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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Apt Apps for Book Lovers

When looking at your reading habits of late, chances are there is a sizable balance between reading the page and screen. The same can be said of your writing habits – be it sitting in your armchair with your laptop or notepad or else on the bus or train and typing a few lines into an app on your smartphone to keep safe for when you get home.

In fact, if you look around on your morning or evening commute (perhaps not you drivers – keep those tired eyes on the road) you will see more and more people glued to the screen of their kindle, ipad or smartphone. Well, for all the bibliophiles among them, there must be something worthwhile that is keeping them from picking up and carrying around their latest paperback or hardback volume. Interestingly, it is not just reading a book or news that are a primary function of these devices as they are becoming much more active and indeed an everyday part of the routine of a reader and/or writer.

There are literally thousands of apps that are very functional and practical for book and word lovers as well as the growing few that are simply just good fun. I have included a selection below of some of the best, most useful and also just good for passing some time on that commute. These are, of course, a tiny fraction of what is out there so if there are apps you use and swear by for all about the written word and e-reading and writing then leave a comment and join in the conversation.

  • Kindle App – Android, Iphone, Ipad (Free)

Perhaps the king of the e-book/e-reading revolution, this allows you to take your kindle library on-the-go on your smartphone. Very functional and a handy substitute should you leave your Kindle at home or forget to charge it.

  • Ibooks – Iphone, Ipad (Free)

As you would expect from Apple, this is a slick and good looking, user friendly e-reading app. Allows you to purchase and download to your device and read on the go. As with most of these types of apps (smartphone, ipad, tablet etc) there is a backlight that can tire the eyes

  • Aldiko – Android (€2.99)

E-reading device app that allows for adjustable font type, size, colour and line spacing. Download directly from online store direct to your phone or tablet – a good android alternative to ibooks.

  • Bookcrawler – Iphone, Ipad ($1.99)

A great app for the book anaoraks. It allows you to create your very own personal library catalogue. Using your phone or Ipad 2 camera you can scan the book barcode and Bookcrawler will generate the relevant catalogue information. You can add tags, collection information, custom fields and decimals (to note the location of books in a personal library). There’s also an option to link it to a book in the iBooks, Kindle, or Stanza apps, and you can even mark a book that you’ve loaned out. Simples.

  • Audible – Android, Iphone (Free)

A much loved and widely used app that makes listening to digital audio-books on the go a doddle. It’s layout is easy to navigate and also includes chapter navigation, annotated bookmarks, sleep mode, stats (who doesn’t love stats?) One pity is you can no longer download direct from your phone but Wifi transfer from your computer-based Audible account works well. Put on your headphones and enjoy.

  • Dropbox – Iphone, Ipad, Android (Free)

One of the great file storage and docu-portable apps that allows up to 2 gbs (Free!) of storage. You can sync across devices that you have Dropbox added to so you can write in your phone, view it on your tablet and email it from your desktop. Life A.D. (After Dropbox) is so much simpler.

  • Evernote –  Android, Iphone, Ipad (Free)

Another app that, like Dropbox, you can sync across multiple devices, you will never be stuck when out and on the move when inspiration strikes. Write directly into Evernote and save for access later. A great feature allows you to record and save audio notes and photographs via your phone’s camera directly into the app. Another real beauty of this app is the organisation it allows, start various ‘notes’ for various stories or chapters or ideas, or even the shopping list.

  • Goodreads – Andoid (Free)

A solid all-rounder. Goodreads allows you to scan book barcodes to catalogue and save your library, to always have your personal library catalogue with you. You can search across Google and Amazon for prices, reviews and ordering. Build your own profile and join in groups. Good reads is very good.

Just for Fun:

  • miTypewriter: The Amazing Typewriter App – Iphone, Ipad ($3.99)

The most expensive of the apps shown here but just great fun! This is a good old-skool typewriter gone digital. There is just something about that font and type that makes want to nip down to your granny and beg for that typewriter buried in the attic.  Your typed master pieces can be emailed for printing later. All you are missing is the ‘clack’ and ‘ding’ of the real thing.

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2012 in Books

 

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‘Over the Edge’ – New Writing in Galway

Over the Edge public reading

Over the Edge public reading

A quick croissant and a coffee is just about enough to keep Kevin Higgins seated long enough for what would be a really insightful account of not just teaching writing skills through the Galway based Over The Edge group but also of writing and publishing in Ireland. He dashes from one class to another with an hour to spare in between. As someone who has given just under two-hundred individual sessions to writers and students of all levels over the past year, he is in a prime place to know how emerging writing and writers are doing.

This Thursday (19th January) marks the ninth anniversary of the Over the Edge writing group based in Galway. Set up as an initial idea by his wife and fellow published author, Susan Millar DuMars, the group gave their first public reading in January 2003. It occurred as a response to the few platforms and lack of forums for emerging writers in Ireland. The idea was simple: three readers (one established and two emerging) a reading time of fifteen minutes each (no exceptions) and then an open-mic for others to throw their literary hat into the ring.

The system has served them well with a consistent and loyal audience that always attracted newcomers at each public reading who embraced the democratic nature of the whole thing: everyone had a voice and a story to tell. Higgins outlines, “Susan and I had no real end plan for this when we set it up. It was to give writers and audience alike a forum to challenge the hierarchy that can be evident in Irish writing circles. There were a lot of closet writers with potential and we wanted to make the development and public reading setting a lot less reverential, less like Sunday mass. There can be questions and challenges.”

For the rest of this interview with Kevin Higgins of Over The Edge click here to see it on Writing.ie

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2012 in Books

 

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