Thursday, February 28, 2013

e-books

Many libraries now provide the opportunity for patrons to borrow e-books.  Overdrive is used by a number of libraries to provide this service. This year staff at the library where I work have the opportunity to try a number of devices that can be used for e-books - a Sony e-book reader, a Samsung Galaxy tablet using the Android platform and and iPad. These all have advantages and disadvantages depending largely on the what you want from the device - primarily to read/manage e-books or other functions plus the ability to manage e-books. E-books can also be loaded on to and read on a PC. In all cases, when borrowing books using Overdrive, Adobe Digital Editions (ADE)needs to be downloaded. Depending on the device other software or apps will also need to be downloaded.

Each library using Overdrive decides the selection of books that will be made available to their patrons. A list of compatible devices is provided. One device that cannot be used in Australia to borrow e-books is a Kindle device.  In the Help section, under My Help, there are detailed instructions on what software or apps need to be downloaded for a particular device and how to authorise the computer or device in order to borrow e-books from Overdrive.

This week I purchased a Sony e-book reader. I chose the e-book reader as I primarily want a device for reading e-books rather than a general device on which e-books can also be read. Like other e-book devices it is a touch screen device but it also has buttons making it easier for people who find touch screen devices challenging to still be able to navigate the e-book reader.

Advantages of e-book readers for older reader include the ability to adjust the size and type of font and the contrast to suit the needs of the reader. The devices are light and therefore easy to carry in a bag. They are easier to manage than many large print books which can be heavy and cumbersome. Once the reader has been set up it is easy to select  items to borrow from a public library or to purchase from the many online suppliers. Being able to use buttons as well as touch screen is also an advantage.

With the Sony e-book reader books can be downloaded on to a PC and then transferred to the reader or books can be transferred directly to the e-reader using wifi.

I still prefer being able to read real paper books but there will definitely be times when I will find my e-book reader extremely useful.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The white lioness

This book was first published in Sweden in 1993 with the English translation appearing in 1998. According to the Inspector Wallander website thirteen books in this series have been published in Sweden between 1991 and 2009 but not all have been translated into English. The white lioness is number three in the series. A number of films and television series in Swedish have been produced. The BBC has also produced three series of television productions based on the books and shown on SBS.

Inspector Wallander lives and works in Ystad in southern Sweden. In the first chapters of The white lioness, Wallander and his team are alerted to the disappearance of a female real estate agent. While looking for her a house and surrounding buildings explode and in the ruins are found the finger of a black man, the remains of a Russian made radio transmitter and the but of a pistol. Shortly afterwards the woman's body us also found in a well. Events in South Africa at the end of Apartheid become interwoven with the hunt for the murderer of the Young Swedish woman as investigators uncover a plot to assassinate a major South African political figure.

Although 550 + pages, this is a fast moving story which makes you want to keep reading to find out what happens next. As well as the plot, however, a major feature of the book is the development of the flawed character of Wallander as he endeavours to work out the connections between seemingly unconnected events, catch the murderer and foil the assassination. His health, both physical and mental, is jeopardised as depression sets in after killing a man and the need to save his daughter when she is imprisoned.