Monday, June 29, 2009

The Book Seer — What to read next

The Guardian found this site, You plug in the name of the book you just finished, and it recommends the book you should read next. It's fun, but flawed. The article explains why, then goes on to ask the question, okay, exactly how do we decide what to read next? Interesting.

Guardian: What methods do most people actually employ to move from one book to another? Is it the "if you liked this, try this" suggestions of online retailers such as Amazon? Or perhaps newspaper and journal reviews, a bookseller's expertise, serendipitous browsing or the opinion of friends? Could it even be, flying in the face of the maxim, a book's cover? More...

Newsweek's Top Fifty Books for Today's Times

Need a good book to read? Newsweek has come out with a list of fifty great books to read for today's times. The fun part is that the books range from the ultra literary (The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope) to the ultra brainy (The Trouble With Physics by Lee Smolin) to the ultra thrilling (Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child) For the complete list visit

The classic American novel you've never heard of

Jetta Carleton's not so well-known only novel The Moonflower Vine was a bestseller when it was published in 1962 and then quickly faded into oblivion. But from a look at Amazon reviews and, readers have nothing but praise for it. And one reader's love for the book eventually led to a resurrection of this forgotten classic.

From the St. Louis Riverfront Times: For a few months after its publication in December 1962, Carleton's novel, The Moonflower Vine, was one of the flowers of the literary world. It spent four months on the New York Times bestseller list. The reviews were rapturous. "Once in a great, great while comes a new book that makes you thankful you know how to read," wrote one besotted critic.

Aside from two brief paperback revivals in the late '70s and '80s, The Moonflower Vine was largely forgotten, except among the few readers who discovered musty copies at library sales or abandoned in vacation-rental homes. They formed a small, but passionate, cult. One of these acolytes was the novelist Jane Smiley, who included The Moonflower Vine on her reading list of 100 novels in her 2005 book, 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel. More ...

We Make Stories

Actually, that's We found this via Boing Boing. It's a tool for kids to tell stories, mixing audio, comics, treasure maps. Very creative, and there's samples to check out. It's worth a look.

Fictional Washington politics

The NY Times Book Review published a good piece by Thomas Mallon on the Allen Drury novel Advise and Consent on its fiftieth anniversary. Policical scandals once seemed so...noteworthy. Nowadays they seem to arrive on a daily basis. We're probably not better off for that.

TM: And yet, 50 years later, most of the subject matter remains recognizable. Drury’s 99 men and lone woman wrestle with the issue of pre-emptive war, the degree of severity with which lying under oath must be viewed, and the way the coverup is invariably worse than the crime. Part of what kept the book on the best-seller list for 102 weeks is its comforting assumption that many politicians come to Washington hoping to do good. More....

Friday, June 26, 2009

The joy of doing one thing at a time (when that thing happens to be reading)

Tom Weber, on, posts an interesting think piece about multitasking. We are all masters of doing a million things at once, perhaps to our detriment. Weber suggests that the Kindle is a force for good in that it brings us back to doing one thing at a time.

TW: Over a few weeks, I rediscovered my ability to simply read the book or article I had punched up in the first place. (Just like—gasp!—old-fashioned printed matter.) It’s particularly enjoyable when reading a newspaper or magazine—enough so that I’ve been routinely purchasing some of these publications when I could have grabbed my laptop and read them for free on the web. In effect, I’m paying for the lack of distraction. More...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

WSJ publisher vs. Google

There is no question that there is a lot of free material on the internet that people used to pay for in newspapers and magazines. The publisher of the Wall Street Journal points a finger at Google for the death of print.

From crainsnewyork: [Hinton called] the Internet search giant a vampire “sucking the blood” out of the newspaper business, and promised that new developments would level the playing field... Newspaper publishers have been growing increasingly vocal about Google’s profiting from content it doesn’t produce, and have been searching for ways to begin charging for news stories that are now given away free on the Web. More...

Upside-down bookshelf

This isn't books per se, but, well, it's book-related. I mean, if you have a lot of books, you have to put them somewhere! Lifehacker found this do-it-yourself project.

Lifehacker: Instead of storing your books upright on top of the shelf, the inverted bookshelf holds all of your books in place using elastic webbing so you can hang them below the shelf—all the while allowing you to still take them out and put them back on as needed. More...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

And we thought we had written the book on short books

Twitter gives you exactly 140 characters to say whatever it is you have to say and move on. That's not a lot of characters. So one has to wonder if the world really needs Twitter versions of the great classics of literature. (Don't be a wiseguy, now. Some of us really do like Moby-Dick in its entirety. Really. Yes, really!!!) And by the way, the reference to Facebook: The Movie is not a joke. Really. Yes, really...

Mashable: If you thought Facebook: The Movie was a stretch, close your ears to “Twitterature: The World’s Greatest Books, Now Presented in Twenty Tweets or Less”, an upcoming title from Penguin books, penned by two 19 year-olds.

Reports this week from the LATimes and Galleycat confirm that college students Emmett Rensin and Alex Aciman successfully sold the rights to the book to Penguin, the premise being that Tweets can refine literature “to its purest form”. More...

All about Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts outsells pretty much everyone else who's writing fiction these days. What's her secret? Additionally, why is Nora's primary genre—romantic fiction—proving immune to the Great Recession? This in-depth profile of Nora in the June 22 issue of The New Yorker sheds some light. Some readers might be offended by explicit language. And registration is required to view full article.

New Yorker: Roberts, a romance novelist who also writes futuristic police procedurals under the name J.D. Robb, has published a hundred and eighty-two novels. In a typical year, she publishes five “new Noras”: two installments of a paperback original trilogy; two J.D. Robb books; and each summer, the “big Nora”—a hardcover standalone romance novel. Twenty-seven Nora Roberts books are sold every minute. Roberts grosses sixty million dollars a year, Forbes estimated in 2004, more than John Grisham or Stephen King. More...

New Yorker staff writer Lauren Collins, who interviewed Nora, offers additional insight in this podcast.

One magazine thrives in print

With all the dire reports of print magazines and newspapers being put out of business by the availability of digital (and usually free) sources for news, it's encouraging to see that one news magazine has actually increased its print presence. Here's The Atlantic's take on how The Economist did it.

The Atlantic (Michael Hirschorn):
Newsweek’s recent decision to get out of the news-digesting business and reposition itself as a high-end magazine selling in-depth commentary and reportage follows Time magazine’s emergency retrenchment along similar lines... Both newsweeklies are seeking to avoid the fate of U.S. News & World Report, which after years (decades?) of semi-relevance gave up on the idea of weekly publication entirely.

Given that even these daily digests are faltering, how is it that a notionally similar weekly news digest—The Economist—is not only surviving, but thriving? More ...

Our elderly young new authors

From John Scalzi's blog "Whatever," an interesting answer to an interesting question. Have you ever noticed that "new" authors all tend to be, well, not young? Scalzi has the answer.

From "Whenever I hear about a 'new' novelist, they turn out to be in their 30s. Why is that? It seems like you hear about new musicians and actors and other creative people in when they are in their 20s."

Excellent question. Leaving aside the mechanics of why it pays to be young in the music and acting industries, here’s what’s up with those old new novelists: More...

Read the book Play the board game, see the movie

It used to be that books were the hottest source for movie scripts. Nowadays, we're going through a phase of toys being the source (for, admittedly, movies we have no intention of ever, ever, seeing). Next up? Board games. From John Ridley at NPR.

JR: Hollywood loves a good story, particularly if that story comes from something besides an original script. From Gone with the Wind to Harry Potter, Tinseltown spinning source material into box-office gold is a Hollywood tradition as old as younger, hotter third wives.

So in Hollywood there's an entire microeconomy of highly paid folks who race around trying to figure out what's the next hot trend to turn into a movie. And the next hot trend is ... Board games. More...

Too many zombies? There's more coming.

When I scour the bestseller lists these days, I see nothing but zombies and the occasional vampire. Or maybe it's vampires and the occasional zombie. I admit to being an aficionado of neither, plus they're not the kind of books we use in Select Editions. On the other hand, when Pride and Prejudice and Zombies came along, like everyone else I found the idea fun and clever. And now there's talk of a movie. The Armchair Commentary blog at Amazon suggests some casting for the roles.

AC: Chances are you've heard of this fantastic little book that came out back in April and shot to the top of the Amazon books bestsellers list. In case you haven't, the title basically says it all. A literary mash-up that is actually incredibly fun to read but still remains somewhat faithful to the original - I can't even formulate my thoughts in an articulate way about this book - I can only gush, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is awesome! Read it! More...

Dick Cheney autobiography announced

Our bet is that the manuscript will be kept under wraps until publication, and it will have a couple of interesting revelations, and Vice President Cheney will, on publication, make all the rounds of the Sunday news programs.

NY Times: [Liz Cheney:] "I think because the job he just finished is obviously his last job he’ll ever have in government and because he cares about history and has been part of so many consequential events over the last 40 years, he wants to make sure that his story is told, and told in a way that his grandchildren will be able to understand and appreciate even 20 or 30 years from now." More...

The Big Read

What do The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Age of Innocence and The Joy Luck Club have in common? Well, among other things, and along with a lot of other great books, they're on the list of books for The Big Read, the project that gets entire communities reading and talking about books. It's like one very big reading group, with audios and events. It's definitely worth checking out. And it's good to see that the NEA is continuing to support the program in rough financial times.

Publishers Weekly: The National Endowment for the Arts is giving out funds totaling over $3 million to 269 organizations as part of its latest Big Read initiative. The program, which launched as a pilot initiative in 2006, has grown exponentially since its inception; in its first Big Read push in 2006, the NEA gave $265,000 to 10 cities to start community reading programs. More...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

She who rejects books

This one is just to look at now and then. It's a blog written by a publishing insider, and it's full of good advice. If you're a would-be writer, you can't go wrong listening to her.

From her profile: I am an assistant at a literary agency. I am the first line of defense for my boss. On average, I reject 95% of the letters immediately and put the other 5% in the "maybe" pile. Here, I'll talk about my work. Check out the blog...

Modern journalism

As printed newspapers slowly transform into some internet thing, the question of journalism per se becomes raised more often. Journalism isn't the simple reporting of what happened; it is the recording of what verifiably happened. For instance, the confusion of news coming out of Iran these days is testament enough to that country's lack of bona fide journalists doing their job. When the Wall Street Journal reported on Apple's Steve Jobs's liver transplant, that was a rather extraordinary piece of journalism. John Gruber, on the blog Daring Fireball, covers it well (with a nod from us to the Columbia Journalism Review for finding this article).

Gruber: There are several highly unusual aspects to the Journal’s story. First is that they offer no source for the information — not even an “according to sources familiar with the matter”. But yet they state it flatly as certain fact that Steve Jobs had a secret liver transplant in Tennessee. Blockbuster news with no sourcing whatsoever. To call that curious is an understatement. And, coming in the opening paragraph of a page one story, it could not be a careless omission. More...

Review roundup

Amazon's blog Omnivoracious publishes a roundup of reviews every Monday, taken from the weekend's "old media," i.e., newspapers and magazines. Given how few journals review books these days [sigh], this is a useful wrap-up. Some weeks are more interesting than others, but that's true about everything. Check it out...

Recaught in the Rye

There's been a lot of talk lately around the so-called sequel to The Catcher in the Rye and J. D. Salinger's lawsuit against it. The whole issue of intellectual property is one of great interest to anyone in the media, and I think beyond. I mean, if I create a character, what right do you have to reuse that character? Copyright exists to protect my rights, but when something is in the popular imagination, i.e., when copyright expires, anyone can have it. Anyone can write a sequel to, say, David Copperfield. But Salinger is still alive, and his copyright is still in force. Then again, other writers have some derivative rights; it's usually legal to publish parodies, for instance. All in all, a fascinating issue. The NY TImes has a good summary of the case.

NYT: The author J. D. Salinger, known as much for his cloistered ways as for his skillful pen, has sued repeatedly over the years to protect his privacy and the sanctity of his work.

So when a book that describes itself on its copyright page as “An Unauthorized Fictional Examination of the Relationship Between J. D. Salinger and his Most Famous Character” was published in Britain and scheduled for release in the United States, a detour to court was a safe bet.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Ray Bradbury fights to keep libraries alive

A hero behind the typewriter takes on a pubic role as a hero in saving libraries. We love Ray Bradbury!

NYT: Among Mr. Bradbury’s passions, none burn quite as hot as his lifelong enthusiasm for halls of books. His most famous novel, “Fahrenheit 451,” which concerns book burning, was written on a pay typewriter in the basement of the University of California, Los Angeles, library; his novel “Something Wicked This Way Comes” contains a seminal library scene.

Mr. Bradbury frequently speaks at libraries across the state, and on Saturday he will make his way here for a benefit for the H. P. Wright Library, which like many others in the state’s public system is in danger of shutting its doors because of budget cuts. More...

The role of location in fiction

Julia Keller writes an interesting piece for chicagotribune,com, starting with the mention of Chicago in the new book by C. J. Box. The concept of place holds a very special, uh, place, in the mind of the reader.

JK: For authors, tapping the power of place is not simply a matter of naming a town and then moving on with the story. The place is the story. You may think the story is about the characters and what happens to them -- but it's not. The story is about where it occurs. Fiction is already ephemeral enough; the incidents therein never happened in the first place. What gives it gravity, what endows it with shape and mass and meaning, is its location. More...

University presses in the recession

University presses fill a special niche in publishing. And they're threatened, like most everyone else, in today's scary economy.

Philadelphia Inquirer: Al Greco, vice president of the Institute for Publishing Research in Bergenfield, N. J., said university presses face many of the same problems as commercial publishers, primarily that adults spend fewer hours reading and more time with television and the Internet. Complicating the problem for university presses, he said, are higher costs and a shrinking customer base. For instance, public and school libraries are buying fewer copies of university press publications because of declining readership and tax revenue. More...

The Kindle, again

I probably should apologize for putting up a lot of articles on e-books and their relevant equipment, but the subject just keeps coming up. No matter how you slice it, people are reading, or at least sooner or later going to read, in previously unorthodox ways. And the Kindle is the leader today in its way. How can you avoid it? Joe Wikert talks to some of the benefits, and a few things that could be benefits.

JW: "The innovation of the Kindle was not to improve e-reading—many earlier e-readers offered a very similar reading experience—but to dramatically alter the purchasing experience through its wireless capability."
So true and yet so easily forgotten. The Kindle could have simply become Newton 2.0 without this important feature. Customers come for the eInk display but Whispernet is what keeps 'em coming back. (It still blows my mind that no other Kindle competitor has figured this out...) More...

Queen Victoria: I didn't know this

I shouldn't admit how little I know about Queen Victoria, but I have to admit that, beyond an image of a rather plain woman in black lording it over an empire, I couldn't tell you much. This review was very enlightening.

NYT: The longest-ruling monarch in British history suffered greatly under what the queen herself called “the yoke” of matrimony, enduring nine pregnancies in the first two decades of her reign — which left her an outsider at her own court, relegated to the “shadow side” of life, as she wrote in a letter of warning to her 17-year-old daughter, Vicky. More...

Feature article on Jodi Picault

Picault is one of the most popular writers around these days, a master of a certain kind of family novel where, often, bad things happen to perfectly normal people. This story in the Sunday NY Times was quite interesting.

NYT: IN THE NOVELS of Jodi Picoult, terrible things happen to children of middle-class parentage: they become terminally ill, or are maimed, gunned down, killed in accidents, molested, abducted, bullied, traumatized, stirred to violence. The assault on any individual family is typically mounted from angles multiple and unforeseen. More...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The newspaper isn't dead yet

Slate has a good article on electronic delivery of newspapers that gibes with our own opinions. We obviously have a vested interest in print media, but I will admit that we are also interested in staying current with the latest technology. Publishing is a tough business to be in these days...

Slate: A few years ago, after receiving one too many shocking credit card bills, I canceled my daily subscription to the New York Times. It wasn't an easy decision; though I write for the Web and read almost all of my news online, I've always loved newsprint. My infatuation wasn't a product of mere nostalgia or habit: As I've written before, there's no better way to get a full picture of what's happened around the world than by reading a newspaper. The paper is portable, easy to find, easy to use, and, best of all, skimmable—it lets you glance at several stories at once and read as much or as little as you'd like without getting lost in the weeds. More...

Books for Father's Day

Of course we recommend books for Father's Day. And we like the list from The Daily Beast.

DB: Attention, shoppers: Put down the golf gear, step away from the neckties. From an epic retelling of WWII to P.J. O’Rourke’s ode to the American automobile, here are 12 books dad will actually read. More...

Textbooks as e-books

I didn't see the governor's proposal originally, and I have mixed feelings about it. While, perhaps, the new oversized Kindle is a good textbook machine (it's partly intended as such), I don't know if your average computer will do the job as well, as Schwarzenegger suggests. Still, given the costs of textbooks, it's probably a step in the right direction.

Publishers Weekly: Last week, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed replacing school textbooks with e-books in order to help plug a state budget gap. Now, textbook giant Pearson has responded with digital content to supplement California’s programs in biology, chemistry, algebra 2, and geometry. More...

Teen reader site

More kids? It's just that kind of day. Maybe it has something to do with summer vacation.

We just learned from Publishing Trends that Simon & Schuster is has a new site for teens (a notoriously difficult group when it comes to reading) concentrating on their books. They call it Pulse It.

PT: Simon & Schuster has launched Pulse It, a book social networking site where 14- to 18-year-olds can read and review new S&S titles online, create profiles, communicate with authors and other members, and earn points redeemable for prizes. More...

One last kid item

We read over at the L.A. Times that there may be, quote, a fur-covered edition of "The Wild Things"? It's a 300-page book for kids aged 9 to 12, penned by Dave Eggers, based on both the Maurice Sendak book "Where the Wild Things Are" and the upcoming Spike Jonze film. Yeah, it's convoluted. But will it be convoluted in fur?

Fur-covered books. You've got to wonder about the e-book version. Fur-covered e-books? I don't think so. Chalk another one up for p-books (i.e., books on paper).

Kid-friendly computers

Speaking of kid-safe stuff, we just saw this announcement on Amazon: "ASUS to Release a Disney Themed Netbook." We sort of like those little netbook computers, which do most of what most people need from a computer, especially what most kids might need. This one apparently comes loaded with kid-friendly (and parent-friendly) controls. It could be the beginning of a trend.

Amazon: In case there is anyone out there who isn't yet aware, kiddies today love them some technology. By kiddies, I don't mean you and me, but instead the Hannah Montana crowd. Of course, they also love Play-Doh too, but there is no way--at least I hope there's not--that any parent is going to pay $350 for that, so hence we shall soon have the Disney Netpal. More...

Kid-safe web comics

We saw this first in Publishers Weekly, and were instantly struck by what a great idea it is. Comics are very popular on the internet, but plenty of sites are far from kid-safe. It's great to see someone attempting to solve the problem.

PW: The internet is full of great comics created specifically for children, but young readers don’t have any way to find them. After all, there is no children’s room on the internet. But Brian Leung is hoping to solve that problem with Kidjutsu, a site that collects kid-friendly webcomics and displays them using an easy-to-use online comics viewer. More...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


My boss pointed this site out to me yesterday, so I signed up (and got myself their RSS feed as well). It's sort of like a Facebook for readers and authors, where they can all connect and comment and share opinions. It's probably worth your time to poke around in it too.

The newsletter has some fun things in it too. Goodreads: Elmore Leonard writes by hand on lined paper; Jodi Picoult writes while her children are at school; Dan Simmons wakes up as late as he can because” that’s one of the few, great benefits of being a writer.” More...

Rare recording of James Joyce reading

Cory Doctorow on the Boing Boing site has posted a link to a most interesting mp3, celebrating Bloomsday (June 16th, the date on which Ulysses takes place). Very interesting (but is it just me, that a little goes a long way?).

Boing Boing: Here's a rare reading of James Joyce performing his own work; as John Naughton notes, "When I first heard it I was astonished to find that he had a broad Irish-country accent. I had always imagined him speaking as a 'Dub' -- i.e. with the accent of most of the street characters in Ulysses." More...

Shared Worlds

I had never heard of this until I saw a mention on the Amazon blog. It's a summer camp for students who like to write about or otherwise create fantasy and science fiction worlds. Very cool. This piece from the site presents some writers offering some real unreal cities.

Shared Worlds: So we decided to ask five top SF-fantasy authors – Elizabeth Hand, Nalo Hopkinson, Ursula K. LeGuin, China MiĆ©ville, and Michael Moorcock –the following question: "What's your pick for the top real-life fantasy or science fiction city?" More...

Wild and Crazy Book Titles

From our magazine colleague Maureen Mackey:

I can't help it: These books arrive and their titles are just too amusing, clever, amazing, or wild and crazy to ignore--which is exactly what their creators wanted them to be.

People will do almost anything to cut through the clutter. (And to a point, they certainly should--dare I state the obvious by saying there's a lot of clutter out there.)

So, without further ado, and with gratitude and other appropriate kudos to those who dreamed these up, here's another round of funny, clever, and decidedly memorable book titles:

1. WHERE UNDERPANTS COME FROM: From Checkout to Cotton Field Travels Through the New China and Into the New Global Economy

2. HE'S HISTORY, YOU'RE NOT: Surviving Divorce After 40

3. IF YOUR KID EATS THIS BOOK, EVERYTHING WILL STILL BE OKAY: How to Know if Your Child's Injury or Illness Is Really an Emergency


Movies on your computer

All right, movies are not books, but there comes a time when you have to rest your eyes a bit and go sit in a nice dark movie theater and eat popcorn and watch Up or something. (Actually, watching Up requires 3D glasses, so it may not be the best example, adding, as it does, a whole 'nother layer to the thing.) Then again, there are other ways of getting movies, to wit, via the internet. This article is one of the best summaries of present-day cinema via web that we've seen.

Salon: For the better part of a decade, people like me have been pronouncing that theatrical motion-picture distribution, at least when it came to independent films, was going the way of the passenger pigeon and the daily print newspaper. (You won't believe this, kids, but somebody used to come to your house every single morning with a rolled-up log of paper wrapped in plastic and rubber bands!) Some mystical convergence of the Internet, cable TV, the hand-held SmartHooble and other, yet-to-be-invented networks and devices would open the doors to a hellish new Nirvana of unlimited, 24/7 hi-def cinema, from the most massive Hollywood spectacles to the most obscure art-house offerings. More...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The NY Times calls it Titlenomics; we call it the Joy of Titles

This is a fun article in the New York Times on how book titles seem to get used over and over again, once they demonstrate a certain popularity, and mellifluousness, the first time out.

Capitalizing on popular titles has a long pedigree in the publishing industry. A well-turned phrase can give birth to dozens of offspring. Edward Gibbon’s monumental “History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” first published in 1776, has inspired variants for more than two centuries. More...

The Kindle man himself chimes in

For us, the debate over e-books isn't over; it's hardly begun. But for Amazon's Jeff Bezos, those pesky physical books have had their day. Oh, really?

"I kind of am grumpy when I am forced to read a physical book. Because it's not as convenient. Turning the pages ..." More...

Reading Dickens Four Ways

Another Dickens article? Well, why not? This is a different take. We've already talked a lot about e-books and the like. Let's hear from someone who made a really grand experiment.

I decided to read Little Dorrit four ways: paperback, audiobook, Kindle, and iPhone. More...

Dickens and Money

This seems rather appropriate for our times, an article on the ever-popular Mr. Dickens and the miraculous way some of his characters seem to get their money.

Dickens Is Back. Watch Your Wallet. If you want to understand the economy, don't turn to the author of Oliver Twist for answers.


The phenomenon of self-publishing has really taken off lately. Given the technology, almost anyone who has a book can have it see the light of day. We don't know any of these businesses personally, but they are interesting. Here's one of them.

A good friend of mine was recently telling me about her (almost) 13 year-old daughter and her poetry. She told me I needed to read some of these poems to believe them. (They're so good, in fact, that her teacher thought she plagiarized them; I thought you were presumed innocent till proven guilty in this country!) She also wanted to know how she could go about trying to get them published. More...

Finding rare and out of print books

There are a number of ways to find old books on the internet. This is not a bad recommendation from LifeHacker.

Finding the latest New York Times Best Seller List topping novel at a bookstore is easy. Finding a first edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland? Not so much. Biblio can help. More...

Books on the Touch — Not so terrible

It's been a while since I've posted here, for a variety of reasons, but I can now report that I have had a chance to do some reading on the iPod Touch. I loaded a copy of Dickens's Hard Times and gave it a go. Surprisingly enough, the experience wasn't terrible. It wasn't great, given that I could read about a paragraph at a time, but sitting on a train to Manhattan, before long it absolutely felt just like reading. Nothing electronic about it. I have to admit, I was more than a little surprised.

I'm not a convert to e-books yet, though. The hardware is just too expensive. Get these prices down to, say, under a hundred dollars, though, and we may really begin to see a publishing revolution.