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Big Sur - Hiking Andrew Molera State Park

One of the great delights of living in the Bay Area is the proximity to the natural beauty of California and it's hard to beat the stunning drive down Highway One to Big Sur. This is certainly one of the iconic American road trips, but for me the joy of being in the area is getting out of your car and hitting a trail, so you can be "in" the landscape rather than just looking at it from the asphalt. 

I'm Loving My Kindle!


Every post deserves an image and this is prettier than a picture of my Kindle!
It's a New Year and I'm cherishing my Christmas present, a new Kindle. I've wanted one for some time but  the possibility of downloading library books was the clincher for me, this pushed it from desirable to irresistible.

It's so easy. I barely had the thing out of the box before I was trying to use it. It used to be you read the instructions first and then had a go, but now you try to intuit everything, as if instructions are only an after thought.

What astonished me is that the library borrowing system is completely integrated into Amazon. I don't know what I was expecting, but I didn't think they'd make it this easy to borrow books for free. I had an online account at the library so all I had to do was logon to their ebook page and start browsing. It's a virtual system, you search for what you want and then check the books out. They're then sent to your Amazon account, where you log on and have them sent to your Kindle. It's extraordinarily simple. 

The library book I was currently reading was available and I was able to switch from the hard copy immediately, no waiting for the library to open! Many of the books I wanted to read were currently checked out, but I could  add them to a wait list. When your hold becomes available they send an email  and you have three days to collect your virtual book. 

Here's the link to the Oakland public library system. While it was easy to navigate the site it took me sometime to find the ebook page.


I've just checked out my first hold, In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson. I'm so looking forward to reading it (we gave it to my brother for Christmas) and best of all there are no late fees! I can keep the book for up to 21 days and then it is automatically removed from my account.

The only difficulty I had was that initially the books wouldn't download onto my Kindle. I have the 3G version and hadn't yet enabled the wifi. It seems when you are borrowing books you have to send them via a wireless connection or plug your Kindle into your computer and transfer via USB. It makes sense, Amazon doesn't want to pay for the bandwidth of me downloading free library books!


I opted for the "Special Offers" Kindle which was a full $50 cheaper. The small banner ads at the bottom of the home page don't bother me, but I HATE the  intrusive ads they use as a screensaver. Yes, this means an ad shows when you put the thing down. There is an option to go into the "Manage my Kindle" page at Amazon and remove the ads but you have to cough up the $50. Not sure if it's worth it, though if you're going to do it sooner would be better than later!

I'll still be reading plenty of regular books along with the Kindle, the only important thing is to keep reading either way!

Comments

Anna said…
Sounds fantastic! Libraries are shutting down here (UK) at an alarming rate thanks to ruthless government cuts in public spending. I worry about a world increasingly atomised; where eventually everyone is alone staring at screens.
I worry about losing the community aspect of the library too. We're fortunate to have a new library just down the street, built about a decade ago. It remains very busy and has just expanded the dvds on offer and recently opened a glass enclosed teen zone.

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