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Thursday, November 27, 2014

So many formats, so many stores

So there I was, feeling frustrated that I only had an epub version of a book - and why's that a problem since I can read it quite well on my kobo? - and complaining about big businesses plotting to tie us to their own devices (says she, so thoroughly untied that she uses a kindle, a kobo and a tablet, depending on book and the lighting, or the location). Then I got an email from a small local bookstore and thought how those small retailers tie us to buying the books they choose for us - um - not. They choose, and I choose to go the store because I like their choices, and because the world is full of so many books these days that veritable treasures get lost in stacks of hay. So why should I worry about kindle and kobo books sold on separate sites (in separate e-stores)? Perhaps it's the author or the publisher who chooses which readers will like the book best, but how is that so different from the bookstore owner? Of course, if I buy a book in a store I can take it home and read it, lend it to my friend, and stack it on my shelf where, like a friend itself, it will remind me of times shared within its pages. If I buy an ebook, it's lost in that ever-growing haystack of volumes hidden away on my device (devices - help, which one?), or in the cloud...

Anyway, here are some ebooks I've enjoyed reading recently, with appropriate coffee recommendations:

Southern Haunts – Spirits That Walk Among Us, by Alexander S Brown, is the first of a two-part set of hauntingly Southern short stories. Thee are some real gems amongst the collection, but other tales carry the linguistic southern slowness a little further than this northerner (Northern English) would be comfortable with. Have some bold, dark, intense 5-star coffee on-hand for the darker tales, and be prepared to brew extra to keep you awake through the slower entries.

Olivia, Mourning, by Yael Politis, has a more genuine and all-too-real darkness to it, as a fairly naive white teen hurries off to farm her uncle's claim with very little knowledge or skill, but plenty of conviction. Mourning turns out to be more than a description of her feelings, and Mourning Free becomes a true friend and valued companion. But will Olivia learn to see what she feels, or will Mourning leave to be free? Life on edge is beautifully described, Detroit so convincingly and evocatively portrayed, and terror and disaster so cruelly knocking at the door in this tale, which carries a certain completely in itself, even as it leads naturally into its sequel. Enjoy with a warm rich elegant and complex 4-star coffee, and look out for book 2.

This House is a Home, by Philip Nork, tells of a more recent past, and invites readers, together with the narrator, into the lives of miners who built their own homes, developed their own cuisine from the meats the rich folk rejected, and learned the true values of family and home. Enjoy this one with a well-balanced, smooth-flavored 3-star coffee.

And now for something completely different: two illustrated children's books by Ruth Whenham. Captain Sillyvoice tells of some quite friendly pirates who'd rather build sandcastles than blow up real ones, and who give a whole new meaning to "pirate band." It's bright, it's fun, and it's delightfully ridiculous. My Crazy Purple Pen offers fun for an everyday school child whose pen has a mind of its own. Even the royal corgies might be in on the joke as this tale progresses, and it's all great rhyming fun. Enjoy both of these with some bright, lively, easy-drinking 2-star coffee, and get some juice for the kids.

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