Friday, February 15, 2008

holidays are made for reading

There are free books on the internet! I wanted to pass along this link - SF publishing house Tor is trying out this whole viral marketing thing, and the rewards they're offering are pretty good: a link to a downloadable .pdf full-text book every week! I just received my first book today (Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn, which I know nothing about), and next week's text is John Scalzi's Old Man's War - I've actually been meaning to pick up a novel of his, so I'm pretty excited about this one. So for all you SF fans out there, wants your email address, and in return they will give you weekly free e-books. I'm pretty okay with that.

This is also probably a good time to tell you all about my favorite sites to get free books on the internet. I've had these links on my side-bar for a while, but for those of you who are interested, LibriVox is an archive of free audiobooks, produced by volunteers, whose texts are in the public domain. For a fantastic free archive of such texts, check out Project Gutenburg, which has gotten much more tech-savvy and user-friendly since I first discovered it in, like, 1999. Both places are great for discovering interesting books written, you know, a hundred years ago - I particularly enjoy browsing the medical texts, which are mostly hilarious but frequently terrifying. Also included in the public domain are, of course, all the Victorian era classics - I've been listening to Emma recently while knitting, which has been fun.

I am woefully - woefully - behind on the booklog thing, and I may not return to it, especially since I don't know if anyone but me is interested in reading about what I'm reading. I also think my ability to read literature critically has declined in proportion to my increasing ability to read nonfiction and academic literature critically, so I feel that I have very little that's new or interesting to say about books I've read recently. However, for completeness' sake, here's a list (more or less) of the books I've read since the last booklog update - as I recall, all were pretty good and worth the time.

Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin, 2006.
The Invisible Sex, J. M. Adovasio, Olga Soffer, and Jake Page, 2007.
Salt: A World History, Mark Kurlansky, 2002.
Fledgling, Octavia E. Butler, 2005.
Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth, William Bryant Logan, 1995. (Truly excellent. Seriously. Completely entertaining and you will never look at dirt the same way again.)
Atonement, Ian McEwan, 2001.
Treatment Kind and Fair: Letters to a Young Doctor, Perri Klass, 2007.
Master and Commander, Patrick O'Brien, 1994.

I've also been reading The Bread Baker's Apprentice, by Peter Reinhart, which was a Christmas present (thank you, Lola and Peter!) and a fantastic reference on the art of bread-baking. I've made a few breads so far, including the pain à l'ancienne and the pain de campagne, both of which turned out to be pretty tasty.

I have an ungodly number of works in the "to be read" pile(s), especially after I stopped at a Half-Price Books yesterday out by my clinic in Mentor and left with 7 new books. (Total cost was something like $32, so it wasn't such a ridiculous splurge. But a splurge nonetheless. And here might be the time to mention how much I love buying used books: the sense of history that someone else has read this, the economics of it, the fact that it's effective recycling that works. Love it.) I picked up a Spanish-English dictionary, a pocket guide to Spanish verb conjugations (in anticipation of heading off to Central America next winter to learn Spanish) and some books I've been meaning to read for a while: Octavia E. Butler's Kindred, Toni Morrison's Paradise, and E. M. Forster's A Passage to India. Unfortunately, they had only really crappy knitting books, but you can't have everything.

title from "Things to Forget," Sarah Harmer. (YouTube has failed me on this one, unfortunately.)


twinsetellen said...

Nice to have you back blogging! Congratulations on finishing the scarf; luckily there is still plenty of winter in Cleveland.

Lola said...

I'm so glad you've been enjoying the bread book! Are you sending out samples?