Ok, so here’s what I got at the Big Bad Wolf Books sale today (click image for a larger view):

  • Air, Geoff Ryman
  • Money, Martin Amis
  • Kraken, China Mieville
  • The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova
  • Chronicles of the Black Company, Glen Cook
  • Market Forces, Richard Morgan
  • The World Inside, Robert Silverberg
  • Lowboy, John Wray
  • Manhood for Amateurs, Michael Chabon
  • All The King’s Men, Robert Penn Warren
  • Grey, Jon Armstrong
  • Neuropath, R. Scott Bakker
  • The Great Book of Amber: The Complete Amber Chronicles 1-10, Roger Zelazny

 


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Today was a preview-pass access only, and while I expected a lot of people, I did not expect quite so many. Only those who won the passes through the contests via their website (and perhaps some generous handouts to lucky, privileged people) were allowed to enter today. The actual day is tomorrow, and if today was any indication, tomorrow onwards would be insane.

The selection was good, and more varied that your usual warehouse sales. Some warehouse book sales were varied, but the selection was thin. Boasting 1.5 million books, I suppose you couldn’t accuse it of lacking.

I like these sales (and BBW’s in particular) because of the kind of gems you can uncover – the kinds that were either too expensive in normal bookstores, or you just couldn’t find elsewhere. It’s kinda like a treasure hunt.

This year there weren’t any gasps of astonishment or whoops of joy at finding a gem, but there were a few that I didn’t mind having. I suppose I did find one that I’m pretty pleased with – John Wray’s highly regarded Lowboy. I had the privilege of talking to him in Bookbabble last year (at least for a short while), and from all accounts his books come highly recommended. Looking forward to it.

My haul’s in the next post, so go check there for what I got. Here are some pics I took of the event. I have to say it’s incredibly poor representation of what’s there (I stood just a little back from the half-way line of the showfloor). I was busy browsing, and with Max on my arms and the clock ticking down I sort of took these as a quick snapshot of the moment.


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I was reading Bujold’s Cetaganda from my cache of the Vorkosigan ebooks (as I detailed here), when my son decided it was his turn on the iPad or he’ll not want to take an afternoon nap.  I was in the middle of a very interesting development in the book, but my son insisted.  So as I was fully prepared to get down from the high I got from the story, I scanned my shelves and voilà !  I have a copy of Cetaganda, after all. 

The evening was enjoyable once again.


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A daily routine conundrum, which leads to my wishful thinking but technically possible “big idea.”

Ok.  I’m listening to a non-fiction audiobook at the moment, and the details as it’s dictated to me sometimes flies by at such a pace that it becomes impossible to digest at first try.  More than once I mentioned to myself that it would be extremely useful to crosscheck the audio I’m hearing to the text of the actual source material.  I would buy the book separately just so I can revisit some of the text that was read to me.  Obviously in an audiobook you need to note the time signature of the section you want to revisit, but that is a little difficult when you have both hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.

It would be so much easier if I can somehow marry the audiobook and the ebook version of this piece of work, and allow me to manipulate either format and have that synced with the corresponding format. 

Let me illustrate: I’m listening to the narrator saying something about the fall of the caliphate in Egypt and the uprising of the Young Turks a few chapters back and I want to revisit it.  Instead of blindly jumping back and forth on the audiobook timeline, I do a search of the text I want on the ebook version, skim through to the section I want, and click play audiobook from there.  Or alternately continue reading it from the ebook version itself.

This marries two fiercely independent pieces of work in terms of copyright, even though they are from the same source.  There are legal precedents that strictly divides these two disparate artforms, and traditionally they don’t (and can’t, legally) mix.

But let say this marriage between the forms is possible.  Why stop there? 

I have this very vague idea of a new industry standard digital file format to encompass a singular piece of work in all its myriad digital incarnations.  For example, a single digital file that holds the full text of Les Miserables, the unabridged audiobook that is synced with the text, the official (insofar as dictated by the publisher) abridged version of the same work, its accompanying audiobook, a graphic novel adaptation of the work, screenplay, songs with synced text of the lyrics, even movies or graphic novel adaptations.

This file format is not just an audiobook, or an ebook.  It’s a universal container.  A new metadata digital file. 

All media players or ebook readers will read this one format, but can only playback the parts of the work that the device is designed to work with (i.e. the iPod is only able to playback the audiobook or songs portion of Les Mis work, while the Kindle only displays the ebook text.  A computer is able to access all available formats included in this metafile).

Now I know how it crisscrosses across so many legal boundaries relating to the copyrights of each of these individual pieces of work.  This is a high-level idea for now, and the legalities will have to be dealt with later. 

The idea is crystalizing slowly, and I’m thinking that it will only give me rest if I give it a little more form.  Areas of concern include how to include more formats of the work in the same file, who owns the overarching metadata of this meta file?  How to add pieces of work to the same file, as and when it becomes available?

I’ll probably write more later.


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Despite the rather tepid reviews in Amazon, I’ve settled down to the first hour of listening to the audiobook version of this baby, and am thoroughly enjoying it.  It assumes that I’m a Western reader, which is rather off-putting, but the gentle treatment of the material so far has been fascinating.  Of course, it could just be me being overly and unreasonably enamored over the trivial beginnings of the book.

History is fascinating.  This was certainly not true when I was younger, but I’m finding as I’m growing older that the world is not only complex in nature, but endlessly interesting.  Why did things happen they way they did, and does it explain why things are what they are now? 

I find myself thrust into history because of my interest in politics, and surprised at finding out just how tightly intertwined the two subjects really are.


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It’s starting to get silly for me to go to bookshops when the warehouse sales offer such a delectable selection of books at a price that simply cannot be denied.

A regular paperback is approximately RM35.  I get these at RM8 each.  Some a little more, but nothing more than RM12 or RM15.

This haul was from Oct this year.

  • The Death of Bunny Munro, Nick Cave
  • Gentlemen of the Road, Michael Chabon
  • Busted Flush, George RR Martin, et al.
  • Lankhmar, Fritz Leiber
  • The Centauri Device, M John Harrison
  • The Boat, Nam Le
  • River of Gods, Ian M McDonald
  • The Dream Archipelago, Christopher Priest
  • Gateway, Frederick Pohl
  • Man in the Dark, Paul Auster

  • Heart-Shaped Box, Joe Hill
  • Once on a Moonless Night, Dai Sijie
  • A Colossal Failure of Common Sense, Larry McDonald
  • The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Robert A Heinlein
  • The Penelopiad, Margaret Atwood
  • Beijing Coma, Ma Jian
  • King Rat, China Mieville
  • Scar Night, Alan Campbell
  • The Sorrows of an American, Siri Hustvedt
  • Cowboy Angels, Paul McAuley

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