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Hot on the heels of the excellent review from The Washington Post, which was so excellent I had to find a way to mention it again, comes more great write-ups for The Devil’s Company (now in print!).  There is an equally great rave from The Austin American-Statesman.  The Devil’s Company (which, as you may know, is now in print) also merited a mention in The Seattle Times’ mystery roundup.  The Minneapolis Star Tribune was kind enough to mention the paperback of The Whiskey Rebels.  Yes, “Not to be missed,” is an excellent thing to say.  You’d be surprised how many good reviews defy an extractable quote.  Even so, I must say to you: Wake up, Minneapolis, The Devil’s Company is now in print.  Let’s see some hardcover review love, if you please.   Finally, at The Writer’s Life, you can read 10 Things People Don’t Know about David Liss, though some of you may know three of them.

As predicted, by the way, Thrillerfest this past weekend was a blast.  Here I am with fellow panelists James Phelan, John Lescroart (rhymes with “less Phwah”), and Robert Dugoni.

Also, and this is extra cool, I met Dan Slater, who works for Amazon Kindle.  I can’t remember exactly how the conversation went, but it was either, “I swear by all that is holy, you will get a free Kindle,” or possibly, “Um, I’ll see what I can do. Now will you please leave me alone?”  It’s all fuzzy.

If he gets me a Kindle, I will be his best friend.

Finally, to the person who keeps trying to post comments to my blog in Russian, please knock it off.  I’m never going to post it if I don’t know what it says.

One Response to “”

  1. P. D. Peters says:

    Reading is something I’ve always wanted to take up, but never took the time to research books or spend the day at the bookstore to make sure I didn’t waste money. I’m also an instant gratification type of guy, so I never really considered buying books from Amazon (or any other online source for that matter), while actual bookstores were intimidating.

    When the original Kindle was released, I was intrigued, but never researched it due to the insanely high price tag. It was obviously out of my price range. With the announcement of the Kindle 2, my interest was peaked again, and with my monetary situation being different than it was over a year ago, $359 was something I could afford. So I researched the Kindle 2, and found that it was something I would like to own. I have never owned or even seen an e-reader before, nor had I ever bought an e-book. But I am a gadget guy, and I want to start reading, so the Kindle 2 seemed like a great place to start.

    Here are my thoughts, in no particular order:

    – I was expecting the device to be pretty small after reading online reviews, and while it is small, it isn’t a detriment to the device. It really seems like the perfect size. I’m a fairly big guy (6’4″) with big hands, and I can easily and comfortably hold the device in either hand. After being scared it’d be small, at this point, I’m not sure I’d want one that is any bigger.

    – The screen really is a sight to behold. As I read the reviews, everybody kept saying, “You have to see it to appreciate it.” They were right. The first time you tilt the device and look at the screen from a sharp angle, and realize that you can still see everything, you’ll be amazed as well. At times, it’s uncanny how much it looks like ink printed on a piece of paper.

    – The resolution on this device is impressive for such a small screen. Everything is super sharp. I’m very pleased with this aspect of the device.

    – I find the myriad of buttons on the face of the device to be very nicely done. As highly documented before, the buttons on the side of the device used for page turning, going to the home screen, and accessing the menu all engage with an inward click. This enables you to pick up the device with the edges without pressing any buttons.

    – I’ve read others who think the 5-way joystick is too stiff, but I think it’s fine. It’s provides a nice resistance in my experience, which means it moves when you want it to, and does not move when you accidentally hit it.

    – I think the keyboard is a bit smaller than I’d like, but I honestly wouldn’t change it if I could. It’s diminutive size only helps aesthetics, but is still usable. Besides, this is a reading device, not a typing device, so the keyboard only needs to be used in certain instances.

    – Some people keep complaining about the lack of backlights/frontlights built into the unit, but I don’t find it a problem. I understand the technology and understand why a backlight isn’t possible at this point. Plus, I’ve seen the lighting solution on the Sony e-readers, and I think it looks terrible. I’m firmly in the camp of waiting until it can be done right before doing it. A clip-on light seems like a fine solution, plus it doesn’t drain the battery.

    – I’ve also read that some people want a touchscreen, but I think this device is fine without it. Why must we make everything touchscreen these days? I prefer the physical keyboard on this device over a touchscreen even though it’s not used that much.

    – The speakers on the Kindle 2 are much better than I expected. I put a MP3 in the music folder, and was pretty impressed at the quality of which it played. I do question the decision to put them backwards facing instead of forwards facing, though.

    – My main issue with the Kindle 2 thus far is the lack of organization on the home screen. It seems very shortsighted on Amazon’s part to just throw anything and everything in a singularly formatted list on the home page. It seems like a gross oversight when considering the rest of the device’s utilitarian nature. Give us better formatting, give us separate sections so we can easy resolve our current books, the latest newspaper issue, the latest magazine issue, etc. Make it so that we can list our top 5 (or so) books on the home page, then have a link to the rest of our books on another screen, one we can, again, have complete customization control over.

    – One of my favorite features of the Kindle 2 is the percentage completed bar at the bottom. I love knowing how far in or how much left I have of a book. It also took me a bit to get used to the Locations, but now I understand them as being the digital replacement for page numbers. Given that you can change the size of the text, I understand why page numbers just don’t work in the digital realm.

    – I’ve personally not seen any issues with contrast and whatnot that others have been complaining about. The lighting that you read in is paramount to how grey the background is. It supposedly absorbs light just like paper, and I feel this to be true. Of course, I’ve never seen a Kindle 1, nor have I been able to compare one side-by-side with a K2, but the screen is fine for me. No complaints.

    – I do, however, see the “ghosting”, but only after waking it up from stand-by mode. You can see faint outlines of the image that was there, as well as being able to see a slight ghost of the text at the very bottom that instructs you slide the switch to wake. It’s like that text at the bottom doesn’t refresh correctly for some reason. It’s not a big deal to me at all, just kinda weird. If I really want to get rid of it, I just have to hit the joystick down a notch to have it bring up a definition. Otherwise, it’ll never refresh that bottom status bar from page to page. As far as the faint ghost lines from the stand-by image, those go away completely after your first page turn.

    – I can easily get lost in the Kindle while reading just like a regular book. It’s kind of weird that this is touted as a feature, because IMO, any well-written literature is easy to get lost in, no matter what you’re reading from.

    – Eye strain is completely non-existant in my experience. I’ve sat and read for an hour at a time, and my only problem is trying to get comfortable on the couch or bed.

    – I don’t care for the current magazine selection. I’d like to see more variety.

    – I like the newspaper feature, it’s very cool IMO. However, after getting the NY Times trial for the past 3 or 4 days, I just don’t find myself using it until my local paper joins up, which might be quite a while, since we aren’t even in the top 50 most populous cities in the U.S. (Lexington, KY is around 70-75 last time I checked. Hell, I’d settle for Louisville’s paper).

    – The battery life seems fine to me. I left wireless on for the first 3 days, and after reading through “Ur” and 25% of “DaVinci Code”, plus lots of general playing around with the device and checking out features, I got the low-battery warning about 55 hours after intially charging it to full. I turned off wireless, and got another 100 page turns or so out of it before getting the warning again. Half of this time was with firmware 2.0, the other half with firmware 2.1.

    Overall, I’m loving this device. A tad steep at $359, but hey, why work if you don’t indulge from time to time. Plus, in my 4 days of ownership, I’ve already read through “Ur” by Stephen King, and am already halfway through “The DaVinci Code”. This is really good for me, seeing as to how I’ve only read 3 books in the past 5 years or so. I’m loving looking through tons of books in the Kindle store and seeing what I might want to read next (it will probably be something to help me understand stem cell research a little better so I can form a better opinion on it).

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