Reading

I’ve really picked up my reading, this year.  Before computers, I was always down to the library, and would probably go through 4-8 books a fortnight depending on other activity.  Then, computer games replaced a lot of my reading. Then, the internet took over nearly everything, and I was only reading one or two books a year.  That has now changed… not that I am not on the net most days for extraordinary lengths of time…. but I am reading at night, and I’m getting through a book every week or so.

When I say “book” I’m using the word quite loosely:  I read eBooks.  I’ve actually been doing that for 14 years, ever since I bought my first PDA, a Windows CE based Casseiopia E500.  On it, the windows reader app, and another I don’t recall the name of.  But I was still reading dead tree books at the same time.  It was just for taking to work on nightshifts at the hospital, when I’d be indecisive about what I wanted to read and carrying a bagful of books was impractical.  In recent years I don’t even read dead tree books.  I’ve found as my wrists and hands become more affected by osteoarthritis (if thats what it is) I can’t hold a book in my hands for very long… so I read on my iPhone, or with a dedicated ebook reader.

Here come a few software recommendations for reading:

If you read on iPhone or any iOS device, don’t bother with the increasingly difficult and ugly Apple iBooks.  Get Marvin or Shubook.  I like both, for different reasons.  Its no longer possible to get Stanza which remains my favourite even though Amazon killed it off.  They have now removed it from the app store, but I have kept my .ipa copy and will keep using it until it no longer works, or when I next upgrade my phone, because Stanza is hardwired to the 3.5″ screen size.  Shubook gets updated from time to time and has been optimised for a larger screen.  Marvin has an utterly wonderful developer who is very active in mobileread and as such has been given his own support forum there.

If you read on Android there are a number of good readers.  Aldiko used to be the de facto standard and in its initial free incarnation was very like Stanza in function (though not form).  If I am on Android, which isnt often, I tend to use either fbReader or Moon+ Reader.  I bought the latter when I was considering jumping ship from iOS.  Both of these are excellent readers.  I believe that there are others wich are more complex and do more, but these are my recommendations.  fbReader is still free as far as I know, and doesnt have any limitations.

The reader links are to the various apps websites, and you’ll see that for three of them, there are also pro versions as well as the free ones.

Current Read is Area 51: The Sphinx by Robert Doherty.  Its the 4th book in a series of nine.  The books generally are good yards, but Doherty is given to launching off into lectures on various subjects which pads the books out quite a lot.  The last series which I read before launching into this lot, was his Atlantis series, in which the last two books were definitely overdone with lectures.  Doherty seems to have a vast knowledge which he likes to put into the books, but pages and pages… was a bit of a fail for me.  I loved the first four, and found the fifth and sixth hard going, but of course needed to find out what happened.  As I will with the current series.

Its probably worth reading this series review of Area 51 and  this one at Goodreads, of the atlantis series, if you are slightly interested in speculative fiction involving strange happenings here on our own planet.

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