6 years to read a book

Today is the day I finally finished reading Ulysses by James Joyce. I started reading this detestable book back in 2006. I’ve obviously not been reading this continuously for that entire time, but the thought of reading it has been in the back of my mind for much of this time.

Well, today is the day I finally reached the end. I am so pleased not to have to read this book any more. It is the least enjoyable book I have read in my entire life.

Now I’m going to start reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. The few things I’ve read about it seem interesting, and I am looking forward to reading it. 🙂

Initial thoughts on my new Kindle

I bought my Kindle when I realised that I would be spending somewhere in the region of £200 on books that are part of The Modern Library’s Top 100 list. I figured I could get quite a few of them for free from Project Gutenberg because they’re out of copyright, and I could get the others fairly cheaply because they’re pretty old, and digital media is cheap.

I was wrong.

The prices of ebooks on the Kindle store is bordering on the ridiculous. Most of the books I want were published in the first 3 quarters of the 20th century. You can pick up a second-hand copy at any book store or market for a couple of pounds. You can even buy a copy of some of them from Amazon/eBay for 1 penny (if you don’t mind paying for the postage).

The book I’m reading at the moment is Sophie’s Choice. Amazon’s price list says that a second-hand paperback copy on their marketplace can be bought for £3.05, a new paperback from the marketplace costs £4.27, and a new paperback from Amazon costs £6.99. If you want a digital copy with no associated printing or shipping costs then it’ll cost you £6.64.

I don’t understand how it’s so expensive. I’m not taking up physical copies of the book requiring more to be printed. I’m getting a copy of a digital file. It’s sent to my device automatically by machine. There is no postage, there is no physical storage required in a warehouse somewhere. Does that really only amount to a price difference of 35p?

I’m a little disenchanted by the whole thing, but I do also enjoy owning a Kindle. It is very convenient, and I suppose that’s what I pay for. Also, I suppose the book publishers are the ones who ultimately set the prices and I’d say they’re about as far behind as the music and film industries when it comes to embracing the digital age.

Getting settled

I’m starting to get things together at work now.

I’ve got a computer to call my own and I’ve taken in my keyboard, a new mouse, and my headphones. I’ve started to set up my environment so my keyboard shortcuts work. I’ve switched the Caps Lock and Escape keys so I can use vim comfortably again. It messes everything up for other people who try to use my computer though.

I am looking forward to getting to work tomorrow and getting some proper code written. I haven’t written any for a while and I’m starting to wonder if I’ll be able to remember how to do it.

There’s a barbecue at work tomorrow afternoon after an all-hands meeting. It’ll be quite nice to see people ever-so-slightly out of the work environment, even if it is just in the car park. 🙂

I’ve started reading on the tube so it’s making the journey seem faster, and helping me get through my massive reading list. I’m looking forward to making some serious progress over the next few months. For now I’ll just be quite pleased to finish A Room With a View and then maybe renew my efforts of defeating Ulysses.

So yeah, basically things are going well. 😀

George Amberson Minafer

George Amberson Minafer is one of the most annoying fictional characters I’ve ever had the displeasure of coming across.

I was going to write a big rant about him, but it seems that someone beat me to it (in 1919, pg 192):

We doubt whether Mr. BOOTH TARKINGTON’S many admirers on this side of the Atlantic will read _The Magnificent Ambersons_ (HODDER AND STOUGHTON) with any great sense of satisfaction. _George Minafer_ is a spoilt and egotistical cad, and as we pursue his unpleasant personality from infancy onward our impatience with the adoring relatives who allow the impossible little bounder to turn their lives to tragedy becomes more and more pronounced. In England his “come uppance” would have commenced at an early age and in the time-honoured place thereunto provided. But in the case of young American nabobs these corrective agencies are too often wanting, and though it is hard to believe that a sophisticated uncle, a soldier grandfather and various other relatives would have allowed a conceited and overbearing young boor to wreck his mother’s life by separating her from a former sweetheart, it cannot be said that such cases have not existed or that the picture is altogether overdrawn.