Posts in the category "Books".

I love reading, especially reading horror books, and most of all, reading Stephen King. Even though I don’t review books (love is blind), I might write something about them.

Good book + short chapters = bad combination

Whenever I read (except on-the-go) I try and stop between chapters or, if there are no chapters, at some sort of distinctive gap between the paragraphs. Even when I’m reading on-the-go I take care to finish the paragraph I’m reading — or even better, the page.

Last night I wasn’t feeling very tired around 11 pm so I decided to read the book I currently carry in my handbag: The Traveller by John Twelve Hawks. It’s a really really good book (at least so far); and it has short chapters. Whenever I finished a chapter I flipped forward to see where the next one ended. “Only 4 pages, I can read that!” I just couldn’t stop. Luckily this was a work night because otherwise I could’ve — and would’ve — kept reading.

I just read that The Traveller is the first book in a trilogy. Wonderful! I’ve been a little worried about what to read next because I’ve read all of King’s published novels (except Duma Key that was published yesterday; it’ll take 2-3 days for it to reach Finland, I hear) and I haven’t found a new author whose books to read obsessively. I wrote to the library suggesting they should purchase a copy of the next JXIIH book, The Dark River. It was published last summer but still isn’t in the collection!

This John Twelve Hawks is quite interesting, actually. I’ve never read books by an author who keeps their identity secret. (I read Richard Bachman books after I had learned he’s Stephen King.)

N73 in Use: Mobile books

I try to read as much as I can and I like to carry a book with me wherever I go. When I’m close to finishing one book, I start carrying two books with me which sometimes makes my handbag quite heavy…

Luckily, I stumbled across eBook readers for mobile phones. I’m currently using Mobipocket Reader. At for example Manybooks you can download several different formats — one of which is the Mobipocket Reader format. It’s also really easy to convert text files, HTML files or Word documents into eBooks with Mobipocket Creator.

Let’s pick a book at Project Gutenberg and convert it to Mobipocket.

Pick a book at Project Gutenberg

I’ll pick the HTML format even though plain text would do. HTML format contains tagging for headers and things which can be used in formatting the text in eBook.

Let’s pick the HTML format

After opening Mobipocket Creator, I choose to create a new blank publication. This way it’s easy to pick the title and I can combine several files if I want.

Enter the title and browser for output folder

Now I need to choose the files to include in the publication. I drag and drop the HTML file I just downloaded from Project Gutenberg.

For demonstration’s sake I’ll pick up an image to be used as the cover image. I’ll drag and drop this image into the Cover Image window.

Drag and drop a cover image

As far as I know, the image doesn’t show in the mobile application. Instead, it’ll show up in the Mobipocket Reader’s library.

Finally, I click the build icon and the Build button.


Then I open the Mobipocket Reader and send my newly created eBook to my mobile.

Send to phone

The resulting eBook from this HTML looks like this:

The eBook on my mobile

In Mobipocket reader there are several settings. For example, if I read just before going to sleep, I change the background to black and the text to yellow. Last night I tried out teal text on black which was quite good. On the bus it’s usually best to read black on white. The font size and font type are also adjustable, as well as justified text or unjustified. There are options to add highlights, bookmarks and notes to the text as well as create hyperlinks.

What I miss is a way to check the total number of pages. There is a meter at the bottom of the screen to show how far you are in the book but it’s difficult to really make out how much there is left. Maybe it’s just me, I like to look at the number on the last page no matter how interesting the book is.

eBook experience

The library website for our capital city area started offering eBooks in July this year. The collection is still quite small and seems to include only non-fiction books at the moment.

I like the idea though. Of course, I wouldn’t read a 400-500-page Stephen King on the computer screen but for example the CSS guide I test-borrowed works better than well as an eBook. (It is a silly beginner’s book but I just wanted to glance through it quickly.)

A downside is that there (currently) is no way to book an eBook (ha ha). The loan periods are 1 day and 7 days (I think I saw 3 days, too) and you see how long a loan lasts, but because the book can be returned before the loan period is over there is no way to anticipate when a book might be available. And often someone snatches it first. That happened with the CSS book. Every time I went to check, the book was loaned for 5 more days or 2 more days. With books that have more than one copy available this isn’t much of a problem.

Can’t complain though, don’t really have a reason to either, because it’s all completely free (except for the electricity) and very convenient.

The only way is up

In senior high (or 10th grade) we got a 3-year assignment to write down and review with a point system of our choice every book we read. This was probably a sub-assignment to reading ten Finnish classics.

My memory in these sort of things (what I’ve read, what movie I’ve seen, what did that character say in that series, what did I do yesterday, what did I just say…) is infamously bad and because I like reading, I took liking to this routine. So, since 1998 I’ve written down every book I’ve read except for the books I read for school (unless we’ve had to read them cover-to-cover and only when I’ve remembered to write them down…).

The most embarrassing year was 2001 when I only read four books. I did have my finals, entrance exam to University, and my first year of Uni then so I guess I can forgive myself. In 2003 and 2004 I read twenty-seven books which I haven’t been able to top yet. I guess that was thanks to my half an hour bus ride to/from work. Last year I read only thirteen books which was kind of embarrassing (after the twenty-seven of previous years, at least!) but yesterday as I finished reading Lynne Truss’s Eats, Shoots & Leaves: Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation I reached thirteen. It is not humanly possible that I don’t finish a single book in the remainder of the year so — luckily — from now on the only way is up!

Money come, money go

I want all X-Files season boxes so I tried to look for them. As it happens, someone had just placed an ad on a Finnish forum selling boxes 1 to 9, either all or the ones you want (I just calculated that if I buy 7 of them, it would cost almost as much as if I buy all of them but what would I do with double boxes — let him make more money :) ). Also, I may even know the person who’s selling them! Let’s hope someone hasn’t already bought them…

Then I remembered, “oh, Storm of the Century has been made into a book too” (it’s originally a miniseries). So I looked for it at the two bookstores I always buy/order from. I ordered it. As I was going through the trouble anyway, I decided to order another book (Different Seasons) which hopefully is from the correct series. I also looked for yet another book, Regulators, but decided to order it from the other bookstore because the cover is (hopefully) nicer-looking.

Today I also found nice “slippers” for work. I saw walking-shoes (or “pumps”?) I liked but they had only sizes 4 and 5,5 and I would’ve needed something in between. (My shoes are usually size 5.) Oh well, I’ll keep looking despite the fact I’ve looked and looked and looked everywhere. I also bought Cujo (Stephen King movie) and Forrest Gump. I already had Forrest Gump on VHS but it was a 2 for 20 campaign so I’m going to give the VHS to my grandparents.

Hmm, I didn’t write about the “money come” part. No, I haven’t received a raise but now that I think about it, our payday was on Wednesday.

Luck in King-size chunks

Today I met up with a friend for coffee and because we were in a bookstore I wanted to pop by the shelves with books by a certain author… There was nothing new in the paperbacks but when I went to the hardcover section I found an Illustrated Edition of ‘Salem’s Lot! I already have the story in paperback but I couldn’t not buy it and leave it there for all kinds of people with their filthy hands. It’s so pretty! Just look at it!

Invigorated by this I — just a moment ago — ordered On Writing and Tommyknockers. On Writing will hopefully be from the correct series (NEL).

But why oh why am I buying books just after returning 3 months’ worth of student allowance? To cheer myself up?

Nothing really

I thought I’d post for a change even though I don’t have anything special to say.

It’s freezing here and I’m yawning/dislocating my jaws. It was warm (10 celsius) up till the end of last week then came a storm that sounded like a bunch of kids in a rollercoaster and the past few days have been a few degrees below zero. I’m thinking of hooking up my extra radiator.
This week I’ve also been awfully tired for some reason (no, X-Files isn’t on later than usual). The other day, Monday or Tuesday, I overslept but luckily Mum noticed I wasn’t at the breakfast table and came to wake me up.

Yesterday I ordered Colorado Kid and Blood & Smoke (audio book), by Stephen King of course– a little pre-Xmas present for yours truly.

I borrowed Dolores Claiborne (S.K. movie) DVD from a colleague. He’s quite a movie buff. I told him I’d list my puny DVD collection if there’s anything he doesn’t have already, but I’m pretty sure I can’t offer anything in return.

I figured out what I’m going to buy my godson for Xmas: a subscription of Bionicle magazine. It wasn’t available for order at the publisher’s website but I sent them a query.

I’m still trying to figure out what I’d ask Grandma and Grandpa for Christmas… I’m such book-picky but I’ll give them a list of King books I don’t have and a picture of the series I’m collecting and hope for the best. It’s really not such a big deal if the books aren’t from the same series, but it’d be so nice if they were! Well, I’ve already bought mismatching books so it’s really not big a deal. As long as the book is not ugly I’m happy. I once went to exchange a book I had bought the day before because I found a prettier one (correct series!) in another bookstore. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone! I did buy a new book during the exchange, of course.

Oh yeah, I promised to write something about Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy… I’ve forgotten everything I meant to write! I finished my 2nd round the day before yesterday. Next time I have to try and play badly to see what will happen. Anyway, like Kory said, it’s like an adventure game / interactive movie. Sometimes you need to be quite quick in deciding what you want to do (what to say to people etc.). Every once in a while there is an action sequence and depending on how well you do, you may for example avoid cars trying to run you over or find out something new about the story. I haven’t yet tried what happens in certain situations (where you can’t die if you do badly!) if you fail the sequences on purpose. You can decide what you want to do or not do and the story, naturally, changes every time you do things differently.

There is some humour in the game as well. Especially with one of the “cops”, Tyler Miles. His facial expressions are excellent! The main character looks annoyingly and disturbingly familiar but I can’t figure out who he reminds me of. I’ll try and dig up a good picture (maybe take a screen shot).

The soundtrack is wonderful and the graphics are very beautiful, especially during the fights (as far as I can tell, I’m too busy at staring at the Action sequence indicator). I love the Matrix-y moves the main character does. Refreshing change: a game I can, and have the patience/time/endurance to, finish! It is very short; I played it in a Saturday (12 hours minus distractions). Regardless, I recommend it. You US people get a censored version of it (called Indigo Prophecy), in Europe we have Fahrenheit, which includes some nudity. You’re not missing anything with the censored version; in my opinion the sex scenes were unnecessary. But that’s just me.

I think I made it appear

I queried about Colorado Kid (newest by Stephen King – what else) from a bookstore. I had searched for it high and low of course, but it was nowhere to be found. Well, they responded that the book can be ordered, and included an ISBN. So I go to the bookstore website and search for Colorado Kid, and there it is! Last on the list. It wasn’t there the day before, I swear.

Books for fun at last

Today I finally had the exam that fell through the last time. I had time to read the books a second time yesterday (and the day before) which I really needed. I think it went well. There were 10 questions and I had to pick 6, so I could leave out the ones that I couldn’t think of anything to write about.

During the exam I had got a text message telling that my book order (Bachman Books) had arrived and I thought damn, just the day when I decided to leave my credit card at home (just to be sure because in the exam you weren’t allowed to take your things with you). Luckily, I had taken some money so I could scrape up enough and got to bring the book home. It’s so pretty! :)

And just after hearing the news about the book, this happened. What a day.

Hey big spender

I jafered mildly today. I bought 3 King books: Desperation, Insomnia, and Misery. I grimaced and left Cujo, Carrie, Cycle of the Werewolf, Tommyknockers, Hearts in Atlantis, and Skeleton Crew behind, possibly Four Past Midnight too (plus several Bachmans but I couldn’t remember which are bound together in the Bachman Books). I also found a game (Contract Jack), and boring things like shampoo.

to jafer — to shop a lot (a benevolent coinage [no pun intended])

[edit: May 7, 2005] Well, that was a short game. It didn’t take me even 2 days to finish (and that wasn’t 24/7 playing). I’m very disappointed. I hope Farscape comes soon from the game club — and that it works on my computer. I may need to uninstall a “few” games. [/edit]