Posts Tagged ‘ebooks’

Uncubicled by Josh McMains

I’m not quite sure what drew me to this book (the low price helped), but the thought of a “corporate” thriller intrigued me.  Apparently that is the type of book you get when an electrical engineer and Dr. Pepper addict decides to take a stab at a novel.

Joe Tompkins was a normal guy, a software engineer working in the corporate world.  Everyone has annoying coworkers, and one day, Joe couldn’t take it anymore and smacked his coworker, Gilmore, in the face with a computer keyboard (that part actually made me laugh… am I a sick person?) and started a domino effect.  Joe hid in the bathroom, then fled the office building, thinking he was a fugitive.  When no one tried stopping him, he decided to flee town and then maybe kind of robbed a bank (can you rob a bank if it’s your own money?).

At the same time, Ned Dyer, also a software engineer, leads a pretty normal life but is always looking over his shoulder.  Three years prior, he received a threat that told him to leave his job in Georgia and not tell anyone why he was leaving (and Ned didn’t even know why).  Ned moved back to Illinois and started his life over and even gained a fiancée, Sue.   One night at dinner, Ned got the feeling that something was wrong and he was right – Sue ended up getting kidnapped in the parking lot and Ned also got captured by members of the “Agency” for questioning.

Along the way, you learn about Joe and Ned’s past and how their former coworkers, Meg, Dan, Schultz, and Fischer, get involved in this fiasco and run both from the law and from the people from this “Agency” who are trying to kill them.  Not everyone is who they seem…

While my summary may not make this book sound like the most interesting book out there, I was hooked.  If I tell you too much about the plot, it’ll give it all away.  What I loved about this book was that it was told slightly out of order and each section was noted by date/time and focused mainly on the experience of one or a few characters.  It made me pay attention more in order to try to piece together what was going on and how everything tied together.  The book seemed really long compared to some of the other Kindle books I read (Amazon says it’s 372 pages) but a LOT went on.  I wasn’t even halfway through the book and I couldn’t believe how much had taken place already.  It kept me reading.

Another thing I loved about this book is that I could relate to the characters in a certain sense.  The characters were normal people who got caught up in a crazy situation.  The one catch is that the book does get into some software programming descriptions and such, so that may be a turn-off to some people.  I thought it was interesting.  I did feel like the end was a little harder to read… maybe too much explanation and not enough action anymore.

Overall, I think this was a great effort by first time writer, Josh McMains.  I’ve heard that he may try to make a sequel, which would be awesome, since the end was left open for more to happen.  Just a heads up, if you’re looking to find this book, either buy it for the Kindle ($2.99) or you can also get a PDF version to download for only a few bucks on the website,  Go out and buy the book so it’ll convince Josh McMains to write a follow up!

New Kindles!

Okay, I’m a day or so late on this one, but did you guys hear about the two new Kindles that are being released?!?

The 3rd generation Kindle will be priced at $189 and available in while or gray, and the new Wi-Fi Kindle will be only $139 ($139!!!).  One of the main differences between the two is that the $139 one only runs on Wi-Fi and the regular $189 Kindle runs on either Wi-Fi or AT&T’s 3G broadband network.  The Wi-Fi Kindle’s battery life is longer too if you keep the wireless turned on all the time.  I personally never turn my wireless on anyway unless I want to browse the Kindle store because it does make a significant difference in the battery life.

Some of the other enhancements that Amazon has made are: better E-Ink contrast, double the storage (now you can store 3,500 book… wow), quieter page turning buttons (the ones on mine aren’t LOUD, but they do “click” a little bit), and an updated selection button that is easier to use.   They’re also rolling out an update to the Kindle software (they’re doing it in waves but it hasn’t come available to me yet) which will somehow let you post things to Twitter or Facebook from your Kindle.  Not sure exactly how that works, but I want to try it!

Everyone is comparing the e-readers to tablet computers like the iPad, and Amazon is adamant that they do not want to be compared to the iPad because they’re two totally different products and they want to keep the Kindle simple for people who just want to read.  They don’t even seem interested in touch screens or color screens right now like some of their competitors.

So what do you guys think?  Are you going to go online and order one when they come out at the end of August?  Once again, I’m a little ticked that I got mine when it was more than double the price… but oh well.  I still love it and have no regrets!

(I swear I’m not being compensated by Amazon for this – I just heart my Kindle and think that e-readers are an amazing invention.)

Amazon Kindle Promoting Literacy in Developing Countries

I ran across an article that I wanted to share about how the Kindle is being used to promote literacy in children in third world countries.  There’s an organization called that recently brought 20 Kindles to a Ghana classroom and they will be doing trials of the program in other areas as well.

It’s a really interesting concept, I think.  Just think about how many more books a child could have access to by using an e-reader that otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to physically get.  They could use the text-to-voice option to learn new words or pronunciation.  Obviously, there are some downsides like taking care of the Kindle itself to prevent damage.  Check out’s blog for more information on their trials and current projects including some interesting stories about how the Kindle was used in Ghana and how the kids adapted to it.

On Facebook, there was some debate in response to this article asking why they aren’t doing this here in the US and instead, spending the money in a country overseas that doesn’t help the children here with literacy issues.   There does seem to be a lot of talk (and possibly some action) about adding e-readers to US classrooms for the same reasons.  I’m sure this is a subject that we will hear more and more about in the coming years with the advent of the Kindle and other e-readers plus other technology like the iPad.  What are your thoughts about e-readers in the classroom?

Price Lowered for the Amazon Kindle

I saw a news release today on Amazon Kindle’s Facebook page that they once again lowered the price for the Kindle 2!  It has went down in price from $359 about a year ago, to $259 late last summer, and now to $189.

One hundred eighty-nine dollars.   FREE two day shipping.  600,000 books.  Most of them under $9.99 and a whole lot that are FREE or super duper cheap.  Seriously.  If you don’t have one of these but you’ve been pining away for one for the past two years, then you need to run, not walk, to your nearest computer or smartphone with an internet connection and buy it.  Now!

In other news, it kind of stinks that I got mine at last year’s price, but what can you do.  I’ve had mine for a year and have 108 books on it.  I’ve read most of them and a large number of them were free.  So I still see that as a win.

Summer Reading Guide

My local paper, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, just published a list of fiction and non-fiction books for summer called “Summer Reading: From beach blankets to cool mountain evenings, vacation days call for a good book“.   You can click on that link and go and read the whole article and descriptions of each book, but here is a quick list of the books and links to the books on Amazon:



Need a last minute Father’s Day gift?  I’m sure a lot of bookworm dads out there may like some of these titles!

Are you going to go out and pick up any of these books for your summer vacation?  Or do you already have a stack of books in your beach bag ready to go?  Please feel free to share your recommendations!

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Jaci has read 1 book toward her goal of 35 books.

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