To “e” or not to “e”?

Time for a book entry, since my writing has gone to shit and back!

Finished reading Sarah Monette’s Melusine on my iPhone in Stanza, but purchased in eReader and moved over.

The book itself? Quite good. Strong 1st person narratives from two, one could say even three, perspectives, and rich world building built upon the European Renaissance cultures with a heavy dollop of magic thrown in to all the right places. (Is this a new sub-genre? The fantasy Renaissance? Books like this and Lynch’s Locke Lamore series and Kusher’s Privilege of the Sword make me think so. And make me want more…) But while it resolved three story points, the madness, the relationship between the two narrators, and their origins, it really felt like we were at the first major truck stop of the journey. Still so much more story to go. Very much a Book 1.

As to how I read it? Well, this was the first experiment. I have downloaded books that looked interesting for my Stanza reader. Plenty of good, free e-books out there to try. But while I had a bunch, none of them were in my massive to-read pile, my books of shame that keep amassing on the book shelf every time I turn around. These e-books were all interesting, but nothing I had bought, excited to read.

So, while I swore off buying any more books, I did buy Melusine through eReader. I’d wanted to read it forever, I hadn’t seen a paper copy anywhere in town and just hadn’t added it to my last few Chapters purchases. I thought, if I paid for it, I’d be more likely to read it on the iPhone instead of just letting it take up e-space.

First, why the buy and switch? eReader is the closest thing I have to the book selection that Amazon affords for it’s segregated Kindle, but I’m not overly keen on the interface. Stanza feels and reads more comfortably, and a dictionary comes built in.

Second, the book experience itself. I liked it, for the most part. It did seem like I was reading it faster than I read a regular book, but it’s hard to tell for sure. I can’t get a page-count that compares to an actual book, so I can’t calculate how many words the novel was. And while I seemed to read it faster, that was only when I was able to sit down with it. The limitations I feared — primarily battery life — did come in to play and there were times that I couldn’t read because I just didn’t have the juice. While I will read one fiction and one non-fiction at the same time, I can’t read two novels at the same time. So there were instances when I wanted to read fiction, and couldn’t. Which was weird. I’m also not allowed to have my iPhone out and about at work without getting into trouble, so that didn’t help, either. Still, it was nice having the backlit screen and the ability to reverse the colors. Reading white text on a black screen at night is the best — no bright lights to keep Todd awake, you can read in absolute darkness yourself, and it’s very easy on the eyes.

Still, it was a relief to get my hands on a book. Next up, I’m reading Asimov’s SF 30th Anniversary Anthology. Started it last night, in the tub (another thing I wouldn’t dream of doing with my iPhone), and I flipped to the first page — where I found Connie Willis’ signature. Another thing that an e-book can’t do. I didn’t get to see her at World Con, but she came by the Tachyon book and signed copies of the anthology where her story, Cibola, is reprinted. God, I dropped nearly all my money at the Tachyon booth, one of the few US companies who braved the border and our tax regulations to come and sell us Canucks hard-to-get books.

So, coffee, shower, and then hitting the road. It’s the world’s Monday and my Friday. It’s been a struggle this week, one that’s pulled me under a few times, left me gasping. Got to refocus. Tonight I’m going to map out the plan for the next two days. And Thursday, the Underground Writers meeting!


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