Jan 19

We begin our episode with a discussion of the recent Moby Dick Marathon that took place at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Several of the marathon readers read from a Nook, Barnes & Noble’s e-reader. E-readers were also big at the recent Consumer Electronics Show, where several new models debuted.

Ann begins our discussion of “Big Idea” books – books whose scope goes beyond any one section in the book store – with You Are Not a Gadget, which is a look the internet and digital design and how they shape our lives for better or worse. (Be sure to check out the publisher’s Facebook discussion area, featuring an excerpt and several questions inspired by the book.) A classic “Big Idea” book that came out a few years ago is Made to Stick (which Ann wrote about here).Β  The authors of that book have a new one out called Switch, and it’s about the difficulty of making lasting change, and the ongoing struggle between the rational and emotional parts of your brain.

In segment three, Ann tells us about The Patience Stone, the story of an Afghan woman sitting at the bedside of her injured husband. The prayers she says for him turn into a near-confession of her thoughts and troubles. Michael talks about The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers, the new novel from Thomas Mullen, author of The Last Town on Earth. Check out this video trailer for the book:

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We encourage you to write down or print out the title information and shop at your local bookstore. Titles link to LibraryThing, a social networking site that allows you to catalog your home library. LibraryThing also links to various online purchasing options. Here are the books from this post:
You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier, Knopf hardcover
Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, Random House hardcover
Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, Broadway Business hardcover
The Patience Stone by Atiq Rahimi, Other PressΒ  hardcover
The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers by Thomas Mullen, Random House hardcover
(all information is for the U.S. editions).
  • I certainly agree that “computers should be tools to augment our humanity and not replace it.” Social activity on the Internet is great, and the additional avenues for connectivity offered to us by the web has of course become invaluable. But it’s not difficult to see that there are potential dangers in making our lives or lifestyle dependent on the Internet.

    Anyway… I’m really glad I listened to this podcast because otherwise I would not have known that The Patience Stone is a book that I must read. Normally I’d try to shy away from stories that depict oppression of women, but you have convinced me that this is just too compelling to let pass. A publisher has been rather generous in sending me review copies of some books, books that I myself requested, so I think I’ll try to ask for this book as well since I remember seeing this in their recent catalogs.

    Great podcast! πŸ™‚

    • Mark, thanks. I’m eager to hear what you think about The Patience Stone. Many thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment!

  • I certainly agree that “computers should be tools to augment our humanity and not replace it.” Social activity on the Internet is great, and the additional avenues for connectivity offered to us by the web has of course become invaluable. But it’s not difficult to see that there are potential dangers in making our lives or lifestyle dependent on the Internet.

    Anyway… I’m really glad I listened to this podcast because otherwise I would not have known that The Patience Stone is a book that I must read. Normally I’d try to shy away from stories that depict oppression of women, but you have convinced me that this is just too compelling to let pass. A publisher has been rather generous in sending me review copies of some books, books that I myself requested, so I think I’ll try to ask for this book as well since I remember seeing this in their recent catalogs.

    Great podcast! πŸ™‚

    • Mark, thanks. I’m eager to hear what you think about The Patience Stone. Many thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment!

  • I have been on the fence about purchasing any type of e-reader; several people are flabbergasted that I don’t yet have one. I know some people who have Kindles and they say that they like them. However, I have never SEEN anyone using a Kindle or any other e-reader – I’ve been travelling a bit in the last month and I didn’t see an e-reader anywhere. If they are becoming more and more prevalent — where are they?

    And I am definitely picking up The Patience Stone.

    • Hi Suzanne,
      So glad you are going to read The Patience Stone. I hope you love it!
      I have seen a few e-readers “in the wild”, but they’ve all been people over 40, which I find interesting. I suspect that we will start to see more; I had 2 friends get Kindles for Christmas.

  • Peggy Poellot

    Regarding ebook readers, I have owned a Kindle for about a year now and I really enjoy it. It does reduce the sheer number of books accumulating in my house; the digital copies aren’t piled on my shelves! I still like my paper books but I am getting very attached to reading digitally.
    Thanks for a great podcast! I have found many new books to read thanks to your great dicussions. I’m in the middle of Waiting for Columbus (on my Kindle) right now and it’s wondrous!

    • Hi Peggy,
      I think that once I do buy an e-reader, I will always be a hybrid reader. I do like the physical connection to a paper book. I have the same problem with ebooks as I do with the old-fashioned manuscripts we used to read on paper — there are no design elements to distinguish one book from another and I get them confused. Ebooks definitely have their benefits, though.

  • I have been on the fence about purchasing any type of e-reader; several people are flabbergasted that I don’t yet have one. I know some people who have Kindles and they say that they like them. However, I have never SEEN anyone using a Kindle or any other e-reader – I’ve been travelling a bit in the last month and I didn’t see an e-reader anywhere. If they are becoming more and more prevalent — where are they?

    And I am definitely picking up The Patience Stone.

    • Hi Suzanne,
      So glad you are going to read The Patience Stone. I hope you love it!
      I have seen a few e-readers “in the wild”, but they’ve all been people over 40, which I find interesting. I suspect that we will start to see more; I had 2 friends get Kindles for Christmas.

  • Peggy Poellot

    Regarding ebook readers, I have owned a Kindle for about a year now and I really enjoy it. It does reduce the sheer number of books accumulating in my house; the digital copies aren’t piled on my shelves! I still like my paper books but I am getting very attached to reading digitally.
    Thanks for a great podcast! I have found many new books to read thanks to your great dicussions. I’m in the middle of Waiting for Columbus (on my Kindle) right now and it’s wondrous!

    • Hi Peggy,
      I think that once I do buy an e-reader, I will always be a hybrid reader. I do like the physical connection to a paper book. I have the same problem with ebooks as I do with the old-fashioned manuscripts we used to read on paper — there are no design elements to distinguish one book from another and I get them confused. Ebooks definitely have their benefits, though.

  • I feel the same way. It’s the lack of design elements and the absence of smell and texture that makes me think e-paper cannot replace real paper. However, yes, there is that advantage of portability that e-readers have. So I say being a “hybrid” reader must be the way to go. Read paper books for leisure, and e-books for work and travel.

  • I feel the same way. It’s the lack of design elements and the absence of smell and texture that makes me think e-paper cannot replace real paper. However, yes, there is that advantage of portability that e-readers have. So I say being a “hybrid” reader must be the way to go. Read paper books for leisure, and e-books for work and travel.

  • Sheryl B.

    I got a Kindle for my birthday in June and I have been extremely happy with it. I had some reservations since I like holding a book, but so far I haven’t had any withdrawals. The Kindle has some weight to it so when I am reading, I don’t really notice that I am not holding a book. I am running out of space for books (another reason that the Kindle appeals to me) but I always have some available if I need to ‘feel a book’ and if I fall asleep reading, it doesn’t hurt when it hits me in the head.

    Ann, I think it’s interesting that the e-readers you’ve seen have been owned by people over 40. After I got mine (I’m over 40) my sister got one (over 40) a friend (over 40) and my 88 year old father got one. But my 32 year old daughter also purchased a Kindle, so she must be a rebel in her age group. But overall my little group proves you right.

    I think that e-readers will serve a greater purpose in the future for textbooks if for no other reason. E-readers would be a vast improvement for high school and college students who struggle to carry all their books with them. In Southern California the high school students no longer have lockers so they are forced to carry all their books with them – e-readers would certainly be an improvement.

    Having said that, I’m glad I already have my Kindle. I think I would be overwhelmed with all the choices that are (or will soon be) available for the e-readers. With all the features that the newer e-readers have and the competition to build a bigger/smaller and better device the line between reader and computer will begin to blur.

    Sorry this is so long – I also think the Patience Stone sounds good – The Kite Runner was one of my favorites. And Peggy, I’m also reading Waiting For Columbus on my Kindle. Recommended by Ann and Michael…

  • Sheryl B.

    I got a Kindle for my birthday in June and I have been extremely happy with it. I had some reservations since I like holding a book, but so far I haven’t had any withdrawals. The Kindle has some weight to it so when I am reading, I don’t really notice that I am not holding a book. I am running out of space for books (another reason that the Kindle appeals to me) but I always have some available if I need to ‘feel a book’ and if I fall asleep reading, it doesn’t hurt when it hits me in the head.

    Ann, I think it’s interesting that the e-readers you’ve seen have been owned by people over 40. After I got mine (I’m over 40) my sister got one (over 40) a friend (over 40) and my 88 year old father got one. But my 32 year old daughter also purchased a Kindle, so she must be a rebel in her age group. But overall my little group proves you right.

    I think that e-readers will serve a greater purpose in the future for textbooks if for no other reason. E-readers would be a vast improvement for high school and college students who struggle to carry all their books with them. In Southern California the high school students no longer have lockers so they are forced to carry all their books with them – e-readers would certainly be an improvement.

    Having said that, I’m glad I already have my Kindle. I think I would be overwhelmed with all the choices that are (or will soon be) available for the e-readers. With all the features that the newer e-readers have and the competition to build a bigger/smaller and better device the line between reader and computer will begin to blur.

    Sorry this is so long – I also think the Patience Stone sounds good – The Kite Runner was one of my favorites. And Peggy, I’m also reading Waiting For Columbus on my Kindle. Recommended by Ann and Michael…

  • Sheryl B.

    One more comment about the e-reader…

    When I first started listening to this podcast, I was listening to all of the previous podcasts and I made a list of books that I was interested in and I downloaded about 20 samples. Now I don’t forget what books sounded good and it’s easier to see if I like them. Unfortunately, I seem to like them all.

    Also, I’m reading more since I got the Kindle.

    I’m sorry about my last post – I didn’t mean to ‘reply’.

  • Sheryl B.

    One more comment about the e-reader…

    When I first started listening to this podcast, I was listening to all of the previous podcasts and I made a list of books that I was interested in and I downloaded about 20 samples. Now I don’t forget what books sounded good and it’s easier to see if I like them. Unfortunately, I seem to like them all.

    Also, I’m reading more since I got the Kindle.

    I’m sorry about my last post – I didn’t mean to ‘reply’.

  • Eric Weiner has an interesting take on the e-reader issue:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122822760

  • Eric Weiner has an interesting take on the e-reader issue:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122822760

  • As one who doesn’t own a credit card, I find it somewhat cost prohibitive to own an eBook, especially since I can get the book from my local public library. My issue with eBooks is that how will libraries accommodate those who have have an eBook reader? Will they, public libraries, loan out eBooks to those who don’t have one and how will they be able allow people to borrow books from their collections? Will people have a time period on their books that they have loaned or will they be able to keep their books on their eBook readers for an indefinite time period? I know with podcast downloads from my local public library system, there is a specific amount of time that one can have the material. I also browsed to see if they had anything that would download to an eBook reader and there was nothing available for the end user. My question is whether or not libraries will be forced to provide this service for customers as they become more more popular and more available, especially for items such as the Kindle and the Sony reader?

  • As one who doesn’t own a credit card, I find it somewhat cost prohibitive to own an eBook, especially since I can get the book from my local public library. My issue with eBooks is that how will libraries accommodate those who have have an eBook reader? Will they, public libraries, loan out eBooks to those who don’t have one and how will they be able allow people to borrow books from their collections? Will people have a time period on their books that they have loaned or will they be able to keep their books on their eBook readers for an indefinite time period? I know with podcast downloads from my local public library system, there is a specific amount of time that one can have the material. I also browsed to see if they had anything that would download to an eBook reader and there was nothing available for the end user. My question is whether or not libraries will be forced to provide this service for customers as they become more more popular and more available, especially for items such as the Kindle and the Sony reader?

  • Hi Melissa,
    You raise many good points.
    Some libraries currently offer e-books for download to the Sony Reader (and perhaps Nook; I’m not sure on that one). They work just as you describe for audiobooks — books can be borrowed by one patron at a time, for a fixed time period (21 days currently). The program is run by Overdrive, which is the same service that most libraries use for audiobooks. You can find out if your library participates, here: http://sonysearch.overdrive.com/

    As for the readers themselves: that’s still to be worked out in most cases. There were a few articles I’ve read over the last couple of years where libraries that wanted to loan a Kindle pre-loaded with some books were not given clear answers from Amazon about whether or not they were allowed to do that. It may have been clarified by now, I’m not sure. I also don’t know the policies of the other ebook manufacturers; I know that some libraries have been considering such a program.

    It’s still early days in the ebook landscape, and much of this will evolve over time.

    Thanks!
    Ann

  • Hi Melissa,
    You raise many good points.
    Some libraries currently offer e-books for download to the Sony Reader (and perhaps Nook; I’m not sure on that one). They work just as you describe for audiobooks — books can be borrowed by one patron at a time, for a fixed time period (21 days currently). The program is run by Overdrive, which is the same service that most libraries use for audiobooks. You can find out if your library participates, here: http://sonysearch.overdrive.com/

    As for the readers themselves: that’s still to be worked out in most cases. There were a few articles I’ve read over the last couple of years where libraries that wanted to loan a Kindle pre-loaded with some books were not given clear answers from Amazon about whether or not they were allowed to do that. It may have been clarified by now, I’m not sure. I also don’t know the policies of the other ebook manufacturers; I know that some libraries have been considering such a program.

    It’s still early days in the ebook landscape, and much of this will evolve over time.

    Thanks!
    Ann

  • I thought you might like this πŸ™‚
    If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything. πŸ™‚

  • I thought you might like this πŸ™‚
    If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything. πŸ™‚

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