30 January 2012


I often wish that I re-kindled my interest in running sooner than 15 years after completing the 1994 and 1995 NYC Marathons.  Life sometimes gets in the way, I guess.  Reading is another old interest I wish I got back with sooner.  I cannot recall when a I got back with reading but I know there was a period of time after 1997 that I did not even know where the local public library was.  I was in a new neighborhood in Brooklyn, with a new life.  I am one of those people who rarely buy books and instead rely heavily on the public library.  Not knowing where the library was meant I did not read much, although it is possible that I borrowed from NYPL since at the time I worked in Manhattan.  Still, I am pretty sure there was a block of time during which I did not read books at all.  How did I while away all those hours commuting in the subway to and from work?


I cannot recall when I jumped back into reading but I am doing it avidly and in a few different ways.  In this electronic age, a computer geek like me should embrace ebooks and such but the frugal person in me decide otherwise.  The down side of buying ebooks is not that much different than physical books.  They cost x dollars and most likely will be read only once, at most twice.  I am talking fiction books here, which is what I mostly read.  With ebooks, you cannot even pass them on to others, say, by donating to the public library or leaving outside your front yard in a box with a note that screams FREE.  Of course with ebook you also have to have the reader, sufficiently charged, with you, be it a Kindle, a Nook, or some other gadget.  What is more, the readers can be damaged if dropped whereas the typical physical book can take much abuse and remains usable.

Physical books are still my preferred medium.  Nowadays, I borrow from both Brooklyn Public Library and from Jersey City Public Library.  I mostly take whatever large-print books that catch my attention, although I prefer stories about the old days before technology makes life goes fast.  I especially hate books about over-stressed office workers, whether in a law firm or in a police precinct. Occasionally I would go back to paperback books, with their tiny letters, usually for the sci-fi series, especially Star Wars. Since I usually do not have time to watch movies or TV series, I also like to read whatever books based on the movies or shows, whether original or spin-off.

Regular readers of this blog may recall from posts like The Eyes Are the First To Go that I am a believer in audiobooks. Again, although there are great services like Audible.com out there, I do not like the idea of buying a book and listening to it just once or twice. You do not end up with old books taking up space in the physical world but instead the "used" audiobooks just clutter the gadget you put them in. Again I count on the public libraries to provide me with audiobooks, in the form of audio CDs. You do not have the convenience of digital books but the price is great. I do not have a dedicated CD player so end up carrying a portable DVD player but it is not so bad. Surely I can buy one for $30 or so but why buy if the DVD player works fine. Maybe I will ask around, perhaps someone I know has a CD player that he no longer uses.

Physical books and audio CDs, all from the public libraries, are just two medium I consume reading materials. To a smaller extent, I actually read ebook and listen to audiobooks, both on the iPad and the Galaxy cell phone. But let's save the discussion for next time. In the mean time, here are the books and audiobooks I read recently. I was initially disappointed that The Navigator was not about the old days of Vikings and such but it turned out to be a good thriller. The Wrecker was a good book about the old days when steam engine ruled the world. Storm Cycle is somewhat of a chick lit, which I do not care for, and involves too much computers but it was OK. I actually tried to read Cry The Beloved Country years ago on audiocassettes but never went far. South Africa and apartheid, talk about the unfairness of life! Last but not least, Impact was an interesting story about boating, covert government actions, and astronomy.

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