

Darwin's Radio and Darwin's Children by Greg Bear. The first had been on my "to read" list for a while, and was compelling enough that I immediately read the second. I had a hard time overlooking some of the biological issues that made no sense to me (how exactly are male "new" children born?), but enjoyed them overall.

The Protector's War by S.M. Stirling. Ok, I'm cheating on this one. I actually finished it today. But this was my second attempt at it, and I've been struggling to get through it the whole month, and it would be an awful shame if I got through it and then forgot to do this next month, right? Besides, if this were a normal month, it would have been under the deadline. Anyways, I really enjoyed the first book in the series (Dies The Fire, an alternate history where most modern technology suddenly stops working). This was set 7 years after that one. I did enjoy it well enough this time, once the English people got out of England. That was the part I was getting stuck on before. Sorry, English people, but your post-technology country is rather boring. Even the hippos.

Previous month
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I decided to keep track of the books I read this year, because I always enjoy reading other people's lists.

Between school, kids, and other distractions (um, Internet), my list is kinda pathetic. I used to read a lot. In fourth grade, I set the record for number of books read in a year. And now I'm down to a handful a month. I suspect future months will be increasingly pathetic, as I had more free time for reading before school started up again. But anyways...

(By the way, any book that makes it onto this list is not-horrible in my opinion, as I don't remember the last time I actually finished a book I considered horrible.)
Books read in January 2008 )
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Someone stole my bike out of the yard sometime over the past few days. How irritating. At least they took the normal bike, not the recumbant and trailer. The most irritating thing is that it had my decent lock (which wasn't in use - I'd intended to put it back on the other bike but forgot) and expensive seat on it.

I'm half hoping I'll find it abandoned somewhere nearby. It's a 3 speed (and I'm pretty sure two of the speeds don't actually work) with coaster breaks, and I can imagine someone discovering what a pain it is and just dropping it.

I shouldn't have gotten another book at the library today. Now I want to read it, even though I'm in the middle of three others. One of those (The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini) was a Christmas present, and it's just a little too depressing to be top priority. Two are library books that are due in a week or two. Of the library books, one (Waifs and Strays by Charles de Lint) is a bunch of short stories that should go pretty fast once I start reading it again, and the other (The Protector's War by S.M. Stirling) is one I want to read in theory - it's the second in a series, and I enjoyed the first book, but I'm having a hard time getting into it. I'm hoping it will get easier once I get past the first chapter and back to familiar characters. The new one (Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner) is brain candy mommyfic that I know I'll enjoy and get through within a day or two. I feel bad shoving it to the head of the queue, though. Especially since it isn't due for three weeks.

I suppose I'll keep plodding on The Protector's War for another chapter or two, and switch if it doesn't get better.

I think Leif is sick. I just asked him if he wanted to go out to the toy store and for ice cream, and he said no.
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I have a question that may well be unique in all of human history.

What the heck do you do when your husband offers to take a bestselling author dumpster diving (and expects you to come along), and said author is likely to actually take him up on it?
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Ooh! Ooh! Ooh!

There's a Kim Stanley Robinson book signing in Davis on Dec. 3rd! I get to fangirl!

This entry is as much a reminder to me as anything.
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Man, what a day. I just managed to flood the bathroom with the washing machine.

On the good side, Leif seems to be doing better. This means he's running all over trying to color on everything.

I'm indulging my inner 10 year old by reading the American Girls catalog I got in the mail yesterday.
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Leif is out of the house for at least the next three hours, regardless of whether I get called in for the doula thing or not.

I can:

A. Clean
B. Take a load to the consignment store
C. Go to Borders, get a drink, sit in a comfy chair and read a book ALL BY MYSELF!

If I knew I had the next three hours free, I'd do A and B first, but I could be called in at any time. I should be good, but it's soooo tempting. This feels like a once in a lifetime opportunity.

I think minor cleaning and then Borders is going to win.
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My aunt Barbara died five years ago. She was a relatively prominent archaeologist (in New England, anyways), focusing on the Native American tribes in New England.

I'm reading Island in the Sea of Time by S.M. Stirling, and when the Native Americans came on the scene, I had to put the book down for a while. I'd known the basic premise of the book (the island of Nantucket gets transported back in time 3000 years), but hadn't made the connection before.

I wonder if she read it - it came out in 1998, so it's quite possible. I wish she were around so I could ask her what she thought of it. If the Native Americans are historically accurate, it's almost certainly based on her research, though neither her nor her department at UMass is mentioned in the acknowledgments.


Jul. 15th, 2005 03:18 pm
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Want to use this banner?

I'm not sure how fast I'll be able to read it. Perhaps I'll be done by this time tomorrow, perhaps I won't finish it for a week.


Jun. 21st, 2004 11:44 pm
ocelot: (buffy)
I realize it's very self-centered, but hearing about SpaceShip One is somewhat bittersweet for me.

We were almost there.

Before the AOL offer came up, our main plan was to move to Mojave. Cheap housing prices in an area that was about to take off (Literally!). The weather leaves something to be desired, but probably no moreso than here.

Now the takeoff happened, and the housing prices aren't particularly low anymore.

It may still happen, but not as easily.

The part that really gets me is that, if we were moving away from VA a little more than a week earlier than we are, we'd have been able to go to the takeoff today. My mom's, where we'll be visiting, is an hour and a half away.

I don't really regret that we moved here. There's a lot we could have probably handled better (getting rid of more stuff before moving, buying less stuff here, and so on), but the move itself wasn't really a bad choice. It's too bad, for example, that we didn't buy some sort of condo/house/land, either here or in Mojave. Either way, the prices have gone up enough that we'd have come out ahead.

The Firestar series by Michael Flynn is a pretty good SF series about the rise of commercialized spaceflight.

We may perhaps be going to the new Air&Space Smithsonian tomorrow with Christof's grandparents and Leif's cousin, depending on timing. That would be appropriate. I hope we can make it, as that's one of the things we'd like to do before we leave.
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Saw PoA today. I think [livejournal.com profile] koyote liked it better than I did. Not that I didn't like it, but he hasn't read the books, so it's entirely brand new to him.

Prisoner of Azkaban seems to be the key book (and movie, apparently) for many people, the one that hooks them. It was for me. I read the first book, and found it somewhat banal. I gave the second book a shot just to give the series a fair chance, but didn't like it much better. Some time later, a friend told me that I had to read the third book, and that I'd like the series after I read it. He was right.

It was fun watching the movie from [livejournal.com profile] tarie's perspective. I could care less about who is in love with who, but it's fun to watch from that perspective.

We had a discussion afterwards which somehow led to the discussion of Snape/McGonagall. Ew.

I have PoA in Spanish, and need to get around to reading it. I guess it just depresses me that I can't read anywhere near fluently at a fourth grade level in Spanish, and it's too time consuming when I have to look up every other word. I did eventually find that if I just read without looking stuff up, I could get the general gist of what was happening, but not enough to really get into it.

I dreamed last night about going back to high school and trying to decide which level of Spanish I should take, since I got up to fourth year but didn't really learn much of anything past second (not to mention the fact that I haven't done any serious Spanish study since high school). I also took AP Chemistry with Mr. Price (excuse me, Dr. Price). Then we (no clue who was with me, though I think my brother might have been) got caught breaking into [livejournal.com profile] bongo3045's house, and were locked in by The Evil Stepmother. I have no clue who she was, either, or why we were breaking in. She forgot to lock the back door, though, so we escaped after she left for the day.

I'm sure you all really cared about that.

Anyways, back to PoA. This was the first movie that [livejournal.com profile] koyote and I have seen alone since Leif was born, and the first movie I've seen in a theater since RotK. [livejournal.com profile] silkensteel babysat, and he apparently did ok. This always surprises me, since he doesn't spend much time away from us, and tends to throw a fit when one or the other of us leaves.

We're getting rid of books (in addition to other things) in preparation for moving. This is hard, since I know that there are some I'm going to want to read again, and some that I'll eventually end up buying over again. But it's not worth it to move them across country and store them.

We sold the Ikea chairs the other day. I asked too little for them because I listed them when I was too tired to think straight. For some reason this really bugs me more than if we'd actually paid for them, rather than "just" sitting in the rainy cold for 8 hours in the middle of the night while 8.5 months pregnant.

I'm curious how much stuff we'll have when we get down to the stuff that we really want to keep.

Why am I still awake? Leif slept like crap last night, and I slept even worse. I felt like I was awake the whole night, though obviously I slept enough to have that idiotic dream. I'm getting to sleep too late in general. It's just that night is the only time that I have to myself, so I tend to drag it out.
ocelot: (spacerobots)
So tired. This is almost entirely my fault. I started the Left Behind series a week or so ago. I was right at the end of book 6 last night, and stayed up too till 1:00 AM finishing it. This is bad when you have a baby who is generally awake by 7:30.

I've always had a fascination with Revelations, which presumably is related to my fascination with disaster/apocalypse literature in general. Perhaps it's even the source of this fascination. Either way, I spent a lot of time in church as a kid reading Revelations, and not because I went to a particularly end-times centered church. I just found it more interesting than any of the other available distractions.

In any case, when the books first came out, I decided that I was going to wait until they were all released before giving it a shot. Now they've all been released (Not counting the spin-offs, which will presumably continue to be released until the Rapture really does occur and all of Tyndale Press is taken away to heaven), so I did.

They're not great literature, but absorbing and fun. Quick reads - I've gotten through 6.5 of them in a week or so, and I don't have all that much time to spend reading. It usually takes me ages to finish a book these days.

They do provide a view of Christianity that, for all that I grew up immersed in various forms of Christianity, I was never really exposed to. I find the idea that a non-Christian would convert to Christianity through reading these books kind of implausible - the books focus on God providing proof that he exists through events that have not happened in real life. I can, however, understand someone from a more mainstream denomination becoming evangelical after reading them.

One of the news magazines currently has an article about the books. I thought it was Newsweek, but can't see anything about it on the website. Anyone know which one it is?

I have a box of old notebooks full of freewriting from high school/college, combined with random schoolwork that I'm throwing away.

I used to have three file boxes full of this stuff. I got rid of all but one box when we moved last year, primarily by weeding out the majority of the non-literary schoolwork.

I decided today that I'm never actually going to use any of this stuff for anything except reminiscing. I'm not sure it's worth shipping it back and forth across the country an indeterminate number of times just for that.

A lot of it I can't read. It's too painful. Interpret "painful" whatever way you want, and you'll be right.

The random snippets of fiction are interesting, though. In many ways, I feel like I was a better writer back then than I am now. I found one bit that I don't remember writing at all - a feud between a six year old boy and his female cousin who suddenly decide they can't play together due to cooties. The boy is named Allen.

The next page is a letter to an internet friend, also named Allen. Obviously not a coincidence, but I don't remember having any particular feelings for this person beyond friendship. Was it just a convenient boy's name, or am I not remembering something?

I'm afraid I'll regret throwing them away. Who says that in 15 years I won't want to remember exactly how it felt to be in high school? I already see the past with glasses that are, if not rose, at least slightly pink.

On the other hand, I really don't want anyone else ever reading my angstbunny writing. I sound completely bugnuts in most of it.

Perhaps I'll go through and sort out some of the less embarrasing stuff. I am keeping the notebooks I wrote in when I was actively journaling (as opposed to freewriting to pass time in class) during middle school - they're small and generally more sane. The Aristocat stuff too, though I can't find it with a quick glance through the box, which worries me a little, since it isn't exactly a big box.

Leif has figured out how to open the screen door on his own. He just ("just" meaning two hours ago, when I actually wrote this post...) crawled outside and is now sitting on the porch. He's fenced in by the pouring rain, at least (not that he's unsupervised, but it makes it easier when he doesn't actually want to leave the porch).

He just fell over backwards into a puddle of water on the grass. He was a little shocked to suddenly be soaking, but wouldn't let me bring him back inside.
ocelot: (leif)
You know your baby is a geek when saying "Muad'Dib" to him makes him crack up.
ocelot: (leif)
I just went geocaching! At 11:00PM! Yay!

We recently sold our old GPS (since we sold the visor that it went along with) and bought one that a friend was selling, which reminded me that geocaching existed. I was poking around on geocaching.com and discovered there was a moving cache in the parking lot a block away from our house.

Since it might move before morning, I decided to go find it right then and there.

Unfortunately, someone had already found it and moved it. The site just hadn't updated yet. Oh well. Finding the cache was kind of beside the point - I can't remember the last time I walked around alone at night, at least when it was warm enough to wear short sleeves.

We have a cat problem. We leave the door of the bedroom open so that we can hear Leif or he can come find us if he wakes up. This means the cats can come in. Jenna is currently curled up next to his head.

We tried to go to a meetup in Falls Church today, which ended up being a bust. For some reason, it was in this used bookstore, which was a great used bookstore, but a very poor place for people to meet, since it was jam packed with books. Not that we actually saw anyone who looked like they were doing anything other than buying books.

It was fun, though. They were having a half price sale (oooh, dangerous), and I stumbled across a book I've been looking for but couldn't find since I didn't know the title or author.

We also went to a rather creepy thrift shop. I was hoping to find some clothing for Leif, but there was nothing even halfway decent. Everything looked at least 20 years old. You'd think that thrift shops would be flooded with tons of decent baby clothing, since they grow out of it so fast, but they aren't. I guess the nice stuff gets ebayed or grabbed up right away.

The whole shop was creepy, though, not just the baby clothing section. I'm not sure what it was, but it wasn't helped by the salespeople suddenly shoving everyone out the door five minutes after we got there.

For my last birthday, my mom and stepdad gave me a gift certificate to an Indian restaurant. As luck would have it, it was just down the street from the bookstore, so we went there for dinner. Great food, but Leif was awful. Not really his fault - he hadn't had a good nap or eat in a while (he gets too distracted to nurse in public now unless he's very tired or very hungry). We ended up taking turns walking him around.

Then we went to Baskin Robbins, where he ate a whole banana. How the heck does a baby fit a whole banana in his stomach?

He slept the whole way home on the bus, and then I went geocaching.
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I posted sometime back before Leif was born about a mailing list friend who was also pregnant whose baby had died. She got pregnant again, and they discovered that this time, there is an umbilical cord abnormality (Only one artery. There are normally two. This happens sometimes, and doesn't necessarily mean anything bad, though it can cause some problems or be a symptom of chromosomal problems). She was scheduled for an more in-depth ultrasound on Tuesday, and we haven't received an update yet. I'm worried.

We made Leif a little bed on the floor, so that he'd have somewhere to sleep when we aren't in bed with him. Our bed is high, and it's too easy for him to fall. The first night we tried it, he woke up after about half an hour and refused to be put down the rest of the night. That was the start of his cold. Now that he's doing better, we tried again. He did pretty well tonight, staying asleep for about 2.5 hours, and then going back to sleep quickly when I came in. It's entirely possible he wouldn't have really woken up at all if I hadn't come in when he was wiggling around but not quite awake.

I just switched web browsers, from Camino to FireFox, after noticing that it seemed faster and is less buggy. I managed to get my bookmarks imported after a bit of trouble, but now they're set up better than they were before. Yay! Such excitement!

I need to upload a bunch of pictures. It's one of those things where the more behind I get, the less I feel like doing it because there's more to do.

Tomorrow we have to go back to Barnes&Noble so that I can finish What Janie Found by Caroline Cooney. I read the first book in the series (The Face on the Milkcarton) when I was in... gad, 6th grade or something. I decided I might as well go ahead and read it since I've read the others, and I needed something quick and brain-dead. I finished about half.

My life must be boring you all to death. Why am I even bothering to write this?
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The weather has been so lovely the past few days. San Diego weather - in the mid 60's, possibly low 70's. If the weather stayed like this all the time, I think I'd love it here, even if the drivers are insane.

I find it amazing that a baby with three sets of chromosomes can survive past birth. Not long (from what I've read, 4 months is the longest), but still...

Sometimes I think I really need to get serious about my math and science and actually study this stuff. Genetic disorders have been my fascination for 10 years now. It's the only part of biology class in high school that I enjoyed. I read this stuff for fun.

Or I could just keep reading it for fun. Realistically, what am I going to do with a genetics degree? I should probably keep working on getting something, since some states require at least an undergrad degree for teaching homeschool. But I don't particularly feel like working in the field, just reading about it.

Yay, Leif figured out sippy cups! Until now he just chewed on the spout. Now he's figured out that if he sucks on it, water comes out.
ocelot: (Default)
Well, the mystery is basically solved. Apparently OSC goes into Barnes&Nobles all the time, and signs whatever hardcovers they have in stock. Usually, they stick a big "signed by the author" sticker on them. Since it isn't an organized signing, it would make sense that the employees wouldn't necessarily know about it.

That makes sense, but my OSC-related luck still strikes me as odd.

Heh. Apple has easy-open computer cases. You just have to pull a handle on the side.

Guess who just figured out how to open up a computer...

Need to clean house before the Mormon Grandparent-in-laws arrive after church. Thankfully, church takes a minimum of three hours. Even if they're unlucky enough to be in an 8:00 ward, I still have a while.
ocelot: (Default)
I think that whatever part of the universe is playing the Mormon Conspiracy joke on me noticed my post last night...

Today I was at Barnes&Noble, and went to the Science Fiction to see if The Crystal City, the newest book in the Alvin Maker series, had been released in paperback yet. It hadn't, but I noticed a hardcover copy of Ender's Game. I decided to grab it so that I could get it signed next time we make it to a signing.

Then I opened it, and discovered that it was already signed.

As far as we could tell, it was a real signature, not just a stamp, or printed into the book.

The employees didn't have any clue where it came from, so we just bought it. At worst, we'd have a hardcover copy of Ender's Game that some random person had scribbled in.

When we got home, we compared the signature with the signature in some other signed Orson Scott Card books. It's the same.

I've emailed to see if the man himself has any clue how it got there. I've had good luck getting responses in the past, but who knows if I will this time.

In other odd Orson Scott Card news, go to amazon.com and search for "the crystal city" (minus the quotes). The OSC book shows up as the first hit. Scroll a bit further down the page.

Perhaps it's juvenile of me, but I find the juxtaposition amusing, given his conservativeness.
ocelot: (Default)
I recently bought the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. It wasn't my first choice of sleep books, but the local bookstores seem to always be sold out of The No-Cry Sleep Solution (and it's always checked out of the library), and I wanted to get something. I've seen it recommended along with No-Cry Sleep, so I went ahead and got it when we were at the bookstore this weekend.

Reading the amazon.com reviews (I haven't had a chance to read the whole thing yet), it seems the author advocates crying it out - leaving the baby to cry in their crib until they go to sleep, regardless of how long it takes. In fact, he's apparently pretty extreme in this camp.

I don't regret getting the book. The author is a sleep researcher, and I believe that his information about sleep cycles and infant sleep needs is probably sound. From what I've read, it jives with what I've observed with Leif. But he's a sleep researcher, not an expert on children's emotional needs, and getting children to sleep well is his top priority. He does provide suggestions that don't involve crying, and admits that they work, but seems to focus mostly on the quick and dirty solution of uncontrolled crying.

Anyways, the main reason I'm writing about this is because of the lack of logic I see. The reviews spout "Many babies cry through diaper changes, do we stop changing their diapers? Do we not give them vaccinations because they don't like shots? Do we let them play with dangerous things because they cry when we take them away?" like a mantra.

If babies cry during diaper changes, we get it over with as soon as possible and comfort the baby. If you have to give them vaccinations, you comfort them during and afterwards. If you take away a dangerous toy, you generally try to distract them with something more appropriate. In all these cases, you respond to the crying in some way, teaching them that bad stuff happens, but you're their for them and can appreciate the discomfort of their situation.

This is very different than leaving a young baby to cry, for hours if necessary, until they fall asleep, even if they cry to the point of throwing up, and not even cleaning them up until after they fall asleep for fear of reinforcing the crying! This teaches the child that their parent is *not* there for them.

Furthermore, it doesn't really differentiate between protest crying and desperation crying. Crying for five minutes before falling asleep may simply be the baby saying "Waah waah, I'm tired but I don't want fun time to end." That's a similar category to changing a diaper despite crying or taking something dangerous away from the baby. Crying for hours on end, to the point of throwing up, goes beyond that.

The most disturbing part is that this isn't something the reviewers are coming up with on their own - they're basically quoting directly from the book. The author is the one perpetuating this flawed logic.

I'll write a review along these lines at some point after I've read the entire book and can provide more comment on the content beyond that.
ocelot: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] koyote got us Palms for Christmas. These things are neat. I may actually use it :) I was resistant to getting a new palm because my old visor worked just fine for reading books, which is my primary use for it. But this one plays MP3s, too.

(It would actually have been cooler a year ago, when I actually had significant amounts of time to do things like read books and listen to mp3s while out)

I may end up actually using it for a PDA, though, since it's useful and small enough that I'll actually carry it around with me.

I briefly mentioned something about fictionwise.com before I left on vacation. They sell ebooks from popular, established authors, which is cool. Most ebook sites I've seen are basically self-publishing sites. Nothing wrong with that, but it's nice being able to get ebooks of the same books I'd buy in stores through legitimate methods.

The only problem is that their book-length books (as opposed to short stories) are generally about the same price as the cheapest available dead-tree version (books available in hardcover are in the mid to high teens on fictionwise, books in mass-market paperback are $6-$8 or so. Maybe slightly less, but no more so than if they're discounted in stores). In some cases, I've seen dead-tree versions for cheaper.

This gives me very little motivation to buy from them. I know that the production and distribution costs can't be as high, and they don't advertise that they pay authors higher royalties (which I'd be ok with), so it feels like they're just trying to rip me off. At least if I buy the dead-tree version, I can sell it back to an used bookstore.

On the other hand, they sell short stories from popular authors, often for under a dollar. This is neat. It's a service that I don't think is really provided elsewhere. You can buy genre magazines or anthologies, but you can't pick and choose which stories you want. I don't feel ripped off paying for this.

Maybe I'll email and ask them about why their prices are so high. They'll probably say something about piracy, which is silly, since the piracy is going to be done regardless of distribution method - there are plenty of people out there willing to sit around and scan a dead-tree copy. Besides, their usage restrictions are a little ridiculous. I'm not allowed to share copies of the books I buy with anyone. I'm not going to be posting my collection for anyone to read, but [livejournal.com profile] koyote and I are going to share, just as we share dead-tree books we buy. It'd be silly for a married couple to buy two copies of the same dead-tree book. Why would I want to pay the same price for an ebook that only I can use? I understand that sharing an ebook is not the same thing as sharing a physical book, since I can't control how many copies are made of any copy I share with someone else, but it still seems silly.

Bah. Palm Digital Media apparently suffers from the same price inflation.

Fictionwise is working on an ebook lending library, which is just a weird concept. The ebooks expire after 7-14 days, and only one person can check out a copy of a book at a time. This seems a little odd to me.


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