A Bookman’s Tale

Bookman's TaleA Bookman’s Tale: A Novel Of Obsession by Charlie Lovett is one of the first books in a long time that compelled me to stay up late and read at every free, and some not free, moment I had. I was totally enthralled by the combination of books, history, romance, and dysfunctional personalities. I must say that I nodded my head knowingly a few too many times at the personality quirks of the main character, the bookman, Peter Byerly.

Is this something peculiar to those drawn to books? Is it such a standard trait that we are loners, prone to anxiety, and attracted to not only the lore but the physical characteristics of old books? The worst problem with this novel, if it can be seen as a problem, is that it has reinvigorated my interest in book collecting and has already been the catalyst to a good number of new purchase. I even started measuring my study this evening to ascertain whether or not I have enough room to add another book case. And for those keeping count, that would be a fifth case within that room.

If you are interested in books, in English history, in a good mystery, or a bittersweet love story, I would highly recommend A Bookman’s Tale. Along the way you may just learn something about Shakespeare and the exciting, yes really, world of rare books. I eagerly await Charlie Lovett’s next book. Luckily I don’t have long to wait; First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen is due out in just a few weeks. Yes, I have already ordered my copy.

To Live Forever – A Novel By Andra Watkins

Finally, finally, finally. The book To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis by my buddy Andra Watkins is now available. I have watched the creation of this book, the work of getting it published, and now the wonder of the final product.

To Live Forever by Andra WatkinsTo Live Forever is a journey into a little girl’s future that also explores the past of not only Meriwether Lewis, but the historic Natchez Trace as well. Following the none-to-friendly divorce of her parents, young Emmaline Cagney must run away from a situation at home that has gone from bad to worse. Along the way she picks up the help of the wandering spirit of Meriwether Lewis – of Lewis and Clarke fame – and a host of other characters both modern and folkloric. From the sultry sway of New Orleans to the icon country of Nashville, the reader is taken on their own journey of exploration into some of the most interesting characters in America’s past. Told from the few points of Lewis, Emmaline, and “the Judge” (one of those unsavory characters you will love to hate), the story unfolds at a quickening rate to an explosive climax.

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Blame It On Andra

I stared upward at the motionless ceiling fan. A faint glow filtered in the open bedroom door from the nightlight in the hall and reflected down off the still blades. It was four in the morning, my head was pounding, and there was a dull throb in my ear meaning that almost assuredly my infection was back. Great. To top it all off I was trying to come to grips with the dream I just woke from which involved performer Amanda Palmer, her husband and writer Neil Gaiman, a mysterious collection of architectural ruins in a coast line not far from a train station, and a small mysterious decaying skull.

Andra WatkinsThat was how I woke up this morning. I blame it all on the far ranging discussions of the previous evening. Well maybe not the earache, but who really knows.

So let’s go with the previous evening. If I lay the blame there, I can transfer a good amount of it to my friend Andra Watkins. Whenever we get together the discussions take unusual turns, and last night was no different. Her first book, “To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis”, is about to be published and so our conversations naturally centered on that. Topics ranged from author interview questions to publishing formats to the effect paper quality has on the reading experience. The most lively discussion though was around the premise of her book in general, shall we say a post-death do-over.
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Review – The Maker Movement Manifesto

The Maker Movement is really gaining steam these days. From “Make Labs” down the road The Maker Movement Manifestoto Arduinos in every RadioShack, the maker phenomenon is spreading like wildfire. For some this grassroots movement to create new things is hard to understand. That is where Mark Hatch’s book “The Maker Movement Manifesto” comes in to play. Published by McGraw Hill and subtitled “Rules for innovation in the new world of crafters, hackers, and tinkerers”, this book is a 40,000 foot management overview of the changing world of innovation.

Hatch is the CEO of TechShop, a maker space where inventors and innovators can go to test out ideas, use the available equipment, and create the projects of their dreams. In this book he uses the experiences he has gained at that location to follow the path of ventures such as DoDoCase, the iPad case manufacturing company, to Square and Oru Kayak.

The examples and case studies are the backbone of the book. What we are seeing here is the maker experience from the business side. In contrast to a nuts-and-bolts book like Zero To Maker” by David Lang, The Maker Movement Manifesto is an enthusiastic relation of the maker psychology and the perks of approaching manufacturing in a new way. Whether it is shortened designed times, less need for out-side investment, or a more hands on and adaptive method of the product evolution, Hatch discusses the big picture issues. Issues like the correct software to use, the different microprocessors to consider, and the implications of the various styles of 3-D printers are beyond the scope.

If you are new to the field, if you need to know why people are excited about the maker movement and why it is being compared to the birth of the Internet, then this a great book. The style is friendly, the examples inspiring, and the read enjoyable. But if you have a grasp of why you want to be a maker are are looking for a guide on how to be on, you might be better off with “Zero To Maker”.

Tech eBooks and Videos On Sale

I am a computer guy in real life. It is what I do for a living – what I do to put food on the table and keep a roof over our heads. And, it is a constantly changing field so I am always looking for educational materials. Those materials can be expensive though, so when I find a good deal I jump on it and also try to pass it on.

To that end, for those geekily inclined among us, I just heard of a very good deal. Packt Publishing, who produce a ton of great programing, sys admin and other computer books, is repeating their $5 eBook Bonanza again. To quote them, “Following on from the success of last year’s festive offer, the publisher will be celebrating the holiday season with an even bigger $5 Bonanza.”

From December 19th, customers will be able to get any ebook or video for just $5. This sale covers every title in the 1700+ range and customers can grab as many as they like until January 3rd 2014 – more information is available at http://bit.ly/1jdCr2W.

And if you are a fellow WordPress user, make sure to check out their collection of WordPress ebooks. I have also read their books on Drupal and Python, among others.


$5 Tech ebook and Video Bonanza