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Topics - John F

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Let's Talk Kindle! / Trade in a Kindle for a Nook?
« on: May 17, 2015, 06:34:24 am »
That's what Barnes & Noble invites you to do.

For Kindle readers they'll give you a credit of $25, apparently regardless of what condition it's in. For a Kindle DX or a Kindle Fire HDX, the offer is $100.

For those who have kept older Kindles they no longer use and are curious about the competition, this would be a less expensive way to check it out.

The Book Corner / Clive James, "Poetry Notebook"
« on: April 16, 2015, 08:02:53 am »
Helen Vendler once wrote, “The time eventually comes in a good [writer's] career when readers actively long for his books: to know that someone out there is writing down your century, your life — under whatever terms of difference — makes you wish for news of yourself.” She was speaking of the poet James Merrill, but if I'd written those words, they would be about Clive James.

James is probably best known in America for his appearances on Dick Cavett's PBS program and his TV series on fame which was also shown on PBS. He was born in Australia 75 years ago - he's my age, give or take. He has lived in England since he went there as a Cambridge University undergraduate, and now he is dying there: leukemia, emphysema, and kidney failure, the result of a lifetime of heavy smoking and drinking. Despite all this, he is not sorry for himself; in an interview last month he described himself as "near to death but thankful for life." And he has never stopped writing books I actively long for. The latest is "Poetry Notebook: Reflections on the Intensity of Language."

The title doubly suggests an informal approach. James has written much formal literary criticism, including long and probing essays that have been collected in several books. This book is less ambitious, but I'm finding it just as rewarding. James is that extreme rarity among critics - he can be serious and funny at the same time. One of his pieces is titled "Product Placement in Modern Poetry," drawing attention to the point when poets began to incorporate brand names and what that development signifies. I'd never thought of that, though I've known some of those poems all my life

In others he tells of poets I'd never heard of, such as Stephen Edgar and Brian Donaghy, looking closely at poems that are sensationally good. For me, the most valuable work a critic does is to bring attention and praise to good work, not to slam the not so good. His preference, in his reading and in the poems he wrote, is for technical accomplishment and formal virtuosity, poems that aren't just prose cut into stove lengths, so he has affirmative and revealing things to say about (for example) James Merrill, while Ezra Pound's "Cantos" get the emperor's new clothes treatment, a rather daring anti-establishment position but one I'm inclined to agree with. I'll quote just one sentence, which refers to the imagery of ants in the Cantos and to Pound's obsessions, and gives a bit of James's flavor: "If the ants hadn't got into his pants, he would still have been done in by the bees in his bonnet."

For those who care about poetry, especially poetry since the War, this is enjoyable as well as informative and critically sharp. It's published in the U.S. by Liveright, a hallowed name in American literary publishing (acquired in the 1980s by W.W. Norton, my alma mater, but I'm not biased). The Kindle eBook is $9.

Let's Talk Kindle! / First anniversary
« on: March 28, 2015, 03:51:58 am »
Exactly a year ago I bought my first and only Kindle, a Paperwhite 2. The best $100 I've spent in a long time. And though I read about a book a week, I haven't had to spend anything on Kindle books, which are available from my public library for free. If I'd known it would be like this, I'd have started sooner.

No reason anyone else should be at all interested in this. I just felt like patting Amazon (and myself) on the back. :)

Let's Talk Kindle! / Kindle Paperwhite User Guide
« on: January 30, 2015, 03:21:36 am »

Tips, Tricks, and Troubleshooting (Kindle) / Deleting from Kindle
« on: December 24, 2014, 12:32:08 am »
Over the months my Paperwhite has accumulated 55 "Personal Letters" that I've no use for and want to get rid of. When the Kindle is connected to the computer by USB, these show up as folders in the Documents folder on Drive E:. Also in the Documents folder are 53 Personal Letters in amazon's .azw format

The obvious and easy thing to do is delete all these folders and files in Windows; presumably they would vanish from the Kindle too. But would this work, without scrambling the Kindle's memory and contents listing? Should I delete the folders but not the files, or vice versa? And if any of these moves are risky, then what's a safe way to kill off those Personal Letters?

Thanks in advance.

The Book Corner / T. H. White, The Once and Future King
« on: November 18, 2014, 08:09:07 am »
That's King Arthur, and this is a very different "biography" of him. A strong sense of what it was like, living in the middle ages or earlier, and at times very funny - I've gotten to where Arthur, or Art, or Wart (as the boy is called) has met King Pellinore in the forest, in not so hot pursuit of the Questing Beast. Surely "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" owes much to this.

Amazon offers a Kindle edition at $5.99, but my library doesn't offer it so I'm reading a 3M Cloud eBook instead.

It's a long book, 500 pages in print, and I'm not very far into it, but it's a fast read.

Suggestions, Comments / Unread posts/replies to me
« on: November 16, 2014, 02:05:20 am »
Does the forum software allow me to find those message boards and topics that contain replies to my posts? Particularly those I haven't read yet. This is a feature of most other forums I belong to and it saves me a lot of time.

Tips, Tricks, and Troubleshooting (Kindle) / Updating Kindle for PC
« on: October 09, 2014, 04:23:57 am »
The version I use was last updated on April 20. My options are set to update automatically without notifying me, but this hasn't happened. I haven't had the problem described in another thread because I'm still using Windows XP. But if there's a newer version with any new features, maybe I should update manually. Can anyone enlighten me about this?

Kindle Accessories / Best power cable/adapter for Kindle Paperwhite
« on: October 09, 2014, 03:11:56 am »
I'm thinking of giving a Paperwhite to a friend who doesn't have a computer, so he can't use the supplied USB cable to recharge the battery. Amazon's list of avallable power cords and adapters confuses me. What should I buy? Thanks in advance.

The Book Corner / eBooks from public library
« on: May 19, 2014, 07:16:59 am »
I'm a volunteer at the New York Public Library. Many people don't know that they don't have to be a resident of New York City to get a NYPL card with full privileges, including downloading eBooks, audiobooks, and some audio and video recordings. Anybody can get one. Residents of New York State can get library cards valid for 3 years; out-of-state including out-of-U.S., valid for 3 months.

First, you apply online at the NYPL web site (if you happen to be in a NYPL branch, apply there):

When you submit the form, you'll see a confirmation page with a 7-digit number near the top. Now you need to go in person to a NYPL branch to validate the card. Take the confirmation number and show an officially issued photo ID card with your name and address on it. If your ID doesn't include your address, bring some paperwork that does, such as a utility bill or even a magazine you subscribe to. You'll get your card.

NYPL provides eBooks in Kindle format (also EPUB and PDF); you specify what you want at the time you request the download. EBooks, audiobooks, and audio recordings may be "borrowed" for 1-3 weeks - your choice; video recordings for 3, 5, or 7 days. Use the NYPL online catalog to find and request the material:

You can limit the search to eBooks by clicking on Books under Format in the left-hand column.

Any questions? Just ask.

The Brooklyn Public Library, which is independent of NYPL, has many eBooks too, including quite a few not in the NYPL catalog. If you want to get a BPL card, here's where:

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