It’s a big responsibility and an honor to work in that huge orbiting laboratory.
Figuring out how to support life in the hostile environment of space has resulted in thousands of down-to-earth spin-offs, from temperature-regulating underwear to heart pumps that rely on Shuttle fuel-pump technology. The concrete benefits and by-products of the science we do in space have touched fields from agriculture to medicine to robotics. Data gathered on the Shuttle and ISS help power Google Maps; experiments with different dietary and exercise protocols have revealed how to ward off, permanently, one debilitating type of osteoporosis; the robotic machinery now used inside the parts of nuclear power plants that are too hazardous for humans is a direct descendent of Canadarm: the list goes on and on.
The history My experiences with Harry Potter have been something of a rollercoaster. I enjoyed the books during their first run, but wasn’t hugely passionate about them - happy to wait for the paperback version, rather than stand in line at midnight for the final book’s release.
I somehow ended up owning just six of the seven physical books, so was super keen to own them as ebooks so I could a) complete my collection and b) ditch the last standing physical books I owned.
Do you read a lot of series of books? I do. Books from the likes of Clive Cussler, Jeffrey Deaver, Bernard Cornwell, and Alex Scarrow all make my list. And the list is the key point here. Sometimes, particularly if there are double digits worth of books in a series, it can be hard to keep track. It’s okay if you’re just working through a trilogy, it’s not difficult to keep your place, but something like the Sharpe series has 24 books, and they’re written out of sequence in terms of dates and history.
So, having read Les Miserables and followed it up with World Without End, two of the longest books on the planet, I suddenly realised how many books I have sitting on my Kindle waiting to be devoured. I think I’m going to have to pick some of the shorter ones and start ploughing through. Expect more than a few Casual Reader updates over the next while. Whilst on that subject, it was brought to my attention a couple of times recently that Casual Reader can’t be casual at the frequency I’m posting reviews.
Instead of making New Year’s Resolutions each January, I have a long-running Life List that does the same job, only is a constant reminder of the things I want to, and am trying to, achieve. It’s time to have a quick recap of what has been happening on my Life List over the last twelve months.
The Amazing A-Z Adventure I’ve only managed two more visits this year, and now we’re getting to the trickier half of the alphabet.
We’ve seen the music industry attempt the occasional “pay what you feel” initiative, where a song or an album is released to the public, and they get to choose how much to pay for the item - giving what they think it’s worth. These haven’t revolutionised the industry, but it does cause a stir and can be a good marketing technique to draw attention to yourselves. Now, the concept has moved across to ebooks, and I’ve seen it in two different places.
Over the weekend, the fabulous Stuart asked if I would be reading the new release from JK Rowling.
The answer is quite simply that yes, I do think I’ll read it but no, I haven’t yet. I’m a big Harry Potter fan, but somehow this new book from JK Rowling doesn’t worry me in the way other “next projects” for beloved people do. It feels as though HP is such a phenomenon that she a) doesn’t have to write ever again and b) could write nonsense forever and it wouldn’t take away from that world.
[I’m one of the Kindle’s biggest fans, and will buy as much as I can in digital form. But there are a few books I can’t get rid of. This is the first in an infrequent and limited series featuring those physical books that mean enough to earn their place in the box that moves house with us.]
I loved The Faraway Tree series as a kid. The idea of climbing a tree and finding a multitude of different lands at the top is so intriguing, and so limitless!
When I was posting Trailer Tuesday a while back, the Paddington poster made me want to read the books, so I had a peek on the Kindle store and found many of them (perhaps all?) available for the device. That got me thinking, what other fab books of my youth are also available for the Kindle?
The Worst Witch was one of my favourites as a kid, probably because I could relate.
To tie in with the Olympics, the Kindle store held a Reading Marathon sale. Oh, how I love a Kindle sale. I delved right in, clicking my way through book after book, pondering some new purchases. I spent more than I would have liked, but equally, came out with plenty of books for my money, so I can’t complain.
It wasn’t until I synced them with my actual Kindle that I realised quite how many unread books I have.