February 2016: Reading List

The year is off to a fine start, so let's check in on what I am reading so far. I had a couple of books roll over from the end of the year into January and February. I finished up Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Both were wonderful books and if you haven't read them you really should. You can read my reviews of them at the links above, but they are probably entrenched enough in popular culture that you would know going in whether they would be for you or not.

I decided to start reading Young Miles, which is the second omnibus of the Vorkorsigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold. I read the first omnibus book, Cordelia's Honor, a few years ago and really enjoyed it. I am surprised that it has taken me this long to get back around to reading more of this series. The writing in this book is superbly done so far, but for some reason it isn't quite capturing my attention. It is odd as there are parts where I have a genuine smile on my face while reading. Perhaps I am just not in the right mindset at the moment for this book. I will continue through the book though as it is a fairly easy read.  

I also went to the library this weekend and picked up the audiobook of Ancillary Justice. This is another sci-fi book and typically I don't read two of the same genre at the same time, but I have heard just too many good things about this book. First impressions after the first couple of chapters is that this books is really well done. I am enjoying the mixed narrative perspective in this book a lot since our main character is an artificial intelligence that can inhabit more than a single body at once. The narrator for this audio book is quite good as well, being able to reflect the proper tone for different characters. I have listened to the Sword and Laser podcast talk about this book when they read it as a group about a year ago and so far it is holding up to impress so far. 



August 2014 Reading List

My volume of books so far this year hasn't been really high, but that is probably because the majority of the books that I am reading seem to be in the 800+ page range. I have continued to work through the Malazan series and I am now on book #7 with Reaper's Gale

This book so far has been the hardest to get through and it is really a slog. I personally just don't have much of an interest in the story line that is happening in Lether and the characters really are not that interesting. I am close to 50% of the way through the book and we have finally be reintroduced to some of our Malazan favorites and I did get one new character called Beek, who seems like he will certainly turn into a great character in the future. 

I think after this book I will need to take a break from the Malazan series and catch up again on some of my Sci-Fi reading. I am really looking forward to reading Unstable Prototypes, which is the follow up to Joesph Lallo's Bypass Gemini. I also have on my radar to get back into the Entire of the Rose series. I read the first book in that series several years ago around 2001, and while I wasn't a fan of the main character, I did find the world very interesting.  

I would also like to read the follow up books to N.K. Jemison's Inheritance Trilogy. A Hundred Thousand Kingdoms was one of the best books I have read in the past few years and I really would like to see where that world goes as well. 

B&N selling off the Nook business - I hope that is good news for Nook


News has been all over the web that Barnes & Noble has decided to split off its Nook division and sell it off. I hope this actually means good things for the Nook in the next couple of years. I am an Amazon Kindle user, but most of my family uses Nooks (sink versions). I personally think they are fantastic ereaders and they do have a really nice interface. It seems like B&N itself didn't know how to properly push the Nook devices out. Perhaps with some new management they can aggressively target the Nook like it needs to be targeted. 

It seems like the biggest problems that the Nook has had in its existence so far has been its marketing and its online services. When was the last time you saw a TV ad for a Nook? The answer is never, whereas Amazon has done a very good job of producing Kindle TV ads around the holidays. The Nook has also suffered quite a bit with its online delivery services. They have had some significant problems and they tried to implement a Whispersync type of service to sync your progress up to the cloud and other apps. For a long time it only partially worked. If a new team can get in there and fix two of these main problems I think it could help a lot. 

I would also say that they should ditch the tablet version and the whole multi-media approach. B&N has its history in books and literature. I think the Nook company could really own that space if they ditched the videos and music and went all in on the books (and may be magazines). I would love to see them really make a premium line of sink readers. Push that sink technology hard. The Kobo Aura HD has the highest resolution sink display right now and for hardcore readers that is a niche market I think could be profitable. Publishers seem eager at this point to fight back against Amazon just as they did with Apple and iTunes a few years ago. Nook could have an opportunity to strike some really good publishing deals. 

Also, if you have ever been on the Nook sites they actually have a pretty good social media team going. They have some excellent blogs and online communities that push out some great content for fans of reading. It features some good interview and other content. They also have continually offered their "Free Book Friday's" deals which I think are a boon for readers. The problem is, it is near impossible to find these on B&N's website. 

The Nook (and B&N in general) also really should highlight more that they are leveraging the epub format. Technically any book bought from the Kobo or Google Play stores can be side loaded onto a Nook without issue. KIndle's can't do that. It would be nice if Google Play or some other service could license a way to wirelessly send books purchased on these other stores right to the Nook wirelessly to alleviate the friction of side loading. The idea of having multiple stores accessible to your device is something that could be a great sell for the Nook hardware business.