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Reading on a notebook…

Have you ever read a full book on your notebook? I’ve read many. A notebook certainly isn’t the best device for reading an eBook but will certainly do in a pinch.

For many years I’d used a Palm IIIc or a Dell Axim X3 for reading eBooks. I was quite happy with these devices as book readers, apart from the fact that even with minimum brightness they sometimes still seemed too bright in a dark room. They, unfortunately, were getting old and began in one way or another to fail.

I was looking into getting an iPhone, or an iPod Touch, but hadn’t made my mind to do so yet when both devices died on me. As both iPhones and iPods cost several times more in Brazil then they do in the US, or most any any other country, I wasn’t ready to just go out and buy one. This left me in the position of not having a device for reading my eBooks and the notebook started to seem more and more attractive as a reader.

Thankfully I have a confortable armchair at home, where I do most of my reading and with the help of a nice “lap-table” my notebook turned out to be a pretty decent book reader, though a lot less “confortable” than just holding a lightweight device with one hand. While I would not recommend that anyone exchange a Kindle, SonyReader or an iPhone/iPod for a notebook for reading books, the experience isn’t really that bad.

Apart from the fact that I have no more room for storing books in my apartment, eBooks have always been the first choice for me because you can download them immediately instead of waiting for them to be delivered and because there are no shipping costs involved.

If you find yourself in a similar situation you should try reading on the notebook and you might be surprised that it isn’t as bad as you think. Frankly, I expected the experience to be a lot worse and a lot more wearing on the eyes.

Being able to read books on my notebook turned out to be a great way to bridge the time between the death of my old Palm and Axim and when I got an iPod Touch to replace them.

Sony is making available free ebooks

An article on Ars Technica called to my attention that Sony is making available books which have been scanned into PDF by Google, on its online store. These books have already been available directly from Google, but it seems that they get special formatting for the Sony Reader if downloaded from the store.

Most of these books are texts from before 1920 and while some might be considered classics, others are just old and outdated. While we should welcome the preservation and availablity of all literary work, it is not clear if this will have any significant impact on the perceived value of the Sony Reader.

The new model Reader recently released by Sony as a “primium” product and not as a replacement for the model already on the market offers a screen with half the shades of grey available on the new Kindle 2 (8 opposed to 16), while boasting a significantly higher price at $499,00.

Off Armageddon Reef, by David Weber

I’ve recently read Off Armageddon Reef, David Weber’s most recent title and the first in a new series which introduces an entirely new universe. I have read almost all books in Weber’s Honor Harrington series and have generally liked all of them and when I stumbled upon a reference to this book I got drawn in by its description.

Off Armageddon Reef is a book set in a distant future when humanity has been almost totally annihilated by a xenophobic race: the Gbaba. One planet remains and in order to escape destruction at the hands of the Gbaba, humans had to abandon all technology which might send energy emission out to space. In time, without technology, all this is forgotten and nothing but an artificially created religion is keeping the last humans from inadvertently repeating the steps that led to the destruction of Earth and all its colonies.

That is when secret plans are put into action and the actual story begins.

In this book Weber manages to bring together high-tech science fiction and a pre-industrial civilization which bares close resemblance to the 1700s and early 1800s of Earth history. In is interesting how he manages to nicely combine the last remnants of the original human civilization’s advanced technology with a universe that has all the elements of a passion that we share, the Horation Hornblower novels by C.S. Forrester.

Though, as usual, Weber tends from time to time to over-describe some scenes of the story, this does not detract from the actual story line and if you just bear with it the story is quite enjoyable and entertaining. I’ve read some unfavorable comments about the names of the characters in the book which do look quite strange and seem to be variations of current names which would have changed and evolved over the long period of isolation the books civilization is gone through. It is an interesting touch but it does tend to be a bit confusing at times. Again, I feel this did not affect my enjoyment of the story.

I’m looking forward to reading the sequel to this book: By Schism Rent Assunder, which is due to be released in July of 2008.

Welcome to The Longo Review

Please don’t let the impressive title for this blog give you a wrong idea. This blog is not going to stuffy or overly formal. In fact, all I’ll be writing here are my personal opinions about Books, eBooks and eBook reading devices.

I’ll comment, also, on online stores and book-related services and on my personal experience in using them. It is not my intention to speak ill about any book, author or store so I’ll be focusing on titles and authors I’ve liked, when commenting on the books. When commenting book related products such as reader devices and software and online stores and services I’ll try to present as impartial a commentary as possible, while still giving you all the information you need to evaluate if such devices or services are of interest.