January 15, 2011

Questions Answered!

I love this.  I've actually been getting questions and requests for posts lately.  I would be more than happy to make this a regular feature, so keep them coming!

Heather Kelly asks about my WEEK off of school to to the weather: "Wow--how much snow did you guys get?"

We got about five inches.  That doesn't sound like much (I remember getting that many feet in Ohio),  but it was a record-breaker here in the Atlanta area.  That's not why we were out a week, though.  It was the covering layer of ice and then the continuing sub-freezing temperatures that made the roads completely impassable.  Along, of course, with the lack of snow and ice removal infrastructure for obvious reasons.

In a similar vein, Doret asks: "Have you gotten out at all this week?"

Not really, no.  The three of us (My Lovely Bride (MLB), my daughter Harper, and I) all trekked out to the park and sledded on found objects that first day.  We also made a Totoro snow-person.  Tuesday was a complete jammies day for us all.  Wednesday the girls were getting loopy but some friends who had to work dropped off their daughters for us to watch and Harper to play with.  Thursday afternoon/evening the girls braved a two-mile drive for a playdate and Mom chat time.  Apparently the car almost went into a ditch right near the friend's driveway.  The other girl came back with Harper for an overnight.  Friday some other girls joined them as all three Moms went to lunch and I fixed lunch here, tea-party style for the gaggle of girls and their dolls.  (How many points do I get for that?)  Today we will be going out (very carefully) for groceries and a make-up Little Gym class and even a dinner date with friends.

klonghall wants to know about my new reading device: "I got a Kindle for my upcoming birthday.  I hope you'll do a post soon on what you like (and dislike) about yours."

I think it is made of awesome.  I do feel guilt because I can walk to a library and I work in a library and I have many unread books lying around the house but I love love love it.  My first initiative was to buy only kids books for it so that Harper and MLB could also read them on their iPad (thereby lessening my guilt).  But kids books are short and I was going through them pretty quick and that was adding up.  I slowed myself down with some free books and all three Mysterious Benedict Society books bundled together for the price of one.  I also decided to read the kid books on my own and every other book from my TBR pile (again, a guilt-lessening move but I find I can read a book much faster when my goal is to get back to my Kindle reading).

My current books are both non-Kindle but I keep finding excuses to read short things on it.  I use Instapaper and have found I can download the whole shebang and stuff it in my Kindle.  Sweet!  I was also reading a blog post yesterday and the author recommended the introduction of a book.  On a Kindle, Amazon lets you download a "sample" which can be pretty generous depending on the length of the title.  So I downloaded the sample and, sure enough, had the entire introduction and then some.  I now have a bunch of samples I'm working through and it's a great way to make some future reading decisions.

I also have a generous amount of free classic books downloaded "just in case" so I never run out of stuff to read.  And just because I could I paid less than $2 to download The Complete Mark Twain Collection which includes more than 300 works!  And it all always weighs only 8.5 ounces!  Which is much nicer than one of those wrist-breaking 15.8 ounce Nooks (that was a joke).

But seriously, I still love books but the Kindle is nice.  I know I'm now married to Amazon and while I've had some pointed comments about them in the past, I figure if you're going to go for and electronic reader, why not go for the absolute best reader with the best selection?  Amazon is benefitting, sure, but so are independent publishers and self-publishing authors.

Oh, and I got one of the covers that have the little lights on it.  In my opinion, Amazon should just make that part of the deal because it's amazingly great to have a book light embedded right there.

I love: the weight and size and clarity.  Having the built-in dictionary!  Never having to worry about finishing a book and not having something else to read.  Being able to know I have a handful of things in my bag without stuffing said bag full of books and magazines.  Never again having to worrying about falling asleep and having some big-assed book conk me on the head in bed.  Always opening a book to where I left off and never needing a bookmark.  And being able to bookmark important pages to go back to without having to dog-ear pages!

I wish: the screen savers were customizable, but that's no biggie.  Um, that's about it.  They seem to have thought of just about everything.

I wonder: the point of the read-aloud computer voice.  It's silly.  Although I did once come across a word I didn't know how to pronounce and used the voice to figure it out.  I don't know if the voice was right, but I went with it.

And if you are worried about the expense of buying all those ebooks, don't forget you can ask all your loved ones for Amazon/Kindle gift cards for all future gift-giving and you're set!

Kindle (Wi-Fi)

Kindle, Lighted Leather Cover, Black


klonghall said...

Thanks for answering my Q so quickly! I guess I'm not the only one to get conked in the head by a book after I've fallen asleep... (That line totally cracked me up!) I've had such fun just checking out this whole new Kindle device. I'm amazed at those screensaver pictures. Very cool, and I am easily amused. Did you see that you can lend/borrow Kindle books for 14 days from friends? I have a good friend who works for Amazon in finance, and he pointed that feature out to me.

I'll tell you what prompted me to buy it. We bought 2 new bookcases recently, and I'm shocked at how many books I've acquired in the past few years. I thought I mostly read books at the library, apparently, judging by these bookcases, that it's at least 50-50. I love the idea of being able to buy a book, but not have to find a place to keep it.
I got out by myself yesterday to go grocery shopping, and it felt wonderful to be out of the house! I'm ready for a serious thaw!

Jim Randolph said...


I can answer questions very quickly when I have absolutely nothing else to do!

I like the Kindle screensavers too, but for some reason I don't like Agatha Christie looking at me. I would prefer to pick the authors that show up, I guess. But it's no biggie because I hardly see them.

I did know about borrowing, but I'm just happy A. could download a free Kindle app on her iPad and we can share that way. (lees guilt with sharing!)

Yeah, I used to be a big used bookstore guy and would take in a big box of books to trade and come out with a grocery bag, which kept a lid on it but haven't got into that as much since Oxford's used books closed and I moved away from the fabulous Jackson St. books in Athens.

Enjoy the thawing,

madelynruth said...

Thanks for posting this reaction to the Kindle. As a writer-type person, I'm coming to the conclusion that I'll have to get one, as it's probably the only way I'll learn to explore and embrace the future (or... heck. The now.)

(Goes to look for coins in crack of couch.)

P.S. Thanks for visiting blog earlier I put up an after picture of my desk.

Sondra said...

I love snow days -- especially the kind that shuts everything down. Sounds like you Atlantans got a few years' worth. More than we've gotten in the DC area this year! (Though we had more than our share last year.) There's no better time to cozy up with a book.
As for the Kindle, my biggest peeve with them is that you can't use them to check out Library e-books.

Jim Randolph said...


Definitely had my fill of snow days in one fell swoop. As for the Kindle, I don't see that as a peeve. It would be a peeve if you expected that and they didn't deliver. I think the best way to read is to probably to be a consistent library-goer. Who can argue with free books? So if you are indeed that person, enjoy and be happy. The Kindle is not for you. I'm not the consistent library-goer so therefore love my Kindle. It's not right for everyone but that's why it's awesome we have so many choices in our ways to read.


TeacherBee said...

For the months I went back and forth on whether to get a Kindle or a Nook. I ended up getting a Nook and I really love it. Some of my students have Kindles, but I feel B&N should pay me some sort of commission for the amount of Nooks purchased by my students after I showed them mine. I love that it's another way to get the kids excited about reading. They think it's awesome they can bring their technology into the classroom, and if I don't have the book they're looking for in my library, they can download it in two seconds.

MotherReader said...

It felt a little crazy at the time, but I loved our week last year of the DC area blizzard. We had four feet of snow after the two back-to-back blizzards, which was unheard of here. (Like the South and it's ice.) We we pretty stuck in our neighborhood, but I loved it. Without the ability to go anywhere, all the demands on our time were gone. No school or homework. No work. No activities. But unlike holiday weeks, no extra stuff to prepare for or relatives we had to see. Just us, a lot of shoveling and an equal amount of movies, books, and video games. I need more snow days in my life.

Jim Randolph said...


I agree about the wonderfulness of having whole days with no reason to prepare. Just eat, read, and shuffle around in slippers. Ah, bliss.