I didn’t quite get this one read before it’s release, but considering how busy I’ve been, having it read and posted within a week of its release, September 29, is pretty impressive! Any time there is a new Atwood, I get excited. Margaret Atwood is the Queen of Speculative Fiction, among other things. So when I had the opportunity to request a copy and the publisher, Nan A. Talese granted it*, I was over the moon.
I still have a few older Atwood’s on my shelf to read, but the last I read was Stone Mattress and I really liked where she was going. This being said, I’ve seen quite a few reviews recently of The Heart Goes Last where I’ve wanted to slap the reviewers and say WHAT ABOUT THE BOOK? Mostly people were complaining they had bought the first few chapters on a website and then had to buy the whole book to find out what happened (Hello, single song releases?! Do we not remember the “old days” of the 1990s – early 2000s?) As this doesn’t affect me and most readers, I don’t see why it’s important so don’t let that impact your judgement!
This is the first of three follow-up pieces to my piece last week about my online presence, concerning hard skills. Posts on people and networking skills and establishing individuality are still forthcoming. Each post will build on the previous posts ultimately highlighting my unique skill set.
Today’s post, if you couldn’t tell by the title, is about my self-taught tech-skills. I’m discussing learning html, graphic design/editing software and podcast editing and how they have helped in my professional life. I’ve learned and refined other skills including copy editing (always a work in progress), mobile design programs and time management to name a few, but I wanted to focus on the bigger skills for this piece.
Let’s start with the first I learned: html. Sure, most platforms have WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) interface, but having the ability to go in and fix formatting issues from font size and space to photo alignment is critical. When you add in the ability to build more complex things like lists and tables this has become an invaluable skill in my professional life. I am able to build, design and edit webpages and solve most formatting problems on my own. I can even use this to find out how other webpages are built (by viewing the source code) which allows me to continually expand my html knowledge!
I grabbed a copy of this book for free from the Riptide Publishing website. I did this before I had an interaction with Riptide that left an incredibly sour taste in my mouth and has pretty much guaranteed I won’t read any of their books again, but I’ll save that for the end of this post (after the recommendation).
This novella’s synopsis (Amazon Affiliate link) was just too cute to pass up. You get a second chance with your first crush and they happen to be gay too? Add in the techno-crazy insta-celebrity age and of course it’s going to be adorable. This rings especially true if you’re main character is a somewhat neurotic shy guy who has gone out of his way to avoid social-interactions in person, but has a large online following. I mean come on librarians and bookstores, let’s just go ahead and create the sub-sub-genre “Socially Awkward Romances.” I’d be all over that.
In the longest episode yet I talk with one of my roommates, Mike, about two VERY long books Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion, the first two novels of the Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons.
I’m sad I had to cut out as much as I did (including a great aside about Doctor Who), but I think you’ll enjoy this one. We talk about science fiction and religion, technology and the fear of Artificial intelligence and even delve briefly into religion and philosophy, and what all of these mean for the future of society. (We’re so smart!)
I did use this episode as a weird transition episode. You’ll start to see hints of what I’m working into the next episode from my “podcast class,” but because this was recorded well before I did that class there are no actual transitions, I hadn’t recorded actual transitions yet, just the page turning sounds.
The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien
I was able to do a lot more editing wise so hopefully the sound quality is a bit better than usual! I’m also mulling over a few more changes, like starting with the guest reading as the intro and then going into the discussion, but I’m not sure.
I know you are desperately waiting for the fifth episode (what?!) of Come Read with Me, but you have a few more weeks to wait! I’m editing away and it will be released on time (Apr. 30). I don’t have a book post this week as I’m still trekking through The Witching Hour so I wanted to talk a bit about podcasting technology. Last week I wrote about reading technology and how simple it can be and it couldn’t be further from the complexities of podcast editing.
In general it takes me a VERY long time to edit an episode of Come Read With Me. Most of this time is because of procrastination, but a lot of it is because I’m very slow at editing and I wasn’t even editing HALF of what I’ve learned you can edit!
Thirteen months ago I wrote about Spritz, a speed reading technology that Michael finally mentioned on Books on the Nightstand this past week. And even though I think it’s an awesome technology for non-leisure reading, I want to talk about something else.
I don’t remember when I bought this, but it was definitely pre-2003 and I completely forgot I owned one until I stumbled across it last December in a desperate attempt to find my passport. I decided to write about it as I’m trekking through The Witching Hour which clocks in at over 1,000 pages and the cover was starting to get pretty beat up from being shoved into my bookbag constantly. And this will most definitely help out with that. If you didn’t read what the left half of the photo says, I’m sure you’re asking what the hell is that?
This book simultaneously highlights what is good and what is bad about the white tower of academia. It explores a specific topic (Amazon Afiliate link) in depth, while establishing absolutely nothing, other than the need for more research. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and received no compensation for my honest opinion.
I’m going to start with my frustrations with the book (or academia/academics in a broader context) first and then move to what they did well. What frustrated me most about the entire collection were the isolationist tendencies of the authors. In a move to over-compensate for any sort of collective or global identity (and not Western-wash everything) every single paper started out within the first few paragraphs by using the almost exact phrase of, “due to cultural circumstances, male sex workers (MSWs) circumstances in this country cannot be compared to those in any other country.” The reason this was so infuriating is that there were clearly overarching themes, sexual identity (or lack thereof), technology and public health, to name a few, that Manichiello and Scott picked out and even acknowledged. However, rather than encouraging the authors to use them to tie everything together within the papers across borders and identities, they were used to bridge each of the papers between the papers in editorial asides. Seriously, if they would’ve just taken this as a given, at least 50 pages could’ve been cut out of the book due to repetitiveness.