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February 2009

Initial Take on the Kindle 2

Leif and I have had our Kindle 2s for all of 24 hours, so this is my initial take on it.

1) The "screen" is much better than you'd think. It literally looks like a piece of paper (the best piece of paper you've ever seen). I'm not sure how they do it, but it's amazing looking. The fact that you can change font sizes easily is great, and the "look this word up if you don't know it instantly" is really good as well.

2) It's very very comfy to lay in bed and read it, especially with the "next page" buttons on either side. You can have 1 hand petting the dog, and read with the other without worrying about losing your place.

3) Downloading books is extremely fast.

4) I tried the 14 day trial of Newsweek since I get a paper subscription. It's ok, I'm not sure if I'm going to cancel my print subscription though since there are some articles missing. Basically anything with big charts or something instead of just pulling out the charts, they pull out the article.

5) If you and your spouse each get one, you both can read the same books, but not the same magazine or newspaper subscriptions. So it's good and bad. The latter is annoying though since if I'm done reading a magazine I can just hand it over to Leif, but in bizarro-DRM world, you can't do that on the Kindle. But there is some measure of comfort that if I buy a book for $9.99 we both can read it.

6) It's very responsive to changing pages. The screen flashes when it turns a page which is a little annoying, but you get used to it. It's kind of nice to have some sort of feedback.

7) Getting book samples is very nice - I downloaded a few last night.

8) There are a TON of sites with free ebooks (like stuff in the public domain) that easily convert to Kindle format. Random House also just did a promo where they released 8 books free (I guess those authors had new books coming out). I downloaded all of them (all were in Kindle format), and the majority of reviews on Amazon were 4 or 5 stars.

9) It will be much nicer to take this on vacation instead of carrying several books with me. I'm going to Cozumel at the end of March and I'm most likely going to buy a few books I've been wanting to read and just take the Kindle instead of loading up my carryon. Depending on the trip, I can go through 2 books at least (last year in Bahamas when I was sick, I read 3 since I couldn't dive, and ended up switching books towards the end with someone else on the trip).

10) Well that would be a downside I guess, what I just said - you can't just switch books with someone if you want to unless they're also on your Kindle account.

I'm actually much much more impressed with it than I thought I'd be. The absolute biggest downside for me right now is that I have a few print books at home that I want to read, and I don't want to re-buy them in Kindle format. I wish Amazon would have some sort of discount, like if you bought the print book from them, you get the digital version either free or at a reduced price. Kind of like what Disney is doing now with DVDs - I've noticed that if you buy a Disney DVD now (maybe not on all of them, but on a bunch), you automatically get the digital version.

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How Many Books Have I Read?

Copied from Facebook, but it's interesting regardless.

The BBC believes most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up?...

Let's see, I've read 36 on the list below. Not bad!

1) Look at the list and put an '#' after those you have read.
2) Add a '+' to the ones you LOVE.
3) Star (*) those you plan on reading.
4) Tally your total at the bottom.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien #+
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling #+
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee #+
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell #
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman #
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens #

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott #
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller #
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien #
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger #
19 The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger #
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell #
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald #
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams #
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck #
29 Alice in Wonderland - Louis Carroll #
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame #

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis #
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis #
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini *
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden #
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne #

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown #
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez *
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery #
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood #
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding #+
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert #
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley #
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck #
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold *
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding #
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens #
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker *
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett #+
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens #
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White #+
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom *
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle *
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery #
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas *
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare #
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl #
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo #

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