Thursday, April 30, 2009

Little Dorrit

One of the current Books of the Week on is Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens. It is a great read inspired while watching the PBS Masterpiece Classics presentation of the book. Dickens' father was in The Marshalsea, a debtors' prison, and thus his son had first hand knowledge of it and made it a prime locus in Little Dorrit. The prison was like a little village and a whole world unto itself which we learn about in detail. But there is lots of life, love and story outside the prison, too. We have heroes, heroines and ordinary people, as well as a detestable villain. There is a bureaucracy in love with itself which is called the Circumlocution Office because nothing ever gets done there. And financial chicanery ala Bernie Madoff. I highly recommend Little Dorrit but warn you that it is a long one, 940 pages in print.

Next on Masterpiece Classics is Old Curiosity Shop, also by Charles Dickens, and you might wish to get a head start on it by downloading it from manybooks where you will find lots of good free reads in the public domain. Those with Kindles should select Amazon format (.azw) in the dropdown box.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Kindle Schizophrenia

Has owning a Kindle caused your reading to become fragmented? I watch like a hawk for free books or "book deals" in which you get two for the price of one. Most free books are rejected as not my preferred reading but there are enough of them which interest me to add to my problem. The other day there was a two-fer deal, so I got a sample of one of the books, liked it, and bought the one which allowed me to have the other free. Of course, having started the sample, I was tempted to continue reading the book, but currently am partway through The Moonflower Vine by Jetta Carleton, Seeking Peace: Chronicles of the worst Buddhist in the world by Mary Pipher, Nine Lives: Death and Life in New Orleans by Dan Baum, and Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. And that is not all. Those are the major ones and I adore all of them, so it is not lack of interest which keeps them unfinished, more like too much interest. But there is a lack of time. In addition, I have Kindle subscriptions to the Chicago Tribune, Slate, Newsweek and Gizmodo, so am juggling those along with the books. Oh, and I have Jane Haddam's latest, Living Witness, checked out of the library. In addition, I have a life, sort of. Help!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

No, I am not selling Kindle jackets

In response to a couple of inquiries, no, I am not making Kindle jackets to sell. If I were, I wouldn't have published directions on how to make them. Right now, it is fun to make one occasionally. If I made it a business, it wouldn't be fun any more. They are easy to make. Give it a try. If you don't know how to sew, surely you have a friend who does.

How to make a pretty jacket for the Amazon cover

Jackets can be made for the Amazon cover either with or without batting inside. The first one (post of March 14th) was done with batting only for the part covering the outside, not the flaps that are inside. The reason for this limitation is not to make it bulkier on the inside. The simplest way to make the jacket is to skip the batting, as it only makes it more complicated and now having done one without batting, it works just as well.

Cut 2 pieces of a fabric you love, 9-1/2" x 18," one for the outside which shows, and one for the lining. Or if you do not have enough for two pieces, cut the lining from a coordinating fabric.

Place these two pieces right sides together and sew a 1/4" seam around the edge.

Do not sew all the way around; leave an opening you can get your hand inside to turn right side out.

When you turn it right side out, use something blunt like a chopstick to push out the corners to be as close as possible to square; don't use scissors because they are sharp enough to make a hole and then you will have to start over.

When the jacket is right side out, press it and hand sew the opening you left, or machine sew close to the edge.

Wrap the jacket to the inside of the cover, front and back. Hand or machine sew the top and bottom edges so that the folded over part makes a little pocket to slip the cover into.

If the Kindle is already in the cover, it works best to slip the jacket on the back part of the cover first and then the front. The finished jacket is below.