Friday, November 30, 2007

Weekend Reads - 11/30/2007

Henri and I are both avoiding Christmas shipping.  We figure the best way to do that is to find a good book, pop some corn and light the fire.  Here is what we picked as our escape of choice.  Two prolific authors so we can always go back for more.

Read with us -- use Coupon Code FAV207 at checkout to receive the discounts.

 

Robust Romance

Click Here for a Discount on any of Janet Evanovich's Titles
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Wife for Hire -
by Evanovich, Janet

Hank Mallone knows he's in trouble when Maggie Toone agrees to pretend to be his wife in order to improve his rogue's reputation. Will his harebrained scheme to get a bank loan for his business backfire once Maggie arrives in his small Vermont town and lets the gossips take a look?

Maggie never expected her employer to be drop-dead handsome, but she's too intrigued by his offer to say no . . . and too eager to escape a life that made her feel trapped. The deal is strictly business, both agree, until Hank turns out to be every fantasy she ever had

 

Fantastic Fantasy

Click Here for a Discount on any of Jim Butcher's Titles
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Cursor's Fury - eBook edition
by Butcher, Jim

The power-hungry High Lord of Kalare has launched a rebellion against the aging First Lord, Gaius Sextus, who with the loyal forces of Alera must fight beside the unlikeliest of allies - the equally contentious High Lord of Aquitaine. Meanwhile, young Tavi of Calderon joins a newly formed legion under an assumed name even as the ruthless Kalare unites with the Canim, bestial enemies of the realm whose vast numbers spell certain doom for Alera. When treachery from within destroys the army's command structure, Tavi finds himself leading an inexperienced, poorly equipped legion - the only force standing between the Canim horde and the war-torn realm.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Electronic Reading vs Print Reading

nea logo The National Endowment for the Arts has concluded a three year study on reading trends in the US. The study, entitled To Read or Not to Read was released earlier this month.

The reports concludes that

  • voluntary reading rates are dropping
  • reading skills are "worsening" among teens
  • adults are becoming less proficient readers

Pretty grim news for people like me who's life is all about books and reading.

It was with some trepidation that I downloaded the 98 very dry, dull pages and began to read them. Just as I was beginning to nod off I came across this little gem:

2007 towerOpinions aside, there is a shortage of scientific research on the effects of screen reading—not only on long-term patterns of news consumption, but more importantly, on the development of young minds and young readers. (A good research question is whether the hyperlinks, pop-up windows, and other extra-textual features of screen reading can sharpen a child’s ability to perform sustained reading, or whether they impose unhelpful distractions.) (To Read or Not to Read p53)

That woke me up. I decided I didn't need to torture myself anymore and deleted the report from my machine.

There is an assumption here that I violently disagree with -- the only reading worth studying or reporting on is a printed page in a book.

So not true!

My email, RSS feeds and blogs provide me with more reading material in one day than I used to get in an entire month.

I could tell that this is all work related and not in any sense voluntary. I would be lying.

Everyday, I follow links that take me to very strange places. Who hasn't had the experience of becoming intrigued with some weird factoid and going off on a reading tangent totally unrelated to anything! In my particular case if someone sends me a Facebook link it is very possible that an hour later I am making new friends - after reading all about them. I don't even want to discuss YouTube!

Are they unhelpful distractions? Who knows for sure. What we do know (from experience) is that those distractions very often keep us doing sustained reading. AND we are in fact reading things we probably never would have had access to or read any other way. Say what you will, it is still reading. And it is not exactly unpopular.

Look around any Starbucks and count the number of people typing on laptops, PDAs and cellphones. Count those reading newspapers. If they are not reading, what exactly are they doing?

The NEA is alarmed and gloomy about reading in America. I am not. Call me a crazy optimist; but the evidence of my own eyes suggests that reading is alive and well and maybe even on the upstroke.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Discounted eBooks from eBooks About - November 28, 2007

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Fantasy and Romance top the list of this weeks picks -- could it be an attempt to escape the holidays?

Speaking of holidays -- How about a gift certificate for the eBook readers in your life? Contact Gigi for details

This week coupon code is CW49V. Use it at checkout to get discounts on these books!
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Redeemed in Darkness eBook edition
Morgan, Alexis
Alexis Morgan's sizzling paranormal Paladin series continues with a courageous female warrior who can't resist the man of her dreams -- even if he is her sworn enemy.... A fiercely beautiful female leader from the Other world, Lusahn q'Arc can't forget the Paladin warrior she met in battle -- his chiseled body and piercing, thoughtful eyes still haunt her dreams. While investigating the smuggling of the mysterious blue stones used to light her shadowy world . .
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List Price : $i5.99
Your price $5.12 (Using your 10% discount and $ .27 in eBook Reward points)
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Quiet Leadership eBook edition
by: Rock, David
Improving the performance of your employees involves one of the hardest challenges in the known universe: changing the way they think. In constant demand as a coach, speaker, and consultant to companies around the world, David Rock has proven that the secret to leading people (and living and working with them) is found in the space between their ears. "If people are being paid to think," he writes, "isn't it time the business world found out what the thing doing the work, the brain, is all about?"
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List Price : $10.22
Your price $ .54 (Using your 10% discount and $points3 in eBook Reward points)
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A Week from Sunday eBook Edition
by: Garlock, Dorothy
Adrianna Moore has just had a double shock: the death of her father and the discovery that he has left his entire estate to his lawyer. The lawyer, a repulsive social climber, tells her that to regain her inheritance, she must marry him A WEEK FROM SUNDAY. Adrianna takes off, driving desperately to a new life. Caught in a violent rainstorm, she collides with an oncoming truck. Quinn Baxter. . .
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List Price : $9.99
Your price $8.54 (Using your 10% discount and $ .45 iin eBook Reward points)
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OVERCOMING OUR RACISM eBook edition
by: Sue, Derald Wing
This extraordinary book written by Derald Wing Sue a highly-regarded, academic and author helps readers understand and combat racism in themselves. It defines racism not only as extreme acts of hatred we often read about from others, but as "any attitude, action or institutional structure or social policy that subordinates a person or group because of their color." This landmark work offers an antidote to this pervasive social problem.
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List Price : $22.95
Your price $19.62 (Using your 10% discount and $1.03 in eBook Reward points)
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Snakehead eBook edition
by: Horowitz, Anthony
What goes up must come down, and when we last saw Alex Rider, he was as up as can be in outer space. When he crash lands off the coast of Australia, the Australian Secret Service recruits him to infiltrate one of the ruthless gangs operating across South East Asia. Known as snakeheads, the gangs smuggle drugs, weapons, and worst of all, people
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List Price : $17.99
Your price $15.38 (Using your 10% discount and $ .81 in eBook Reward points)
Our guarantee: If you have bought one of these titles from eBooks About Eveyrthing in the last 15 days we will gladly rebate the difference; just contact us

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

G1G1 - The Enlightened Gift

It started simply as a good idea and a catchy phrase.

Nicholas Negroponte had the good idea: a cheap laptop for the poor children of the world that was loaded with software and connected to the Internet.

His catchy phrase: "the $100 laptop."

In 2005 Negorponte with a little help from his friends created the The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) organization. The goal: to give every primary school aged child in the world a rugged, Internet connected, low-power consuming laptop.

It took three years and some pretty complicated twists olpcto achieve the goal. But it is a reality and called the XO laptop.

Admittedly, it isn't exactly a hundred dollar laptop (it's closer to $200) but it is rugged, Internet connected and doesn't require electricity.

If you are me, you probably think that the $100 laptop is a great idea but why stop there? Why confine the idea to children? Why not include teens and adults?

What about a OLFE (One Laptop For Everyone) organization?

This is perhaps and example of a good idea that lacks a catchy phrase because to date no such organization has developed.

Fortunately, good ideas tend to be contagious. Earlier this year Intel and ASUS (a computer maeee pc 2nufacturer) announced a commercial version of the $100 laptop, the ASUS Eee PC. Four versions are currently being sold at prices ranging from $191.52 to $639.36.

Both of these machines use some interesting technology; if you are interested visit the OLPC or ASUS sites.

As much as I love technology, I am much more intrigued by good ideas. And the OLPC organization has a terrific one for the holiday: G1G1.

Get 1, Give 1 is a gift idea with real punch: get a computer for your kid(s) and give one to a child in a developing nation (Rwanda, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Haiti and Mongolia). This is not your classic "two-fer" deal since both machines cost you $399, but it is still a great deal -- a charitable contribution and a Christmas present you won't have to wrap.

To participate click on this link: One learning child. One connected child. One laptop at a time.

Since November 12th, OLPC has been offering a limited-time Give One Get One program in the United States and Canada. During Give One Get One, you can donate the revolutionary XO laptop to a child in a developing nation, and also receive one for the child in your life in recognition of your contribution.

Of the $399, you get credit for a $200 charitable contribution. Next April you can deduct that from your taxable income. If your tax rate is, say, 20%, that's a savings of $40, which brings the actual price of the XO laptop you receive down to $183.95. You even get a nice email from Nicholas Negroponte, founder of OLPC, thanking you for your contribution.

This is the one gift guaranteed to enrich at least two kids -- how cool is that!

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Monday, November 26, 2007

All Through the Night eBook edition

 

For those of us who have followed the series, All Through the Night is like putting on your favorite old flannel shirt and settling in by a roaring fire --warm and comfortable.

If you are steeped in the Troubleshooter mythology, this is a feel good fix until the next Troubleshooters installment. 

If you are not steeped in the mythology, do yourself a favor skip the rest of this piece and go buy  The Unsung Hero.   I'm betting you will read the next ten volumes as quickly as you can.

Troubleshooter fans, however, will want to head to this wedding along with the always entertaining Sam and Alyssa.

Before it is over you will catch up with all your favorite characters.  Other interesting developments:  Adam Wyndam returns; Dolphina finds a beau; and you will find out who's pregnant now.  You will also catch a glimpse of the next generation.

Brockmann writes great romantic suspense.  Her dialog is always fresh, quick and funny.  Her plots riveting.  Over the last few years, her characters have become so multi-dimensional that I have a hard time remembering that they are not "real" people.

This is definitely not one of her best efforts. It is really nothing more than a cheap shot aimed directly at Brockmann fans.  It is pretty obvious that her publishers had her "throw a little something together for the holidays". 

The wedding is an obvious and thinly veiled excuse for an FBI, SEAL Team Sixteen, and Troubleshooters, Incorporated reunion that will (hopefully) sell a lot of books. And they are probably right.  After all, I shelled out the dough.

In case you are wondering it was worth buying just to find out that Jules and Robin have a new love song (finally)! Come on, admit it, "Hooked on a Feeling" needed to be replaced!

 

It’s Christmastime in Boston, and this year the silver bells will be wedding bells as FBI agent Jules Cassidy ties the knot with the man of his dreams, Hollywood heartthrob Robin Chadwick.

The pair plan a quiet, intimate ceremony, to be witnessed by family and close friends from the FBI, SEAL Team Sixteen, and Troubleshooters, Incorporated, including Sam Starrett and Alyssa Locke. But the holiday season brings more to the happy couple than they expect.

A waterfall coming through their kitchen ceiling, a bat colony in the attic, old family tensions . . . even an international incident can’t dampen their spirits. But add to that a parade of unexpected guests, including a reporter looking for a scoop, an ex-lover hell-bent on causing trouble, and a dangerous stalker, and suddenly the wedding is poised to unravel in chaos.

But nothing will stop Jules and Robin from getting their happy ending. . . 

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Discounted eBooks at eBooks About Everything - November 15, 2007

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This is one of my favorite weekly tasks -- finding out what you want to read. This week has a wondeful mix of fiction, truth that may be stranger than fiction and a little self improvement.

Use coupon code A9JG4 at checkout to receive these special discounted prices.
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Boom!: Voices of the Sixties Personal Reflections on the '60s and Today eBook edition
by Brokaw, Tom
One of America’s premier journalists gives us an epic portrait of another defining era in America as he brings to life the tumultuous Sixties, a fault line in American history. The voices and stories of both famous people and ordinary citizens come together as Brokaw takes us on a memorable journey through a remarkable time, exploring how individual lives and the national mindset were affected by a controversial era and showing how the aftershocks of the Sixties continue to resound in our lives today.
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List Price : $17.95
Your price $15.35 (Using your 10% discount and $ .81 in eBook Reward points)
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Men Made In America Mega-Bundle 2 eBook Edition
by:Campbelll, Bethany
The Men Made in America series continues with more heroes from all fifty states, including a Montana sheriff, a journalist-turned-rancher in Arizona, a photographer from Michigan, and much more!
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List Price : $39.60
Your price $33.86 (Using your 10% discount and $1.78 iin eBook Reward points)
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Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's eBook edition
by: Robison, John Elder
This book is a wild rollercoaster ride through John Robison’s life--from troubled teenage prankster to successful employment in electronics, music, and classic cars. A kindly professor introduced him to electrical engineering, which led to jobs where he found techie soulmates that were like him
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List Price : $17.95
Your price $15.35 (Using your 10% discount and $ .81 in eBook Reward points)
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Elves of Cintra eBook edition
by: Brooks, Terry
Across the ruined landscape that is America–hopelessly poisoned, plague-ridden, burned, and besieged by demon armies bent on exterminating all mortal life–two pilgrims have been summoned to serve the embattled cause of good. . .
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List Price : $17.95
Your price $15.35 (Using your 10% discount and $ .81 in eBook Reward points)
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Self Mastery eBook edition
by: Coue, Emile
One of the best self improvement books ever written. For the ambitious beginner and experienced individual, become the person you inspire to be with the help of this book. Easily navigate between individual chapters with the embedded bookmarks for hassle free reading. Works perfectly with mobipocket reader & mobile reading devices.
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List Price : $19.99
Your price $17.09 (Using your 10% discount and $ .90 in eBook Reward points)
Our guarantee: If you have bought one of these titles from eBooks About Eveyrthing in the last 15 days we will gladly rebate the difference; just contact us

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Eat, Drink and Be Merry

Roasted turkey

Like many Americans  I am on vacation for the next five days as we observe Thanksgiving.

Our family (all 25 or so of us) gathers in Palm Springs for five days of food, card games, political debate, shopping, reading by the pool, going to the movies and just hangin' out on the patio.

The weather forecast is sunny and in the mid-70s. 

Of all the things I am personally thankful for, the weather is up there near the top of the list.

Which brings me to the real point of this particular holiday -- being thankful. 

I feel inordinately lucky and very blessed.  I have a wealth of love as represented by family and friends.  We are all healthy.  My work is fun for me and very satisfying.  There is a roof over my head, food on the table and a little cash in my pocket.  I am thankful for all of these things!

For those of you who observe this holiday - be safe and enjoy. 

I'll 'see you' on Monday.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Amazon Kindle has arrived

Yesterday at 9:51 EST (with much fanfare) Amazon unveiled it's own version of an e-Ink based eBook device -- the Kindle.  Obviously, I haven't seen it but my mailbox has been filled with news and opinions. 

There is wide agreement that the Kindle has some very cool features.  Particularly noted is that it is WiFi equipped.  You can download a book or the latest RSS feed on the go --  anytime, anywhere.  You are untied from your computer and free to roam.  The other popular feature is the built in thumb keyboard which makes searching easier.

Yesterday at 11:24 PST I signed on to Amazon and with "One Click" ordered my very own Kindle.

As the discussion on blogs and newsgroups heated up I saw some critical items as well.  Like, "it is ugly."kindlecapture  I have to agree. There were also complaints about using a rather clumsy scroll wheel to get around -- no touch screen.

The first criticism that really made an impression, however, was a small item about formats.

Evidently, If you have documents you own and want to read on the device, you have to email those documents to Amazon who will convert them so that you can add them to your Kindle.  Amazon is glad to do this 'for a small fee.

Huh?  That sounds to me like entering an entirely closed universe.  Been there; done that; don't want to do it again.

I knew that the Kindle uses Mobipocket eBook files.  This was the main reason that I found the device so attractive;  I have a store full of great books in Mobi format.  But that particular item about document conversion sent up a big red warning flag.  I needed to find out more.

One of the most obvious places to go is MobileRead. and once there, I found Bob Russell's excellent piece about the Kindle which I read with great interest.

Here is the paragraph that stopped me cold . . .

"You won't even be able to read your purchase of a DRM'd e-book from Mobipocket sellers. That seems to be an innocent statement at first - you can only read non-DRM'd Mobipocket format on the Kindle. But think about it. It's a power play. So like I said earlier, even though Amazon owns Mobipocket, Amazon has gone out of their way to make sure that every book you buy for the Kindle stays there, and that you can't buy anywhere else. If you buy the more common Mobipocket formatted (DRM'd) e-book, you can't read it on the Kindle."

Wait a minute!  I can't even buy Mobipocket formatted eBooks from my own store and read them on the Kindle?

OK -- Enough said. 

Yesterday at 4:43 PST I canceled the order.

 

Monday, November 19, 2007

One Drop of Blood (eBook edition)

In Bliss Broyard  meets long lost relatives and graphically discovers that racial prejudice is a two way street.

Just before he died, Bliss and her brother were told that their father was not French as they had always believed but in fact a "passing" black.

Race, as experienced in the United States is a fascinating subject. One with personal meaning for me. You see, growing up I had the experience (more than once) of being a member of the only white family within a hundred mile radius.

Our family was a like the preverbal sore thumb -- we stuck out!  My Father's blue eyes were a special kind of oddity that evoked hundreds of comments and some very odd rumors.

As an adult I have come to understand that racial stereotyping is the end result of millions of comments and thousands of odd rumors.  T

This riveting book is part memoir, part genealogy and part history.  The chapters chronicle her personal experiences and feelings as she traces her "roots" and meets her extended family.

Broyard does a masterful job of recreating the history of New Orleans and the Creole people. This is a thought provoking and sad tale of race, bigotry and greed.  The story of her family is told within the context of American history from the Slave Rebellions through the Civil War, into Reconstruction and the Northern migration.

Anatole Broyard’s own words eloquently describe how I felt about this book:  "The more I like a book, the more reluctant I am to turn the page. Lovers, even book lovers, tend to cling. No one-night stands or "reads" for them."

The publisher says:

Two months before he died of cancer, renowned literary critic Anatole Broyard called his grown son and daughter to his side, intending to reveal a secret he had kept all their lives and most of his own: he was black. But even as he lay dying, the truth was too difficult for him to share, and it was his wife who told Bliss that her WASPy, privileged Connecticut childhood had come at a price.

Ever since his own parents, New Orleans Creoles, had moved to Brooklyn and began to "pass" in order to get work, Anatole had learned to conceal his racial identity. As he grew older and entered the ranks of the New York literary elite, he maintained the facade.

Now his daughter Bliss tries to make sense of his choices and the impact of this revelation on her own life. She searches out the family she never knew in New York and New Orleans, and considers the profound consequences of racial identity.

With unsparing candor and nuanced insight, Broyard chronicles her evolution from sheltered WASP to a woman of mixed race ancestry.

Friday, November 16, 2007

National Book Awards eBooks

Congratulations to the National Book Award Winners

Young People's Literature

Sherman Alexie

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Little, Brown & Company

The story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live

Poetry

Robert Hass

Time and Materials (Ecco/HarperCollins)

The poems in Robert Hass's new collection—his first to appear in a decade—are grounded in the beauty and energy of the physical world, and in the bafflement of the present moment in American culture. This work is breathtakingly immediate, stylistically varied, redemptive, and wise. His familiar landscapes are here—San Francisco, the Northern California coast, the Sierra high country—in addition to some of his oft-explored themes: art; the natural world; the nature of desire; the violence of history; the power and limits of language; and, as in his other books, domestic life and the conversation between men and women. New themes emerge as well, perhaps: the essence of memory and of time.

Nonfiction

Tim Weiner

Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA (Doubleday)

For the last sixty years, the CIA has managed to maintain a formidable reputation in spite of its terrible record, burying its blunders in top-secret archives. Its mission was to know the world. When it did not succeed, it set out to change the world. Its failures have handed us, in the words of President Eisenhower, “a legacy of ashes.” Now Pulitzer Prize–winning author Tim Weiner offers the first definitive history of the CIA—and everything is on the record. LEGACY OF ASHES is based on more than 50,000 documents, primarily from the archives of the CIA itself, and hundreds of interviews with CIA veterans, including ten Directors of Central Intelligence. It takes the CIA from its creation after World War II, through its battles in the cold war and the war on terror, to its near-collapse after 9/ll.

Fiction

Denis Johnson

Tree of Smoke (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

This is the story of Skip Sands—spy-in-training, engaged in Psychological Operations against the Vietcong—and the disasters that befall him thanks to his famous uncle, a war hero known in intelligence circles simply as the Colonel. This is also the story of the Houston brothers, Bill and James, young men who drift out of the Arizona desert into a war in which the line between disinformation and delusion has blurred away. In its vision of human folly, and its gritty, sympathetic portraits of men and women desperate for an end to their loneliness, whether in sex or death or by the grace of God, this is a story like nothing in our literature. This is the only title not available in eBook format. FS&G has only published one title in 2007 as an eBook. . . Remember (if you decide to actually buy paper) to support your local bookseller

Thursday, November 15, 2007

eBooks About Everything and RSS feeds

Since we added the Subscribe to RSS Feeds tab in the eBooks About Everything store, my friends and family keep asking to explain RSS to them. Here are a few of the questions with my answers.

Q: What does RSS mean? A: RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary.

Q: What does that mean and what does it do? A: The basic function of an RSS feed is to bring you news headlines. Instead doing a check of your favorite new sites or blogs you can anonymously "subscribe" so that as new information is added the headline is sent out as news.

Q: Why should I care, what's in it for me? A: They save you lots of energy and time. Instead of hunting down sites and looking at pages of information; the RSS feed gives you “just the facts” in headline form. For example, I read many newspapers and blogs everyday – the New York Times, Salon, the Wall Street Journal, the XML report and Publishers Weekly. I used to have to remember to go check them; now I sit back and wait for the news comes to me.

Q: How do I see the RSS feed? A: Use either a reader or an email service. Popular free readers include The Google Reader, Bloglines and SharpReader. A great service is NewsGator and 29.95 or you can use a free services like SendMeRss .

Q: What do you use? A: I have traditionally used Google products – the Google Reader and Feedburner. I prefer email delivery; I want the news to come to my inbox so I am currently testing both NewsGator and SendMeRss. For a real live test of how Feedburner works go to the right side of the blog that says Subscribe via email; enter your email address and give it a road test.

Q: What news does eBooks About Everything put into their RSS feeds? A: Our 57 feeds are updated each morning (at 1:00am) with information about the newest titles added to the store overnight. If you are interested in a special topic like math, education, fiction etc. just subscribe to the appropriate RSS feed to see what eBooks came in while you slept.

For novices who want more info Youtube has a great video on RSS:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Discounted eBooks - November 14, 2007

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Here are the eBooks you asked for last week. Everything from the Bible to Madonna with a little Rebellion and Death thrown in; evidently some of you are getting read to make Holiday gifts. . . To get your discount on these fabulous tiltes use coupon code CG82N at check out.

Our guarantee: If you have bought one of these titles from eBooks About Everything iin the last 15 days we will gladly offer you a rebate on the book; just contact us
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The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible eBook edition
by Jacobs, A. J.
Raised in a secular family but increasingly interested in the relevance of faith in our modern world, A.J. Jacobs decides to dive in headfirst and attempt to obey the Bible as literally as possible for one full year. He vows to follow the Ten Commandments. To be fruitful and multiply. To love his neighbor. But also to obey the hundreds of less publicized rules: to avoid wearing clothes made of mixed fibers; to play a ten-string harp; to stone adulterers
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List Price : $l6.99
Your price $14.53 (Using your 10% discount and $ .76 in eBook Reward points)
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Fires of Jubliee eBook Edition
by: Oates, Stephen B.
The bloody slave rebellion led by Nat Turner in Virginia in 1831, and the savage reprisals that followed, shattered beyond repair the myth of the contented slave and the benign master and intensified the forces of change that would plunge America into the bloodbath of the Civil War.
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List Price : $9.95
Your price $7.66 (Using your 10% discount and $ .40 iin eBook Reward points)
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Madonna: Like an Icon
by: O'Brien, Lucy
A groundbreaking biography that finally solves the mystery at the heart of Madonna's chameleonlike existence. Extensively researched and perceptively written by journalist Lucy O'Brien, it explores the complex personality and legendary drive that has made Madonna the most famous female pop artist of our time
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List Price : $19.95
Your price $17.96 (Using your 10% discount and $ .81 in eBook Reward points)
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Creation in Death eBook edition
by: Robb, J. D.
NYPSD Lieutenant Eve Dallas keeps the streets of a near-future New York City safe in this extraordinary series. But even she makes mistakes, and is haunted by those she couldn't save-and the killers she couldn't capture. When the body of a young brunette is found in East River Park, artfully positioned and marked by signs of prolonged and painful torture, Eve is catapulted back to a case nine years earlier.
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List Price : $25.95
Your price $19.97 (Using your 10% discount and $1.05 in eBook Reward points)
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Bath & Body Recipes: Crafts & Crafting: Make Your Own Lotions, Creams, Colognes, Edible Lotions, Sun Tan Lotions, Baby Wipes, Hair Gels, Shampoos
by: Mikos, Tracey
A highly informative, detail-filled eGuide by popular writer Tracey Mikos,author of The Candle Book and Making Your Own Potpourri. Contents: Introduction, Descriptions of Essential Oil and many Recipes
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List Price : $8.95
Your price $7.65 (Using your 10% discount and .40 in eBook Reward points)

Be sure to add your discount request to our NEW google group Go to Discounts on Demand and tell us what you want to see discounted next week

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Year of Living Biblically eBook edition

Up front, you have to know that it is unlikely that any one but A.J. Jacobs could get me to pick up a secular book about the Bible. As a PK (Preacher’s Kid), all I can say is “been there; done that.” But a book by A. J. Jacobs is different.

I discovered him a couple of summers ago at the beach. My aunt Amélie handed me A. J. Jacob’s, The Know-It-All a charming and funny memoir about the author’s year of reading the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica – all 30-some volumes. She said, “You have to read this book!" No one argues with 'Auntie 'M'. . .

When I heard that Jacobs had written about a new set of books – the 60+ books of the Bible, I was intrigued. I read the advance reviews of The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible and decided to put aside my prejudice and give it a try. I read the whole thing over the weekend. And last night I called 'Auntie 'M' to tell her “You have to read this book!

First, I am convinced that Jacob’s is married to a saint! And frankly, I am inclined to recommend the book just so people will buy it to support Julie and their three kids. I’m not sure I could tolerate a living with a perfectly normal neurotic guy, never mind, a man who grows a bushy beard, starts eating strange things, builds tents in my living room, changes his diet and clothing and refuses to take photos. Julie, in my opinion, is the personification of tolerance!

But there are actually many other reasons to read this book.

It is a brilliant analysis of how an ancient book fares in the modern world. It might be easier to read if you know something about the Bible in the first place, but I doubt it is necessary. The fact that Jacobs is a secular Jew and modern agnostic gives this memoir a unique and refreshing perspective. His naiveté is integral to the experience; it saves him from a certain amount of cynicism.

Through out the books I was struck by the respect Jacobs gives the people he meets along his journey: the snake-handling preacher, the Gay Bible study group, a bunch of drunken Hassidic Jews, the curator of a creationist museum, his former uncle. Yes, he meets some off beat and unusual characters and yet he never gives into taking cheap shots, ridicule or judgment.

As Jacobs goes through the year he changes. The very act of trying to live biblically eventually transforms the way he thinks and acts. He faithfully chronicles this change with honesty and a degree of wonder.

There were three main things I carried away from the experience:
  • a whole new understanding of how impossible it is to be a true Fundamentalist
  • how easy it is to use the Bible to “prove” almost anything
  • a new appreciation for the profound and changing effects of spiritual rituals like prayer.

All I can say is: You have read this book!

From the publisher:

From the bestselling author of The Know-It-All comes a fascinating and timely exploration of religion and the Bible.

Raised in a secular family but increasingly interested in the relevance of faith in our modern world, A.J. Jacobs decides to dive in headfirst and attempt to obey the Bible as literally as possible for one full year. He vows to follow the Ten Commandments. To be fruitful and multiply. To love his neighbor. But also to obey the hundreds of less publicized rules: to avoid wearing clothes made of mixed fibers; to play a ten-string harp; to stone adulterers.

The resulting spiritual journey is at once funny and profound, reverent and irreverent, personal and universal and will make you see history's most influential book with new eyes. Jacobs's quest transforms his life even more radically than the year spent reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica for The Know-It-All. His beard grows so unruly that he is regularly mistaken for a member of ZZ Top. He immerses himself in prayer, tends sheep in the Israeli desert, battles idolatry, and tells the absolute truth in all situations - much to his wife's chagrin.

Throughout the book, Jacobs also embeds himself in a cross-section of Communities that take the Bible literally. He tours a Kentucky-based creationist museum and sings hymns with Pennsylvania Amish. He dances with Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn and does Scripture study with Jehovah's Witnesses. He discovers ancient biblical wisdom of startling relevance. And he wrestles with seemingly archaic rules that baffle the twenty-first-century brain.

Jacobs's extraordinary undertaking yields unexpected epiphanies and challenges. A book that will charm readers both secular and religious, The Year of Living Biblically is part Cliff Notes to the Bible, part memoir, and part look into worlds unimaginable. Thou shalt not be able to put it down!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Norman Mailer

By now you have probably heard of Norman Mailers death and have seen or heard several pieces about his life.

The New York Times had a wonderful piece -- Mailer, Towering Writer With a Matching Ego, Dies at 84 which I highly recommend.

My favorite is the statement by Random House president and publisher Gina Centrello:

"Random House mourns the passing of Norman Mailer, whom we have published since 1984. To us, he was more than an American master and one of the greatest writers of our time. He was a consummate professional, who stimulated us with his passion and ideas and charmed us with his wit and warmth. Whenever he came into our offices, whether to deliver a manuscript or discuss a book jacket, he brought a bottomless love of literature and the written word. We felt privileged to know Norman Mailer the man, who adored his wife and children, who was kind and generous to his friends and colleagues, and who was a working writer until the very end."

That is an obituary to strive for.

Rest In Peace, Norman Mailer.

Friday, November 9, 2007

eBook Reader - My Cybook is here! (Continued)

You didn’t really think I would be able to wait until the weekend to download a book, did you? Of course not! I had to buy at least one book.

The entire process (including looking for books) took less than five minutes. It was the absolute easiest time I have ever had putting an eBook on a new device! Bottom line, I feel like I’m in a Staples ad: That was easy!

When I finished yesterday I had been pushing buttons in an effort to figure things out. Now it was time to actually download a book.

  • On your Mark: One of the things I discovered, sort of by accident, was the Mobipocket PID for the device. In case you are wondering here is what you do to find it: open any Mobipocket demo book; push the 2nd button on the left; scroll down the table to the Advanced tab; then scroll down to the About tab. Voilà (had to get at least one French word in here)!

  • Get Ready: Connected the USB cord to my laptop, plugged the other end into the device and switched the Cybook on. Before long I was notified that I had new hardware – Cybook Gen 3. Just to check, I pulled up the file manager and it there it was – drive G on my machine. So far so good!

  • Go: Clicked on my handy eBooks About Everything icon, browsed the new releases put two Books -- Never Enough by Joe McGinniss and Telling Secrets by Frederick Buechner-- in my shopping cart and checked out. They showed very quickly on my bookshelf and I was ready to download them into the My eBooks file. Next, I fired up the Mobipocket reader and it found and registered the Cybook device in seconds. After that, it was a simple matter of importing the files into the reader and finally, storing them on the device.

As I started to read, using the big button on the right side of the device to change pages took a little “getting used to.” My habit is to turn the page on the left side or by using a button in the middle of the device. But getting used to this new method didn’t take as long as I would have thought.

I experimented with font size, type family, page layout and lookup mode. I also figured out that once in a book, the center of the big button would take me to the eBook menu so I didn’t have to fumble around with those little buttons on the side.

Over the weekend I will experiment with RSS and eNews feeds and give the device the acid test.

The acid test? Will my Mom be able to use it?

All in all – this has been a good experience and I am a happy customer. Sure there are a few changes and/or improvements I would like to see, but they are relatively minor and do not impact my overall satisfaction. Good job, Bookeen!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

eBook Reader - My Cybook is here!

Yesterday afternoon I got my Cybook . I made a very adult decision to wait until this weekend to actually play with it. Monday is a holiday and I should have some extra time. Right now, I have things to do, emails to answer, blogs to write and meetings to attend.

Mistake 1: I had to at least open the box and plug it in. After all, it does take three hours to charge.

Mistake 2: I picked it up -- you know, just to move it. I knew it was light but I struck with how light 6.3 oz. really is!

Mistake 3: Since it was in my hand, it seem logical to turn it on -- just to see if it really works. I am happy to report that it works.

The system came up quickly and all of the sudden I was in the Library -- thirty six preloaded files. The view was wonderful: clean, crisp and easy to read. Made me remember why eInk is such a big deal even if it isn't backlit.

And that was it. . .

I started playing. First, the big button on the front. It acts as a combine directional navigation and "Enter" key. Pretty miminalistic but effective. I found six small buttons on the sides (4 on the left and 2 on the right) with tiny unreadable (to these old eyes) symbols on them. I am quite intrigued by them especially, since they remain the "mystery" buttons on the device.

The half page quick start guide made a point of telling me that all would be clear if I read the User's guide. Despite my basic notion that anything that requires a manual is badly designed, I was actually willing to give it a whirl. So I scrolled around the Library looking for it.

Found music files, book files and picture files including one entitled "How eInk Works". No user guide! I went back through the titles 3 times, just in case I missed it.

Took a quick detour to email Bookeen asking about the User Guide. Got a very quick response (impressive) telling me that they would be sending it out to me today in eBook form.

Back to the eBook. Figured I would just start pushing the buttons and find out what happens. So this is what I found out:

  • one button takes you to the Library;
  • one button allows you to navigate in a book (start, find page, change layout, change font and add bookmarks);
  • one seems to control music.
  • The other three? Who knows? Guess I will have to wait for the user guide.
The device does not have a touch screen or stylus and I found that I actually miss them. I am in such a habit of poking and sliding around a screen that it felt strange not to be able to. Very disconcerting to me (a creature of habit).

I dipped into all the files on the device. . . pretty cool stuff. The thing that impressed me the most is that the page change is fast and smooth. No waiting, no ghosting and no jumpiness.

So that is my first take. Unfortunately, I really am out of time: email is stacking up, phones are ringing and I am due in a meeting shortly. Obviously, I haven't tried to download a book yet; that is a task for later (maybe that can wait until this weekend). I'll let you know how it goes.

My overall first impression? Positive. . .

To be continued

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Discounted eBooks - November 7, 2007

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Music is a hot topic as we head into the Holiday season and here are two of the best eBooks on the topic; incredibly different and both entirely riveting.

Catch the new Baldacci boook and the brand new eBook edition of Everlasting at a great special price. Finally, The Day I Stopped Being Pretty is one of our most requested titles ever; after reading it, I know why!

Use coupoun code A7BW3 when checking out this week to receive the additional 10% discount. Happy Reading!

Slash eBook edition
Slash, Hudson, Saul, Bozza, Anthony
From one of the greatest rock guitarists of our era comes a memoir that redefines sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. It is also an intensely personal account of struggle and triumph: as Guns N' Roses journeyed to the top. . . Slash is everything the man, the myth, the legend, inspires: it's funny, honest, inspiring, jaw-dropping . . . and, in a word, excessive.
More Info
List Price : $23.95
Your price $18.43 (Using your 10% discount and $ .97 points1 in eBook Reward points)
eBook cover
Stone Cold eBook Edition
by: Baldacci, David
Oliver Stone and the Camel Club are back in their most dangerous adventure yet, a war on two fronts. Casino king Jerry Bagger from The Clooectors is hunting Annabelle Conroy who conned him out of millions. Stone and his colleagues Reuben, Milton, and Caleb marshal all their resources to protect Annabelle.
More Info
List Price : $18.99
Your price $14.61 (Using your 10% discount and $ .77 iin eBook Reward points)
eBook cover
The Day I Stopped Being Pretty eBook edition
by: Lofton, Rodney
This raw and gritty story spans twenty-seven years as Rodney faces racism, homophobia, rape and coping with being HIV positive. It is a story that shows the face of growing up black, living gay and loving positive. . .Triumph over adversity and the ability to find the love we all search for, self love.
More Info
List Price : $9.99
Your price $8.54 (Using your 10% discount and $ .45 in eBook Reward points)
eBook cover
Everlasting eBook edition
by: Woodiwiss, Kathleen E.
"The first lady of the genre" (historical romance) returns with her most breathtaking masterwork to date-a glorious celebration of a secret love that is dangerous, irresistible, forbidden. . . Abrielle is betrothed to a monster. And the well-being of everyone she cares for demands that she honor her promise.
More Info
List Price : $19.95
Your price $15.35 (Using your 10% discount and $ .81in eBook Reward points)
eBook cover
MUSICOPHILIA
by:Sacks, Oliver
Oliver Sacks’s compassionate, compelling tales of people struggling to adapt to different neurological conditions have fundamentally changed the way we think of our own brains, and of the human experience. In Musicophilia, he examines the powers of music through the individual experiences of patients, musicians, and everyday people—
More Info
List Price : $17.95
Your price $13.82 (Using your 10% discount and $ .73 in eBook Reward points)
Our guarantee: If you have bought one of these titles in the last 15 days we will gladly offer you a coupon for the difference between this price and the price you paid; just contact us.

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Tell us what books to discount Visit this group and make a suggestion . . .we want your comments and suggestions!


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Net Neutrality - That’s freedom, Baby!

Internet access has always been the ultimate in democracy and freedom of speech and choice. You can use virtually any available application, equipment or service to gain access to almost any content.

Bloggers have access to the same potential audience as the New York Times. Artists of all kinds have equal opportunities to find an audience based on their talent and drive and not on money or privilege. Two students in a dorm room with a good idea, a little ingenuity and some skill can create a multi-billion dollar company. That’s freedom, Baby!

And it gets better since every internet user is pretty much guaranteed access to any site they want, whenever they want it and at the fastest available speed. It doesn’t matter if you log on to Google or eBooks About Everything, the internet access is equal.

There are always those who are suspicious of freedom. People who want to control a good thing – for profit, for morality or just because they think they can. So it is not surprising that big telephone and cable companies (AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner) have set their sites on controlling access to the internet and its content.

These (and other) big companies lobby the Federal Government every day for control of internet access, speed and content. In essence they want to transform the freeway model of networking to a toll road version. They will magnanimously allow the government to collect part of the toll if they can control who gets to use the fast lanes.

But some of us are fighting back. A large number of internet pioneers. industry leaders, bloggers and ordinary citizens believe the internet was created provide equal access and that the access should remain equal. We actually believe that the world does not need one more thing controlled by Government and/or Big Business! And because freedom of speech is still allowed a movement call Net Neutrality has sprung up.

Net Neutrality simply means that internet access will always be free, fast and available. That innovation, not money or politics, will determine who succeeds in the market place of ideas and technology.

To find out more, do a simple Google Search on Net Neutrality or a scan of Wikipedia; you will get more information than you can absorb in one sitting.

I love the fact that the internet is open, free and somewhat “wild”. I suppose it is the last vestige of my 60’s rebel persona. And as a former rebel, nothing makes me sit up and notice faster then when the government (or anyone else) wants to start controlling something.

As we move into election season protecting our freedoms has become an increasingly important agenda for me. I have a few action items:
  • I will only vote for candidates who support Net Neutrality.
  • I am stepping up my writing/email campaign to my current representatives to tell them that Net Neutrality is vitally important to economic growth and development
  • I have joined Save the Net and Hands off the Internet
  • I will support these organizations with money and time

One of the things I have learned over the years is the awesome power of fingers on keyboards. Enough of them pointed at a single target can change the world. That is freedom in action!

Monday, November 5, 2007

So many eBooks; so . . . .

I have come to the conclusion that somewhere along the way, I have contracted a rare and bizarre form of narcolepsy. Every time I pick up a book I fall asleep. Wouldn’t be so bad except that my eBook reader is full and my nightstand is overflowing with books, that theoretically, I want to read.

Over the last week I have dipped into all of them, read a few pages and promptly fallen asleep.

For example on my eBook Reader and Palm are the books I have bought because for one reason or another they appeal to me:

On the night stand I have a collection of books that my friends and family have loaned (or in some cases forced on) me because they think I will enjoy them or because they want me to read them for some reason:

  • Life is A Beach by Claire Cook
  • Die, My Love A True Story of Revenge, Murder, and Two Texas Sisters by Kathryn Casey
  • Love at Goon Park: Harry Harolow and the Science of Affection by Deborah Blum
  • Broken: My Story of Addiction and Redemption by William Cope Moyers
  • When the World Was Steady by Claire Messud
  • Anything for Jane by Cheryl Mendelson

What to do?

I have tried an uncomfortable chair, sitting in a crowd at Starbucks and drinking coffee (lots of coffee). Nothing seems to work. But I have a solution to my problem.

It is in the slim volume I have taken to carrying in my purse entitled How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read by Pierre Bayard.

I am sure that this will be a great help to me if I can stay awake long enough to read it.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Good News for eBooks - Digital Reading is Catching on!

It’s official: Web users are reading less material in print.

According to the USC Annenberg School Center for the Digital Future the number of Internet users who say that they spend less time reading offline printed materials rose from 19.3% in 2001 to 23.2% in 2006.

How about that?! I am sure that this news will have educators, Luddites and other naysayers gloating while newspaper, magazine and book publishers tremble.

The Annenberg School “surveys more than 2,000 individuals across the United States, each year contacting the same households to explore how online technology affects the lives of Internet users and non-users. It also examines how changing technology, such as the shift from Internet access by modem to broadband, affects behavior. “

This year’s portion on the changes in reading concludes with this statement: “A growing number of web users are seeking out that information on-line, frequently from the on-line versions of the same sources. Everything in our work strongly suggests that this trend will increase significantly.”

I see this as generally good news for eBooks. The newest eBooks readers accommodate newspaper and magazine subscriptions along with RSS feeds. Obviously they are banking on this trend as well.

As devices become more wired and sophisticated, consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with reading almost anything electronic -- their computer, PDA, cell phone or eBook Reader. The “I hate reading on a screen” objection is beginning to fade away. Of course the clarity of the eInk screens doesn’t hurt!

Another interesting finding is that television viewing is actually up slightly. You can’t help but wonder what will happen as more TV programming is available online. Will viewers follow the same path as readers? But I digress.

The point is that reading is not dead or even dying, it is changing. Great news for innovators and very bad news for those who love the status quo.

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