Things That Make Me Smile No.130: eInk, eReaders, and Reading Pleasure

Kindle Paperwhite and Kobo AuraMost of my smiles are quick videos or songs I want to share. This week I thought I’d talk about something a little more complicated but which definitely deserves a place on my Things That Make Me Smile list. The idea came out of some discussions I had with readers at the Sands Reno Comic Con. If you’ve talked books with me before, though, you’ll know this is nothing new.

My smile today is all about eReaders. They are so much more than just another fancy gadget tech addicts want in their collection. eReaders are a path back to reading. They were for me, and there are many people out there who could benefit from them as well. Many beliefs about eReaders fail to capture what makes them worthwhile. So I’m going to tell the tale of my eReaders, and I’ve gone through a few at this point.

I don’t remember what year it was, but I came to the conclusion, based on reading up on it, that I wanted to try an eReader. This was long enough ago that you just had to grit your teeth and purchase sight unseen because no normal stores carried them. They were a hybrid object of technology and books that were not multipurpose and just seemed weird. My first was a Sony eReader that, while slow, worked just fine for reading books in a variety of eBook formats. My son has it now.

However, my reading ability had been dropping for a while. Reading made me exhausted and triggered migraines not because I didn’t enjoy it, and not because my glasses prescription had gone out of date. I have a condition called Irlen Syndrome. I’ve mentioned it a time or two, but the basics are extreme light sensitivity to the point where visual distortions occur. Think of reading when the letters run around the page like ants and you’ll get some sense of what it’s like. I’ve been getting worse because I have less energy to throw at translating (or trapping) the letters into words. So when I learned of eReaders, my ears perked up and I wondered if they could mean hope as a technological solution to my light issues.

Spoiler alert: It works. Continue reading

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5 Interesting Links for 09-22-2017

Note: Videos may auto start with sound so be prepared.

Origins (Food)

The history of various foods that are often assumed to be European because of how important they’ve become to those cuisines.

Resources (Photography)

The extensive Francis Firth collection of photographs documenting Victorian life and up to 1970, some 250,000 original prints, are now available online through technological and situational good luck: Continue reading

Posted in Art, Music, Crafts, etc., History, Interesting Links, Psychology, Research, Writing | Leave a comment

Because of Miss Bridgerton By Julia Quinn

Because of Miss Bridgerton By Julia QuinnA friend recommended this novel, and it looked good. I’m happy to report I was not disappointed.

The story begins in a comedic moment, and not the only one, where the two main characters are very much at odds. There is lovely repartee between Billie and George from the start, and it serves to ground the reader in a long-standing relationship between their two families.

Billie is a wonderful character both because of and despite her flaws. She knows she’s not perfect, and she is quick to lay the blame for events she’s been instrumental in on others’ shoulders. At the same time, she’s not the wild brat everyone seems to have decided is her role to play. Instead, she’s taken on traditionally male tasks to keep her beloved Aubrey Hall thriving while her younger brother grows up enough to take on the mantle of heir.

Do not be mistaken. This is a humorous romance, but at the same time, it takes on the gender politics of the era (late 1700s), and not just in the case of Billie. The responsibilities and opportunities offered young men of quality and how birth order determines their futures also plays a part. Continue reading

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Your Opinions Please: Hollywood Immortals

As I mentioned last week, I will be working a table at Sands/Reno Comic Con this Saturday and Sunday. I also suggested I might be doing a panel, which is where the opinions come in. I will be on a panel with Rene Averett, president of the Peter Wingfield (Methos on Highlander) fan club, and we will be talking about…of all things…Hollywood immortals.

Rene, who writes fantasy as Lillian I. Wolfe, is well versed in Highlander, obviously, and though I haven’t seen the series in years, I’ve started re-watching it. I have also watched other television programs (iZombie, for example) and movies that centered or touched on the immortal concept, so have some topics of my own to play with.

That said, I’m curious if you have any burning questions you’d like to see discussed. I’ll try and post a recap like I did for BayCon, though I may get too caught up in the discussion.

  1. Who is your favorite Hollywood immortal (barring gods and demi-gods as we’re focusing the panel on those who were once human, or at least believed themselves to be)?
  2. Is there a movie or TV show you feel addresses the immortal question in an interesting way? If we haven’t seen it, you might give us something fun to watch.
  3. If you had the choice, what kind of immortal would you be? The basics are vampire, werewolf, and zombie, but if there are others you prefer, let your imagination run wild.
  4. Do you fall into the “years weighing on you” category or the “infinite options” one for immortals or both?
  5. If you were turned into an immortal tomorrow, what do you think you’d regret the most, if anything?
  6. Anything else about immortals you want to get off your chest?

Write your answers to any or all questions in the comments. If you have a question you’d like to add, post it in the comments for everyone to answer if they please. Let’s have some fun with this.

Thanks for joining in.

The question of immortality is a pressing one throughout human history. I’ve touched on it in numerous short stories that have yet to see the light of day beyond my story in the anthology These Vampires Don’t Sparkle (of which an Amazon reviewer said: Margaret McGaffey Fisk takes us on a hard turn into strangely bleak but beautiful despair in “To Catch a Glimpse”) and my Parsec story in Triangulation 2004 (out of print), which offered a very different, and less bleak, form of immortality.

It’s a fun concept to explore, with nearly endless variations to inspire creativity and encourage pondering. This has never been truer since research into the other living species on this planet has shown the human concepts to be all too biased in favor of the frailty of our own species. I look forward to seeing your takes on the subject.

Posted in Appearances/Interviews, Creativity Exercises, Just for Fun, News | Leave a comment

5 Interesting Links for 09-15-2017

Science Fiction (Fiction)

A lovely story about acceptance, revolution, and love in a future imbued with magic and song.

Sleep (Life)

Some tips for converting to a consistent wake-up schedule with the caveat that not all of them will work for you. Continue reading

Posted in History, Indie Toolbox, Interesting Links, Life, Publishing, Research, Science Fiction, Short Stories | Leave a comment