Tuesday, February 21, 2012

E-Reader Suggestions?

Got a question for y'all...

As you may or may not have noticed, here at The Wolf's Den, I don't usually read many e-books. It's not that I have anything against them, I just don't own an e-reader. Now, I have accepted some e-books for review now and again, but I read them at my computer.

I use free programs such as Kindle for PC and Adobe Digital Editions. I tend to prefer the Kindle program, but it doesn't accept all formats (PDF), so I'm stuck with either a converted mess or using Adobe for some books. Unfortunately, sitting and reading at the computer has two major disadvantages:

First, I find that oftentimes sitting at the computer gives me too many distractions to allow me to focus on the material I should be reading. YouTube, GoodReads, DeviantArt... I swear I don't have ADD, but——Ooh shiny! Ahem, second, the eye-strain and required seating arrangements (needing to be able to see the screen) don't allow me much in the way of comfort or variety. Frankly, I love reading in bed or sprawled out on the couch—just so many ways to toss and turn and cozy-up while I read!

An e-reader seems like it would answer both of those problems. Plus the fact that I could take my e-books out of the house! The library might be a nice change of scenery now and again. Or maybe when I'm chilling at Powell's?

And that's where you guys come in! I've stayed out of the e-reader scene mostly due to expenses. Now, I'm still not rolling in dough at the moment, so I'm really trying to balance out spiffy gadgets with my budget. Here are a few brands I've heard of, ranging from $79 to $199:
Kindle (Basic $79, Touch $99, Keyboard $139, Fire $199),
NOOK (Touch $99, Color $169, Tablet $199),
Sony (Reader $130),
Kobo (Basic $100, Touch $130, Vox $200),
and BeBook (One $99, S Club $129, Neo $159).

Honestly, I'm kinda leaning towards a Kindle at the moment. I've used the PC software for about a year now, and other than the PDF issues (which I don't know if there's a better option right now) I don't have any huge problems. Plus I already have a lot of free books downloaded, and I'm sure I'll run across other freebees regularly. Plus my library already offers a large selection of e-books in the Kindle format!

So here's my checklist:
Price - Not able to spend tons right now.
Weight/Size - Not a huge issue for me, actually.
Ease-of-Use - I'm pretty tech-savvy, so unless it's a nightmare to use, I should be fine.
Loyalty/Format - I'm not really loyal to one company over another. Powell's and Jan's are indie, and Borders kinda died. But when it comes to formats, how much of a pain is it going to be getting the right book format?
Memory - I'm not planning on replacing my library, this will be primarily for review requests that aren't available in print.
Touch or Not? - Is touch worth it for ease? Or is it a stress headache waiting to happen if it gets scratched?
Durability - Along the same lines as above, I'm pretty careful with my things and I'm not typically clutzy, but will I need a force-field around this thing?
Gadgets - I don't need tons of bells and whistles, but I won't turn them down either. Not really looking at 3G, video, or net-browsing, though music might be a plus...
Extras - Do I need to budget in for extras to get full use out of this? I don't foresee a need for an adapter, but will I need/want a case, light, etc.?

A tall order? Probably. So, what's your vote?

If you could cast your vote above then leave a comment below, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks a bunch, guys. I can't wait to hear from you!

Monday, February 20, 2012

There Is No Plan, Plus 5 More Career Secrets

The Adventures of Johnny Bunko The Last Career Guide You'll Ever Need

The 6 career secrets no one ever told you.

Meet Johnny Bunko. He's probably a lot like you. He did what everybody—parents, teachers, counselors—told him to do. But now, stuck at a dead-end job, he's begun to suspect that what he thought he knew is just plain wrong. One bizarre night, Johnny meets Diana, the unlikeliest career advisor he's ever seen. Part Cameron Diaz, part Barbara Eden, she reveals to Johnny the six essential lessons for thriving in the world of work.

The Adventures of Johnny Bunko is America's first business book in the Japanese comic format known as manga. Packed with smart, life-changing advice you won't find anywhere else, it's the last career guide you'll ever need.

My dad picked this up as he was perusing the bookshelves at Goodwill. I was pretty surprised when I saw it since he primarily reads only non-fiction, and definitely not picture books. But he said he'd heard good things about it, and had read the author before. So I shrugged and didn't think any more of it.

A week or two passes and he shows up with it again. Says I would really enjoy it and get some good advice out of it. I grabbed it, mostly for my sister who's a huge manga enthusiast, and again didn't think much of it.

Then there I was—trapped at the dentist's office with absolutely nothing to do while my sister was getting her mouth worked on. And there was her bag...with yarn and knitting supplies spilling out of it. If only I'd learned to knit!

But wait... What's that? That weird-looking career book was in there too! Oh, fine. After all, I had nothing better to do...

I ended up reading the whole thing twice through. Okay, yes it's short, but it's also really, really good.

Open the cover and BAM! you're in the story. No blank pages, no title page, just straight into Johnny's life. His humdrum, uninspired, boring life. He steps out of a late night of work to grab a quick something to eat (which he diligently brings back to his cubicle) and upon snapping open the chopsticks...a pointy-eared woman appears!

Okay, I know how it sounds, but really it's a seriously good book. It may sound (and look) really strange, and you're probably thinking, "What kind of serious advice can I get out of a fantasy comic book?" Well, the fantasy is more of a means for comedy rather than a major plot point. She (Diana) poofs in whenever Johnny is in a snag and disappears once her message is conveyed. Having her as a magic genie/fairy-godmother/demon/entity is more of a plot convenience or manga trope than an all out fantasy trope.

And if you don't believe me, check out her first piece of career advice:

1. There is no plan.

Deep stuff, huh?

What? That means nothing to you? Well then read the book!

Okay, okay, I won't leave you hanging like that. Think about it for a second. What have your parents and teachers been telling you since you were old enough for a job? Finish high school, go to college, get a degree, get an internship/minor job in a company where you can move up, work your way up...and you're set for life! That's the plan. But...ask anyone you know (even your teachers) who are happy with their job and I guarantee that's not the history they'll give. So...why do we perpetuate this myth of a plan? And what do we do now that we know there isn't one?

...Check out the book. Just trust me on this one.

Overall, I found Johnny Bunko an entertaining, insightful, and fast read. I'd recommend it to anyone and everyone working, schooling, entering, or even thinking of entering the job world. There is some minor language, so I'd say appropriate for high school and up. And while it might not be the last career guide I'll ever pick up, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko definitely should be the first one on your list.

Approximate Reading Time: 30-45 minutes

Friday, February 17, 2012

This Bites - Metaphorically Speaking Of Course


At the Afterlife Academy of Exceptionally Dark Arts, the vampires in training follow one of two tracks: they become either Sisters or Saviors. Of course, everyone wants to be a Savior, swooping into infested high schools in matching red leather jumpsuits and wielding crossbows, putting down swarming vampires with deadly efficiency.

But Lily Fielding is just a Sister—a Third Sister at that, a measly trainee. When Lily and her two Sisters, Alice and Cara, are called out to their latest assignment, she figures it's just another run-of-the-mill gig: spot the Vamplayer (part vampire, part player), identify the predictably hot, trampy girl he's set his eyes on, and befriend her before the Vamplayer can turn her to do his bidding.

Finding the sleek and sexy Vamplayer, Tristan, and his equally beautiful and popular target, Bianca, is easy. And when Lily meets the adorably geeky Zander, she too falls under love's spell. But this assignment turns out to be trickier than most when the Third Sister must battle the baddest vampire of all.

I started this one pretty late. In fact, it was after 2am, and I was only planning on reading for an hour or so, until I got tired. I ended up reading the whole thing right then and there. I could not put this book down.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Another Return

Hi all... Been quite a while, eh?

Well, I can say I'm back. I'm sorry to have left for so long.

Good news is I found a job. Bad news is it was only a temporary/seasonal one, and I'm back out in the job market.

I can't promise that I'll be back forever, I don't even know that I'll be here through March. It'll depend on what work I can find and if I can swing work plus this and my other side projects. I have got a schedule I think will allow me to get through my requested reviews I've agreed to, and I really do promise to get through all those.

That's all for now... Look for a new review tomorrow, as well as some more personal posts and questions next week.

Quick Question: What's your favorite/recommended e-reader?