October 25, 2009

Happy Birthday To Me!!!

My Birthday turned out to be lovely even though my man is away for 10 days for work.  I had lunch with a friend and indulged in a burger and indulged even more afterward with a cupcake and hot chocolate from Buttercream.  The sun was shining and I was wearing my favourite boots. All-in-all a great day.

My man and I celebrated my birthday before he left and GUESS WHAT I GOT!!! Oh yes I did...the Sony Reader Touch Edition PRS-600 in black and I even managed to find the swanky leather cover with light at another store in the city and these are totally on backorder and sold out online. The last one left!

What I love:
  • The touch screen. 
  • The ability to organize my books under whichever tag I choose and to make collections.
  • The leather case that I purchased extra. 
  • That I was able to add a memory card so I never have to think about running out of space.
  • The battery lasts a long time.
  • The ability to write notes and draw pictures and have these accessible in the Sony eBook Library.
  • I can highlight words and look them up in the dictionary.
  • The included stylus, which I thought I would never use.
  • The ability to turn pages using fingers or buttons.
  • The I can load pictures and audio. The audio is more important and I will probably never upload pictures.
  • That I got a US$25 coupon to the eBook Library when we bought the Reader, which I have already spent of course.
  • That you change change orientation of the reader.
  • That you can search text.
  • The back icon that takes you back to the previous menu.
  • The hidden power button so you do not accidentally hit it.
  • That Sony has finally provided software compatible with the Mac computer.
What I wish was different:
  • Not much at all. I wish the e-ink was darker or there was more contrast with the white space. I wish there was a feature where you could change contrast. But you can still change the font size.
  • The screen has a bit if glare depending on where the light source is.
  • That when you are reading the time was shown somewhere!
  • I wish you could make shortcuts.
  • The leather case light is a bit annoying. I hate glare and you have to have the light just so and the book just so so you do not see the reflection of the light. But I would rather have the light than not have it at all.
Even though the Reader is not wireless this does not bother me because I would be too tempted to buy books randomly if it was and I like to research the books I plan to purchase. When I connect my Reader to the computer the eBook Library automatically opens. You need to shut it down and then open Calibre. Note that Calibre now recognizes the Sony Touch Edition. In Calibre you need to modify your tags for each book and these tags will show up as collections in your reader. Before you can view any eBook Library books on your Reader you need to authorize your computer and your device in My Account in the eBook Store. This was not an intuitive process...and you must do this first before you can view the books on your device, even though you can move them to your memory stick.

I am happy to answer any questions you may have about the PRS-600. Ask away!

Don't forget to enter my Gothic Fiction Giveaway  by October 30 to win either The Historian, Perfume or The Shadow of the Wind.

October 14, 2009

Gothic Fiction Giveaway

Originally Posted October 1, 2009
It has been a year of blogging at Obsessed With Books and to celebrate I will be giving away the following Gothic fiction 'modern classics' to three lucky winners. I read all three before I started blogging but the memory of them has stayed with me since, each being a distintictive work of fiction. All three novels are new, never been opened!

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind (Trade Paperback) In the slums of eighteenth-century France, the infant Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born with one sublime gift-an absolute sense of smell. As a boy, he lives to decipher the odors of Paris, and apprentices himself to a prominent perfumer who teaches him the ancient art of mixing precious oils and herbs. But Grenouille''s genius is such that he is not satisfied to stop there, and he becomes obsessed with capturing the smells of objects such as brass doorknobs and frest-cut wood. Then one day he catches a hint of a scent that will drive him on an ever-more-terrifying quest to create the "ultimate perfume"-the scent of a beautiful young virgin. Told with dazzling narrative brillance, Perfume is a hauntingly powerful tale of murder and sensual depravity.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (Mass Market Paperback) To you, perceptive reader, I bequeath my history....Late one night, exploring her father''s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to "My dear and unfortunate successor," and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed of-a labyrinth where the secrets of her father''s past and her mother''s mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history.The letters provide links to one of the darkest powers that humanity has ever known-and to a centuries-long quest to find the source of that darkness and wipe it out. It is a quest for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, the medieval ruler whose barbarous reign formed the basis of the legend of Dracula. Generations of historians have risked their reputations, their sanity, and even their lives to learn the truth about Vlad the Impaler and Dracula. Now one young woman must decide whether to take up this quest herself-to follow her father in a hunt that nearly brought him to ruin years ago, when he was a vibrant young scholar and her mother was still alive. Parsing obscure signs and hidden texts, reading codes worked into the fabric of medieval monastic traditions-and evading the unknown adversaries who will go to any lengths to conceal and protect Vlad''s ancient powers-one woman comes ever closer to the secret of her own past and a confrontation with the very definition of evil.

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Trade Paperback) Barcelona, 1945?A great world city lies shrouded in secrets after the war, and a boy mourning the loss of his mother finds solace in his love for an extraordinary book called "The Shadow of the Wind," by an author named Julian Carax. When the boy searches for Carax''s other books, it begins to dawn on him, to his horror, that someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book the man has ever written. Soon the boy realizes that "The Shadow of the Wind" is as dangerous to own as it is impossible to forget, for the mystery of its author''s identity holds the key to an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love that someone will go to any lengths to keep secret.

I recently posted about my love of Gothic fiction, as well as historical and timeslip novels with Gothic elements, and I thought what better way to highlight the genre than to hold a contest!  

One entry per person. Open to entries worldwide. Entry Deadline: October 30th  
Winners Announced: October 31st  

What to Do: Comment on this blog post naming your favourite Gothic fiction novel or novel containing Gothic elements. Please include your email address in the comment and your book of choice out the three in the giveaway (pick one). Earn an additional entry by linking to this post on your blog. Don't forget to let me know!
Related Posts:
Gothic Fiction - Historical and Timeslip Favourites

October 13, 2009

Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

Elizabeth Peters' unforgettable heroine Amelia Peabody makes her first appearance in this clever mystery. Amelia receives a rather large inheritance and decides to use it for travel. On her way through Rome to Egypt, she meets Evelyn Barton-Forbes, a young woman abandoned by her lover and left with no means of support. Amelia promptly takes Evelyn under her wing, insisting that the young lady accompany her to Egypt, where Amelia plans to indulge her passion for Egyptology. When Evelyn becomes the target of an aborted kidnapping and the focus of a series of suspicious accidents and mysterious visitations, Amelia becomes convinced of a plot to harm her young friend. Like any self-respecting sleuth, Amelia sets out to discover who is behind it all.

Crocodile on the Sandbank is the first book in the Amelia Peabody Mystery series and although categorized as a mystery I think I smiled and chuckled all the way through. Amelia Peabody is such a character – a strong willed, opinionated, bossy woman, who thinks the only appeal she has is the inheritance left to her by her father. Touring Rome Amelia’s companion falls ill and must be sent home before they can reach their final destination of Cairo. She encounters a young Englishwoman, Evelyn Barton-Forbes, who has collapsed on the grounds of the Forum of Rome. After hearing Evelyn’s shocking story of betrayal and abandonment by a man she thought loved her, Amelia determines to takes Evelyn under her wing to mentor her and be her companion on her Egyptian adventures.

This novel is a mystery, a story of self-discovery and a bit of a comedy of errors. In the end Evelyn teaches Amelia more about life, loyalty and love than she ever expected. Beneath her prickly and spunky exterior Amelia hides a kind heart. The below quote is one of my favourites in the novel and portrays Amelia to a tee. “I watched them with the most thorough satisfaction I had ever felt in my life. I did not even wipe away the tears that rained down my face – although I began to think it was just as well Evelyn was leaving me. A few more weeks with her, and I should have turned into a rampageous sentimentalist.”

I’ve not delved too much into Egyptian archeological history so I’m not sure how true the methodology was for techniques in preserving Egyptian antiquities but I was impressed with the level of detail and how the descriptions of Cairo and Amarna come to life even though the story is fairly short. I’m sure I’ll continue on to read the rest of the series, the second book being The Curse of the Pharaohs. I would also recommend the Lady Emily Ashton series by Tasha Alexander.

Book Disclosure: Purchased  

My Rating: 4.5