Recommended diversions


In case you don’t know, the Kindle is Amazon’s answer to the paperless book. It’s a wireless, portable electronic tablet, I guess, and its advocates say it is the first electronic device that comes close to replicating a book. Introduced this year, I ordered one and am trying to decide if the tactile, sensual pleasures of a reading a novel can be replicated by a machine.

The Kindle has its own web connection device and doesn’t require any kind of Internet service provider or phone service. Tens of thousands of books have been digitized and can be downloaded for less than $10 and in less than a minute from just about anywhere. First chapters are free. Many national newspapers can be downloaded, as well as magazines.

I’m not sold yet, but I like it. I’ll be back in about six months with a verdict.

Blue Latitudes, Boldly Going Where Capt. Cook Has Gone Before

I wrote a few months ago about reporter Tony Horwitz’s book Baghdad Without a Map, and have move on to this tale of perhaps the world’s most prolific explorer, Capt. James Cook. Horwitz uses his reporter’s skills to discuss Cook’s exploration of the vast Pacific from Australia to Alaska as he charted many lands that had never before been visited by Europeans. Using excerpts from Cook’s journal and those of other shipmates, Horwitz travels to these areas and discusses the positive and negative impacts of the three Pacific voyages made by the explorer. Horwitz confronts head-on the conflicts many natives still harbor toward the early discoverers. He also provides insight into early Polynesian, Maori and Aborigine cultures. A well-written, unusual travelogue.

Electronic thermostat

Easy to install (even a novice can do it) and easy to use, can’t say enough about how much I like this thing — especially in winter. Have it programmed to turn heat down at night, then it warms up the house just before our alarm clocks get us out of bed. Again, cranks heat down when we all leave the house, and then heats it up just before we return. I got a cheap one and it has easy controls that let me make changes when I want and then get back to my original program. Best of all it’s saving me money on my heating. Cuts carbon footprint, saves money, keeps me warm when I want to be warm — what more can one ask for?

— By Scott McLeod

This Must Be the Place

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