November 2011

Did Jane Austen Die of Arsenic Poisoning?

Her long, fatal illness remains a mystery
The Daily Mail - the United Kingdom's top tabloid newspaper, and I do mean that ironically - has a surprisingly literary article posted about Jane Austen's death. Although in keeping with the paper's domain, it's a rather salacious topic: was Jane Austen's death caused by arsenic poisoning?
The article is written by murder mystery author Lindsay Ashford, who is (not coincidentally) currently promoting her newest novel, a work of fiction titled The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen. I'm a little bit confused at the relationship between Ashford's research and having written a novel about it instead of a non-fiction book. But maybe novels get more traction in the market, particularly about older authors. 

Deepak Chopra, Amazon Publishing, and Random House Publishing

How much has Amazon Publishing impacted Random House?

Self-help/spiritual guru Deepak Chopra has just signed a book deal to write “Brotherhood: A Tale of Faith, Big Dreams, and the Power of Persistence” with Amazon Publishing. In the not-so-recent past, Deepak Chopra signed a deal with Random House and Crown to write under the “publisher” Deepak Choprak Books. 


Crown’s official line regarding Chopra’s decision to sign with Amazonis that they are not upset about Chopra’s addition of Amazon Publishing to his list of book publishers; they contend that the popular and often best-selling author has had more books lined up with Crown in the future. 

Convert EPUB Books To Kindle Format With Calibre

Read Google Books (and others) on your Kindle


The Kindle is notable for accepting almost any document format… except for EPUB, the free and open-source standard which was developed by the International Digital Publishing Forum. This can be a real pain for Kindle owners, because many stores - including Google Books - only offer their ebooks in EPUB format.
Luckily, it is simple to convert these files to MOBI format for the Kindle. The best way to do this is with Calibre, which is free under the GPL. You can download and install Calibre here.
After you finish installation, Calibre just needs you to tell it where to store your ebooks, and some details about your email address. This email info lets Calibre send files to your Kindle via Whispernet. It's a very convenient feature, but remember that you can always transfer the files to your Kindle via USB if you have problems:

Techniques for Reading Classics

Take It Easy On Yourself, It's Okay Not To Like it, and Downshift Your Expectations
BookRiot has an interesting article about "How to Read a Classic," with three tips to help you get through the sometimes arduous experience of reading a classic. You know, those books that have been on your "I should read this" list for years. The ones you feel guilty about not having read, as if it makes you a lesser person. 
Take It Easy On Yourself
In fact, that leads me to my first tip: set aside the guilt. If you try to guilt yourself into reading something, you're setting yourself up to hate it. You should read a book because you're interested, not out of a sense of obligation.