Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Resolutions: Books to Read in 2012

I'm doing something a little different this year: Instead of New Year's Resolutions, I'm making a short list of books I want to read in 2012.  These are all classics that I've meant to read for years now, and just never got around to it.  I am even making a special shelf on my Nook for these books.

iconiconThe Professor by Charlotte Bronte - This is the only Bronte novel (at least out of the ones published during their lifetime) that I haven't read.  I didn't like Villette very much, so I've been dragging my heels on reading The Professor, but I am a big Bronte fan so I think I need to read it.  Therefore it's at the top of my list of books to read in 2012.



iconiconThe Life of Charlotte Bronte by Elizabeth Gaskell - Another Bronte-related book I've been meaning to read is The Life of Charlotte Bronte.  Although I know the book is accused of not being very accurate (Gaskell glossed over a lot and made up some stuff to defend her friend, who was often criticized by Victorian society for the subject matter of her books), it's a classic as well as the original source of information (correct or not) on the Brontes.



iconiconEmma by Jane Austen - I've read only a couple of Jane Austen books, Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility (I might have read Northanger Abbey as a kid, but I don't remember it, except for a mild feeling of confusion).  When making this list, I was trying to decide between Emma and Persuasion, but decided on Emma.



iconiconMoby Dick by Herman Melville - This is my big undertaking.  I have been planning on reading this since I read a short bit of it during an English literature survey course in college, but I never got around to it.  I've heard both good and bad, and it sounds like it will be a bit tedious, but I do want to be able to say I've read it!


iconiconHeart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad - My husband read this one a few years ago for a college course — I can't recall what course, as he wasn't a literature student, but he seemed to think it was worth reading.  And, just in general, I can't stand my non-literature-major husband having read something that I, with my fancy English degree, haven't!



There are many other classics that I would like to read, and of course many others that I did read in college (or, in some cases, high school).  This is just a short list of the ones I want to make sure I read in 2012!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck

iconiconI've had some spare time lately, so I've been catching up on my reading. I've been flying through books, as you can probably tell by all the reviews that have gone up in the last week, and for the most part I've loved everything I've read.  I'm afraid Tiger's Curse is an exception.

First of all, I can't say that I hated the book, but I did have some issues with it — more than my usual, I must say.  I'm typically a pretty easy reader to please: I like most of what I read, and have a fairly easy time suspending disbelief (an ability I think you have to be at least decent at in order to enjoy reading fiction).

I really wanted to like Tiger's Curse.  The book was originally self-published, and was picked up by a traditional publisher because of its popularity.  I always like hearing about these sorts of success stories, especially because I intend to self-publish my own novels.

But I don't think Tiger's Curse was a very good example of this kind of success story.  For one thing, it was obvious the book was never edited by the traditional publisher who picked it up — it was riddled with errors.  I'm pretty sure the author has absolutely no idea how a comma should actually be used, or when a phrase in a sentence should be bracketed by commas on either end (something she frequently neglected to do).  There were other errors, too, to the point of distracting me from enjoying the novel.

Perhaps I could have overlooked the errors if the story was so amazing I hardly had time to pay attention to them...  But alas, this was not the case.  For one thing, I don't believe the author has ever had the difference between "showing" and "telling" explained to her.  There was far too much of the latter for good, compelling storytelling.  Also, the characters were weak and changeable, and their motives were not always solid.  The main character especially started out the novel as a strong, believable heroine; but then halfway through the novel, the author apparently decided she and the main love interest were getting together too fast, and suddenly turned Kelsey into a wishy-washy, whiny girl with low self-esteem — characteristics that had definitely not been present in the first half of the novel.  The other characters were equally unbelievable, such as the grandfather-like servant to the cursed prince — or should I say grandmother-like, even though he was male, because of the way he gabbed with Kelsey?

But there were things I definitely liked.  The fairy tale-like idea of an Indian prince being cursed to remain a tiger is, of course, very unique.  And the author's research into Indian culture, language, history, and geography was impressive (assuming it was all correct, though I have to say that was the one thing I didn't doubt).  I might still pick up the next novel (there are three, so far at least).  Perhaps, if the next one has been edited instead of being published as-is, I will at least be able to relax and enjoy it a little more, rather than getting annoyed with all of the errors!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Reckoning by Lili St. Crow

iconiconIt was just over a year ago that I first read Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow.  I was skeptical at first but decided to try the book out, and ended up really loving it.  I followed Dru's adventures through three more books, and a couple of weeks ago was thrilled to find out that the fifth and final book had come out.  I love following a series all the way to the end!

Here are the five books in the series, in order:

Strange Angels
Betrayals
Jealousy
Defiance
Reckoning (this book)

I always worry about reviewing individual books in a series, because I don't like spoiling anything for those who haven't gotten very far yet.  Your best bet is to read this review at your own risk.

Things go from bad to worse for Dru throughout the series.  Reckoning starts out right where Defiance left off, with Dru on the run yet again, this time from the very order she thought was supposed to protect her as well as the big baddy vampire who is chasing her.  She ends up with not just one, but both of her love interests along for the ride: Christophe, who is half-vampire, and Graves, a.k.a. Goth Boy, a sort of half-werwulf (he was bit and survived, and became a very rare form of werwulf).  Both of them are trying to protect her in their own ways.

I don't want to spoil the ending for anyone, but suffice it to say that I was really surprised by how the author resolved the problem of which boy Dru would end up with!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Marley and Me by John Grogan

iconiconI never thought I would read Marley & Me.  I'm not a big fan of pet memoirs, although I've read several — I usually end up feeling that just because someone is famous doesn't mean their pets are any more special than anyone else's, for one thing.  (There are a few exceptions, pet memoirs that are truly about a special animal or situation.  In my opinion, Chosen by a Horse by Susan Richards is a perfect example of such an exception.  Dewey by Vicki Myron is another.)

I also despise the fact that pet memoirs almost always make me cry.  It feels like cheap tears, too, since it seems like both author and reader know it's going to make you cry, and in fact, that's more or less the goal.  (I can think of only one exception to this rule, and that is Sex and the Kitty, the only pet memoir I know of where the pet doesn't die at the end, and in fact, is still alive and well — with her own Facebook page, no less!)

So I wasn't terribly gung ho on reading Marley & Me.  But my mom decided to read it, so I checked the ebook out from the library for her.  And I decided that, while I had it out, I might as well read it too.

Of course, I cried.

And of course, it wasn't about a dog that was any different than anyone else's dog.  I don't even think he was the worst dog in the world, no matter what his owner thought.  He seemed like a pretty average lab to me.  Maybe a touch better behaved than average, actually.  (There's a reason why we don't own a lab.)

But the book was funny.  It had some great scenes, although sometimes it was Grogan's narration that made them so funny.  It was also a fairly light and fast read.  And I didn't cry as much as I sometimes do at these kinds of books.

I feel a little bit like I've sold out by reading Marley & Me, but I guess at least I haven't jumped on the bandwagon.  No movies, movie sequels, children's I Can Read books, or other movie memorabilia for me.  The book was good, but not good enough to justify the ridiculous fandom it seems to have inspired, at least not in my opinion!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

iconiconI've been hearing a lot about War Horse over the last few months.  The ebook has been a good price for ages (just a little over $5), and I saw a preview for the new movie a few months ago, so the book had made it onto my reading list — where it languished until, last weekend, I decided to read it and decide whether to give it to the horse-crazy girl I nanny for as a Christmas present.

The book is short, only a little over 100 pages in the ebook version, so it was a fairly fast read — I read most of it the first night, and finished it the next day.  War Horse is a beautiful story told from the horse's point of view, reminding me a lot of Black Beauty.  Instead of exposing the poor treatment horses receive, as Anna Sewall intended Black Beauty to do, though, this is both a historical novel and an anti-war story.

Then, of course, I learned that the movie was coming out in theaters Christmas Day — so of course, I mentioned it to hubby, and we decided to see it.  We tried to go in the afternoon, but it was completely sold out at two different theaters, so instead we caught the very last showing at 10:40.  It made for a very late night (the film is nearly two and a half hours), but it was well worth it — and we were two of only about six people in the entire theater, which was nice.

The New York Times review of War Horse described the movie as an anti-war film.  I didn't even realize it until I read the review, but the book had some pretty subtle anti-war sentiments as well.  For example, there is a scene where a British and a German soldier flip a coin over who gets Joey, and then comment on how the outcome of the war could be decided in the same fashion — basically saying how unnecessary all the death and destruction is.

Interestingly, a fellow horse owner and boarder at my barn complained that she was expecting "more horse and less war."  I actually thought the war scenes were pretty toned down, but then again, I'm a big fan of action movies, so I'm used to Spielberg's usual stuff.  I also liked how the movie's pastoral scenes were filmed in the style of old-fashioned movies, on a set (instead of outside) and with similar lighting.  Those parts of the movie have a very nice quaint feel to them, which helps to contrast with the noise and action of the war scenes.

Long story short, both book and movie were excellent for horse lovers, but I don't think you have to be a horse lover to appreciate them.  My husband loved the movie, and he is a rather reluctant participant in my horse activities (when he participates at all)!

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King

iconiconThe December selection for the sci-fi/fantasy book club hubby and I belong to was Stephen King's The Eyes of the Dragon, a fairy tale-like fantasy novel about an old king, two princes, and the villain who schemed to overthrow (or at least cause a lot of misery and chaos in) the kingdom.

This was only the third Stephen King book I'd ever read, and that's only if you count On Writing.  The only other fiction book of his I'd ever read was Dolores Claiborne, which I read in high school and pretty much hated.

So reading another Stephen King novel was kind of a big deal for me.  I'd heard from other Stephen King fans that as much as they liked his other books, they disliked this one, so I had hopes that maybe I'd really love it — seeing as how I don't seem to like his "normal" books.  But I can't say I loved this one — the fairy tale-style narration annoyed me at time, especially in the beginning, as far as I can tell all the chapter divisions that Dolores Claiborne lacked wound up in this book instead, because some of the chapter are only a few paragraphs or even just a few lines long.

It wasn't a bad story — I liked the fairy tale, fantasy approach.  But I can't say I loved it.

Supposedly the villain in this book is in some of Stephen King's other novels, so my book club has put one of his related books on the reading list for 2012.  (I can't remember right now which one.)  We'll see if I ever find a Stephen King novel I really love!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

iconiconWant something a little special — and at a special price — today?  This ebook version of A Christmas Carol is an enhanced edition that includes a 1977 radio recording of Charles Dickens's great-granddaughter reading the classic Christmas book.  Unfortunately it's a special file that plays only on the Nook Color or the Nook Tablet, but if you have one of these it is well worth it!

Whether you prefer to say "Merry Christmas," "Happy Holidays," or something else, I wish you the best today!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Death in the City of Light by David King

iconiconI have a quite a few books to catch up on now — I've been reading a lot lately, ever since NaNoWriMo ended on November 30th.  One of the first ones on my list once I finished Under Heaven and Boneshaker (two books I'd been picking away at during November) was Death in the City of Light, a nonfiction book about a serial killer that was discovered Paris toward the end of the Nazis' occupation of the city.

The book was a bit similar to Erik Larson's approach to The Devil in the White City, nonfiction woven together in a storytelling fashion.  It wasn't quite as captivating as Larson's book, but it was sure close.  The book opened with the discovery of the serial killer's lair, followed with the man's childhood and background, and drew out the details as they were gradually exposed by the investigation and then the trial.  The effect is surprisingly suspenseful.

The amount of detail the author includes is phenomenal.  I like how the research was focused on the serial killer and the subsequent investigation and trial, but also revealed a broad knowledge of Nazi-occupied Paris.

A great book for history lovers!

Monday, December 19, 2011

YA ebook sale!

I noticed tonight that HarperCollins is having another of their YA ebook sales, like they had during the summer. There are some great ebooks priced at $2.99 and 99 cents.

iconiconYou may remember that I read Delirium earlier this year and loved it. It also made NPR's list of the top fantasy books of 2011. Less than a week later, the price has dropped from $9 or $10 to just $2.99! The next book is coming out in February, which is probably part of the reason for the price drop — to get a bunch of new readers hooked before the next one comes out!

iconiconI got very excited when I saw Unearthly on sale for 99 cents, because I remembered wanting to read it. Some instinct told me to reread the description, though, and when I did I realized I'd gotten it from the library and read it already! It's a great book, possibly the best YA angels romance I've read, and well worth the price. I think there must be another book coming out for this one, too.

iconiconI've been eyeing Entwined for months, as it's been on one of the display tables near the cafe in my local Barnes & Noble.  So I was very pleased to see the 99-cent price tag on it, as well!  I snatched this one right up, too.

iconiconHereafter looks like a very intriguing story. I've always liked ghost stories, and ghost romances are good too — not to mention, it's nice to see something other than the usual vampires and werewolves skulking around the teen dark romance scene! Again, this one was 99 cents, so you guessed it — I bought this one too!

iconiconTen Things We Did is the only non-fantasy title that I could find on sale right now — it's also 99 cents — but it looked like a lot of fun, so I bought it too. What can I say — I had a gift card to spend, so I went a little ebook-sale-happy when I saw all these great prices!

I've finished a couple of books recently that I've been too busy to review, but I'll do that within the next few days!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Nook Simple Touch only $74.99!

Barnes&Noble.comI saw on eBay this evening that the eBay Daily Deal — only for the rest of the night and tomorrow — is the Nook Simple Touch Reader for only $74.99!  As far as I can tell, this is a NEW device (not refurbished, in other words), and is 25 percent off the regular price ($99).  If you've been wanting an ebook reader but haven't wanted to spend the money (or had the money to spend), this is your chance to own one!

NPR's 5 top sci-fi/fantasy picks for 2011

One more article link, and then I swear I'll get back to reviewing books!  I've been reading two at once, which has made it difficult to finish either one in my normal time frame.

NPR published a number of stories yesterday with the top books of 2011.  The list of the best novels didn't really catch my fancy (sometimes NPR's recommendations are real duds), but the list of 2011's top sci-fi/fantasy books really resonated with me.

Of course, George R.R. Martin's A Dance with Dragons is at the top of the list, which isn't surprising given how popular the series is (though I know people who would have voted his book off the list just out of anger that he takes so long to bring out each book).  The next two books — The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making and Rule 34 — I don't recognize, but they look interesting, especially Rule 34.  (The other I will probably avoid just because the title is so ridiculously long — who wants to type that out several times in a review?)

Next on the list is a title my husband will appreciate: The Heroes, by Joe Abercrombie.  I don't think he's read this one yet, but he really like Abercrombie's books, and has been a fan since the author's work first started trickling over to the U.S.

The final title on the list, however, is one I can really appreciate: Delirium by Lauren Oliver.  I read this book over the summer and absolutely loved it.  Since then, I've seen it make several "top picks" type lists, including a list of top YA titles for all ages.  This is an amazing book, and if it were me I would have put it at the top of this list, despite George R.R. Martin's popularity!

I am curious: Have you read any of the titles on this list, and do you agree with the lineup?  Are there any books you think should have been included?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Kindle Fire fizzles

Long-time readers of my blog may already know that I'm not a fan of Amazon.  I don't like their business practices, which generally include bullying both publishers/authors and customers.

Sometime I'll have to a comprehensive list of my various reasons, but for the purpose of this post, one of my biggest beefs is that their device essentially ropes you into buying content (books, movies, etc.) from them instead of enabling sideloading.  Plus, unless you figure out how to remove the DRM, you are essentially locked into always owning a Kindle if you want to keep your ebooks.  (They do have apps for your computer and various smartphones, but you still lack the freedom of being able to put your ebooks on any ebook reader you'd like to... unless you strip the DRM, of course, which Amazon's rules say you're not supposed to.)

My complaints about Amazon aside, I was thrilled to see that the Nook Tablet is outperforming the Kindle Fire, according to a couple of articles.  One is an article on the New York Times, which makes it sound like the Fire has completely fizzled: Amazon Kindle Fire Faces Critics and Remedies are Promised.  It sounds like the hardware has a lot of problems — the touch screen doesn't work well for people with bigger fingers, there aren't any volume buttons (sounds like it has to be turned up or down via the software), the off button is too easy to press (causing people to inadvertently turn the device off while they're browsing), and the Internet browser, aside from making snooping extremely easy, is slow.

Speaking of a slow Internet browser, the article concluded with this amusing observation:

The device does do one thing well, he said. Shopping on Amazon is a breeze. “If I were given to conspiracy theories, I’d say that Amazon deliberately designed a poor Web browsing user experience to keep Fire users from shopping on competing sites,” Mr. Nielsen said.

I don't think it takes a conspiracy theorist to realize that Amazon is going to spend a lot more time getting the Amazon store to run just right on their tablet, than perfecting the device's other features!

In sharp contrast to how the Kindle Fire has been received, the Nook Tablet made it onto CNet.com's list of the best 5 tablets.  The iPad is, of course, first, followed by three equally-expensive 10-inch tablets.  The Nook Tablet is last on the list, which I think is to be expected considering it's much smaller than the others and an e-reader.  However, it's also half the price of the others, which I'm sure is part of what landed it on that list.

The full review of the Nook Tablet is largely positive, especially when comparing it to the Kindle Fire:

It costs the same $249 as the original Nook Color, which remains on the market for $199, but adds more storage (16GB, plus a microSD expansion slot), a faster dual-core 1GHz processor, a beefy 1GB of RAM, and an integrated microphone. In short, except for leaving out Bluetooth, Barnes & Noble has addressed many, if not most, of the Nook Color's weak points and put out a strong product that's easily recommendable at its price point.

The review also approves of the Nook Tablet's larger internal memory and expansion card slot (the Kindle Fire has half the memory and no way to expand it).  And if you want a tablet for movie viewing purposes, the reviewer says the Nook Tablet wins that contest hands-down.

Finally, CNet.com published a Nook Tablet vs. Kindle Fire guide to help shoppers choose.  On most things, such as screen, memory expansion, operating system, and battery life, they rate the Nook a little higher.  They do admit, though, that there are reasons why the Kindle Fire might be better for some people, including the ability to download movies for playback later, when you don't have a wifi connection.

If you are thinking of getting an e-reader tablet, both of these articles are good places to start your research!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Nook vs. Kindle

The Nook seems to be gaining ground against the Kindle, the better-known e-reader and tablet.  I ran across several articles while browsing the Nook forums that struck me as interesting.

A Kindle Swipes Fine, but Still Hooked on a Nook

Although this article is really about the Nook Simple Touch Reader versus Kindle's equivalent, it's interesting because of the things that the writer prefers about the Nook:



  • Ad-free (to get a comparably-priced Kindle, you have to put up with ads)
  • Easier to hold
  • Physical page-turning buttons so you don't have to swipe (something I am indeed missing on my Nook Tablet)

The writer does mention the Kindle Lending Library, as well as the convenience of being able to download library ebooks wirelessly (because they are delivered via Amazon, not OverDrive).  However, it sounds like the Nook will start offering wireless downloading of library books in the coming months.

The verdict:

The Kindle Touch is a huge improvement on Amazon's last Kindle, but Barnes & Noble's Nook Simple Touch maintains its lead in this category.

I also found a couple of articles about Amazon's and Barnes & Noble's respective tablets, but I'll address those in another post, still to come!

In the meantime, yay Nook!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Merry Christmas to me!

I received my Christmas present early last night: the new Nook Tablet.  My husband was worried that if we waited too long, it would sell out in the Christmas rush, and of course I have to play with it so that if there is something wrong or I don't like it, we can still return it within the 14-day period.

(The truth is, Michael and I don't make a big to-do over presents.  I'll be taking him on a shopping spree for some bike gear, most likely before Christmas, so neither of us will be opening presents on Christmas Day.  And that doesn't bother us at all.)

So far, I LOVE the tablet.  My mom has the Nook Color, so I don't know whether it's really a lot faster than that one or not, though I've heard it is.  But it's light years faster than the very first Nook, which I have.  Plus, navigation is SO much easier with a single, integrated screen.  I love the color touchscreen on my N1E, but this one is 100 times simpler.

I especially like the large internal memory — even my N1E, which has more memory than the Nook Simple Touch, was full (and that was with many of my ebooks in archive — and all my sideloaded books on a memory card!).  The tablet, on the other hand, has plenty of memory — I suppose I will probably still fill it up with books eventually, but it should be sufficient memory to keep me happy for a while, especially since I have no intentions of downloading movies or music.  I may stream movies via Netflix from time to time, but that'll be about it.

I did already try out a movie on Netflix, just to see how it looked on the tablet, and the clarity of the picture is impressive, especially considering it was streaming wirelessly.  Not once did it hang up while the video buffered!  It will be a good device for watching things or browsing the Internet on occasion, though those are certainly not going to be my primary uses for it!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay

iconiconI finally finished Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay.  I started this book back in November, but with all that was going on in November (NaNoWriMo primarily), I wasn't able to finish it before the library loan expired.  As soon as the library loan expired, I put myself back on the hold list to wait for it to become available again.

I am so glad I came back to it and finished it.  Under Heaven wasn't as compelling as the other book I've read by this author, Ysabel — that one took my breath away.  But this was an excellent fantasy based on the world of the Tang Dynasty of Ancient China.

I read one description of the novel that said it was about everything that happens as a result of the gift Shen Tai is given: 250 Sardian horses.  But I'm not sure that's quite true.  The book is about how the past and present determine the way of the future, but it's not the gift of the horses that starts the chain of events.

The best way to describe Under Heaven is as a tapestry, and although you think you're starting at the beginning, you are actually not.  As you read, you find out that the gift of the horses was actually brought about by other events, each one causing the next.  By the end, it has become a very complicated and beautiful tapestry, with events causing events causing events.

The descriptions I read of the book compare it to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and I would agree somewhat, except that the elements of fantasy play a much smaller role.  The magic of shamans does impact the course of the story, but most of the novel is grounded in a reimagined view of reality of the Tang Dynasty.

It's a somewhat long book, but I highly recommend it!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Angry Birds Day

Barnes&Noble.comApparently, there is such thing as Angry Birds Day.  It's this Sunday, December 11th, the second anniversary of the game's release.  Here's an interesting article in the New York Times from last year's Angry Birds Day, which talks about the game's popularity as of one year ago.  It certainly hasn't changed much in the past year!

I can remember when Angry Birds first made it to the Nook Color — it was quite exciting, and was announced on the Barnes & Noble and Nook Facebook pages.  People had been rooting their Nooks so that they could use apps like Angry Birds that weren't available in the Nook's app store.

I have all the Angry Birds versions (original, Seasons, and Rio) on my iPhone, although I don't play them as much anymore — I did play them some when I first got them, but I think the kids I babysit for played them more than I did.  They are very addicting games, and I don't have enough time to sink into playing them, so I just never get around to playing all that much.

What about you?  Do you play Angry Birds, and if so, what do you play it on?  I am (hopefully) getting a Nook Tablet for Christmas, and I am debating on whether I want to download Angry Birds onto it or not!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

iconiconBoneshaker was the November selection for the sci-fi/fantasy book club my husband and I attend every month.  Because I was participating in NaNoWriMo to write a novel of my own, however, I got very little reading done in the month of November.  As a result, it took me at least two weeks — an excruciating pace, for me — to finish Boneshaker.

This wasn't to say I didn't like the book.  In reality, I actually liked it the best of all the books we've read in the book club so far.  My husband and others in the book club pointed out that it's not "great," which I suppose is probably true, but even so, I thought it was quite good: lots of action, interesting characters, and a fairly compelling story.  In fact, I already bought the second book, Clementine, though heaven knows when I'll be able to get to it!

Boneshaker is one of only a few steampunk novels I've read, but I'm finding that I really enjoy the genre.  I don't know if this will always hold true, but the ones I've read are quite action-packed.  And I've noticed so far that, with the ones I've read at least, the main characters seem to usually be women.  A nice touch, considering the novels are historical, and a large percentage of historical fiction seems to feature men as main characters — history being the study of dead white men, and all that.

Suffice it to say that I'm enjoying the genre very much, and plan on reading more of it!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Amazon's Kindle Lending Library

I'm a couple of weeks late addressing this issue, since I was busy with NaNoWriMo in November, but I don't see any indication that anything has changed in the interim.  I'll have some more book reviews coming soon, but in the meantime I wanted to go ahead and blog about the issues cropping up since Amazon announced their Kindle Lending Library.

Essentially Amazon has — in many cases without publishers' or authors' consent — put a large number of popular titles into a lending library accessible only to Amazon Prime members.  Members can borrow one ebook a month for free, and keep it until they download another title — in other words, if they never download another title, they could theoretically keep that ebook indefinitely, without ever having paid for it.

As you can imagine, some people aren't very happy about this, especially since Amazon is doing it without permission.  There is an interesting story on the issue on NPR:

Kindle Offers Lending Libraries to Customers

From the story:

Amazon can't include just any book in its lending library. The six major publishing houses have negotiated a way of selling their eBooks to Amazon that precludes using them in a lending library without permission. Smaller houses who sell their eBooks wholesale to the retailer don't have that protection.

Rachel Deahl of Publishers' Weekly says Amazon approached publishing houses last summer with different deals. Most said no, but that didn't stop Amazon from including some of those publishers' titles without telling them.

Pretty scary, that Amazon is so powerful that they feel they can include ebooks in their library without telling the publishers — and, it seems, without offering any sort of compensation.

Here is a blog post on the issues with the Kindle Lending Library from a highly respected blog for writers, including a statement from the Author's Guild with information on what to do if your book is included without your consent.

Yet another example of Amazon throwing their considerable weight around and attempting to use their size to allow them to bully small publishers (and some big publishers too, sounds like).  There are good moral reasons why I object to Amazon!