Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

6 free games (and 1 utility) for the Kindle Paperwhite

December 12, 2012

6 free games (and 1 utility) for the Kindle Paperwhite

There are lots of games and apps out there for the Kindle Fire line, but the RSKs (Reflective Screen Kindles…anything but a Fire at this point) also have them.

There are different versions for different models, which makes sense. You can’t have the same interface for a touchscreen device that you have for a keyboard device, for example.

I’ve reported from time to time on free games for older RSKs, but I hadn’t looked at the Kindle Paperwhite yet, so I thought I would.

There are six free games right now, and one utility (a practical “app”).

My Checklist

For comparison’s sake, there are twelve free games and apps for the Kindle Keyboard.

Grid Detective sounds like fun to me. I used to do puzzles like this…you are given a series of facts, and from that, you can deduce the answer to something. You know, “Ted is taller than Lu, who is shorter than Bob. Bob is not taller than Rose…” and so on.

I’ve tried Hamster Habitat on a different model…it was okay. Every Word has been very popular.

Obviously, if you mainly want to play games, a Fire gives you a lot more robust options, but you may find it fun to do something other than read on your Paperwhite as well. :)

Enjoy!

If you don’t have a Paperwhite, here’s a link to all of the

Kindle Active Content

You can click your model on your left of the screen. You can also check compatible models on the app/game’s Amazon product page.

If you have opinions about any of these, feel free to share them with me and my readers by commenting on this post.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Answers to Read the movie: top five movies based on books

October 23, 2012

Answers to Read the movie: top five movies based on books

recently posted a game where I listed the top five USA domestic grossing movies based on books.

It’s interesting to me that books are not necessarily the best source for a movie (based on box office)…although comic books/graphic novels (which I did not include) did very well.

If you want to take a shot at guessing, go to the link above before reading these answers. :)

I’m going to do this in reverse order…I’ll start at number five and build up to number one. I think number one is not the first one you would come to mind when someone said, “movie based on book”.

Oh, one other observation: three of these are not the first movie in a series, but have a cinematic predecessor. In that sense, it may be that it those are in effect movies based on movies…that it still isn’t a book that is really driving the dogro (my term for “domestic gross”).

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All time USA dogro #16

The author of the book on which this movie (the first in a series that will have its fourth installment in 2014) won a Prime time Emmy and a Hugo. The author co-wrote the script for this movie, and has directed movies (one of which spawned a sequel and a TV series).

Kindle edition

Answer: Jurassic Park

Michael Crichton wrote and directed Westworld, which had a sequel (Futureworld) and a TV series (Beyond Westworld). The latter did not get Crichton a Prime Time Emmy (no surprise to anyone who saw it) ;) ; that came for producing ER. Jurassic Park IV is expected in 2014.

This is a case where it is clearly a movie based on a book…yes, the special effects were undeniably part of it, and hey, you know, dinosaurs, but I think we can reasonably say that the readers of the book were part of the audience in a significant way.

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All time USA dogro #14

A character in this movie appears in a 2012 movie (and that movie is part of a trilogy). That same character had previously been played by someone who guested on both The Joey Bishop Show and Late Night with David Letterman.

Kindle edition

Answer: Return of the King (from the Lord of the Rings trilogy)

I was having a tough time hiding this one. :) Absolutely a book driven series, although the last movie in a movie series’ audience is clearly also based on the previous movies). The character? Gollum, who appears in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. They are making three movies out of The Hobbit.

Brother Theodore voiced Gollum, and had talk show appearances (including many on David Letterman).

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All time USA dogro #12

This is the eighth (and final) movie in a series…the movie tagline was, “It all ends here.” Until they were released as e-books, they were one of the most requested.

Kindle edition

Answer: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (the movie is part 2). Again, I wasn’t sure how not to make this one obvious. Again, I’d clearly credit the book’s audience for part of the success.

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All time USA dogro #9

One of the three movies this year to break $400 million dogro, this is the first movie in a series. Four movies are planned in the series, based on three books. The book was not published by one of the Big Six US trade publishers, and is available in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library

Kindle edition

Answer: The Hunger Games

Book driven audience? Absolutely! It’s worth noting that this is not a sequel. The top ten has other non-sequels (Star Wars, Avatar), although those two aren’t based on books.

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All time USA dogro #6

This is the first sequel (second movie) of four full-length movies, and there was another successful full-length movie spin-off.  It is the most successful movie in the series. Performers include a member of Monty Python, a talk show host, and Larry King.

(not available as a Kindle book, although it is available as an audiobook in the Kindle store)

Answer: Shrek 2

Shrek was first a book by William Steig, a Newberry and Caldecott honoree. My guess is that the book may not have been a big factor in this movie’s success (and I’m not sure how much it was in the first movie’s success, but it’s possible it contributed).

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Oh, and adjusted for inflation, the biggest dogroing movie to date (by far)? Gone with the Wind. Of course, it has had re-releases as well. I’m not linking to the Kindle store book, because it blocks text-to-speech access.

There you go! Oh, I just thought of something…one might argue that Shrek is based on a “graphic novel”, I suppose, although it’s really more of a picture book. If that’s the case, the next one down would be The Two Towers at #18.

Thanks to Edward Boyhan for guessing…and all of your guesses were right! :)

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Read the movie: top five movies based on books

October 20, 2012

Read the movie: top five movies based on books

This has been a great year for the movie box office, and it’s going to get better.

As the top two movies (so far) show, comic books are a great source for successful movies (The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises).

The third movie, though, is based on a book (I’ll explain why I’m not naming it shortly)…and has broken $400 million in domestic gross (what I call “dogro”) in the USA.

That got me curious: what have been the most successful movies based on books?

I’m using an

IMDb search

as my authority for the box office (it’s a very reliable movie site, in my experience…owned by Amazon).

I’m only basing this on USA dogro.

I’m counting a movie as being based on a book (not a comic book or graphic novel) if the author of the book gets a credit, and the book was published and written before the screenplay. In some cases, a novelization may be released before the movie, but be based on the movie; I’m not going to count those.

I will count a movie which is a sequel to a movie based on a book…but those will typically still credit the book’s author.

I’m going to make this a game by not giving you the name of the book, but clues to it, so you can guess. :) I think this may be pretty easy…after all, these are popular movies. ;) I’ll link to the book: don’t click on the link until you’ve guessed, if you want to see how you do.

All time USA dogro #6

This is the first sequel (second movie) of four full-length movies, and there was another successful full-length movie spin-off.  It is the most successful movie in the series. Performers include a member of Monty Python, a talk show host, and Larry King.

(not available as a Kindle book, although it is available as an audiobook in the Kindle store)

All time USA dogro #9

One of the three movies this year to break $400 million dogro, this is the first movie in a series. Four movies are planned in the series, based on three books. The book was not published by one of the Big Six US trade publishers, and is available in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library

Kindle edition

All time USA dogro #12

This is the eighth (and final) movie in a series…the movie tagline was, “It all ends here.” Until they were released as e-books, they were one of the most requested.

Kindle edition

All time USA dogro #14

A character in this movie appears in a 2012 movie (and that movie is part of a trilogy). That same character had previously been played by someone who guested on both The Joey Bishop Show and Late Night with David Letterman.

Kindle edition

All time USA dogro #14

The author of the book on which this movie (the first in a series that will have its fourth installment in 2014) won a Prime time Emmy and a Hugo. The author co-wrote the script for this movie, and has directed movies (one of which spawned a sequel and a TV series).

Kindle edition

Well, there you go. :) I’ve tried to make the clues a bit difficult, but my guess is that quite a few of you will get all five…we’ll see, though. Being based on a book is certainly not a guarantee of blockbuster box office (hello, John Carter), but it can be done. Adjusted for inflation, the biggest box office of all time (by far) goes to a movie based on a book. I’ll give you the title of that one and the five above soon. Have fun guessing!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

My answers to How Many Kindles #1

April 21, 2012

My answers to How Many Kindles #1

A few days ago, I posted a game where I gave you a statement and asked you for how many Kindle models that statement was true:

http://ilmk.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/how-many-kindles-1/

If you want to try the game yourself, go there first, then come back here for the answers. :)

This is how I defined the Kindles:

===

Count all of the variants of one of these as one model..wi-fi only/wi-fi and 3G, Special Offers or not, international or US only.

===

I’m also careful to say here that we might disagree on the answers…I tend to go with the mainstream sort of answer, while everything might be possible if you hacked a Kindle. ;) I’ll give you some of my logic to justify my answers, but I’m happy to have you challenge them in comments to this post.

I’m going to include the percentages of respondents…that’s part of what interests me when I do these things. I also figure that if you gave an answer that matches mine, and many people didn’t, it might make you feel smarter and/or more educated. I’m not saying that in and of itself should make you feel better, of course…but it does tend to do that. ;)

You may also learn something here that will help you…I always like that.

Question 1:

How many Kindles have been in the market for more than five years?

0] 39.87%  (63 votes)  (my answer) (group answer)
1] 27.85%  (44 votes)
2] 12.03%  (19 votes)
3] 10.76%  (17 votes)
4] 1.9%  (3 votes)
5] 0%  (0 votes)
6] 0.63%  (1 votes)
7] 6.96%  (11 votes)

Total Votes: 158

My answer on this: zero.

The Kindle 1 was announced on November 19, 2007, and I was asking these questions on April 18, 2012…not yet five years.

Question 2:

How many Kindles have text-to-speech?

0] 0%  (0 votes)
1] 3.97%  (5 votes)
2] 6.35%  (8 votes)
3] 14.29%  (18 votes)
4] 24.6%  (31 votes) (group answer)
5] 23.02%  (29 votes)  (my answer)
6] 23.81%  (30 votes)
7] 3.97%  (5 votes)

Total Votes: 126

My answer: five. The Kindle 1 doesn’t have it, and the Mindle doesn’t have it…it doesn’t even have speakers. The rest of them have it: including the Kindle Fire. The Kindle Fire’s Pico TTS engine doesn’t work with Kindle store books, but I use it pretty much every workday with text files from Project Gutenberg. Yes, you do need to download another app, but you can use a free app from the Amazon Appstore.

Question 3:

How many Kindles can be ordered new from Amazon.co.uk?

0] 1.92%  (2 votes)
1] 3.85%  (4 votes)
2] 24.04%  (25 votes)
3] 28.85%  (30 votes)  (my answer) (group answer)
4] 17.31%  (18 votes)
5] 9.62%  (10 votes)
6] 8.65%  (9 votes)
7 5.77%  (6 votes)

Total Votes: 104

This one interested me, and yes, I had to check. :) It’s the Mindle, the Kindle Touch, and the Kindle Keyboard. I could not find them carrying the Kindle DX as a new product.

Question 4:

How many Kindles can do landscape mode?

0] 0%  (0 votes)
1] 3.96%  (4 votes)
2] 4.95%  (5 votes)
3] 8.91%  (9 votes)
4] 9.9%  (10 votes)
5] 19.8%  (20 votes)
6] 22.77%  (23 votes)
7] 29.7%  (30 votes)  (my answer) (group answer)

Total Votes: 101

This number just recently changed with the update to the Kindle Touch, which gave it landscape.

Question 5:

How many Kindles have a touchscreen?

0] 0%  (0 votes)
1] 8.49% (9 votes)
2] 71.7%  (76 votes)  (my answer) (group answer)
3] 16.98%  (18 votes)
4] 1.89%  (2 votes)
5] 0.94%  (1 votes)
6] 0%  (0 votes)
7] 0%  (0 votes)

Total Votes: 106

The group was confident on this one: two. That’s the Kindle Fire and the Kindle Touch.

Question 6:

How many Kindles can hold thousands of books?

0] 0%  (0 votes)
1] 0.88%  (1 votes)
2] 1.77%  (2 votes)
3] 2.65%  (3 votes)
4] 4.42%  (5 votes) (my answer)
5] 4.42%  (5 votes)
6] 15.93%  (18 votes)
7] 69.91%  (79 votes) (group answer)

Total Votes: 113

Not the Mindle: that only says 1,400.  Not the Kindle 1: that was 200. Not the Kindle 2: that was 1,500. My answer is four: the Kindle Keyboard (3,500); Kindle Touch (3,000); Kindle DX (3,000); and Kindle Fire (6,000). Tuxgirl, one of my frequent readers and commenters, asked if I was including the SD card storage for the Kindle 1. I wasn’t…those books aren’t stored on the Kindle. You could carry around ten SD cards if you wanted. You could also use a wi-fi drive with the Fire: i wasn’t counting that. If you did count the SD card for the Kindle 1, I could see that argument…if that’s why you said five, you can give yourself credit. :)

Question 7:

How many Kindles can use KF8 (Kindle Format 8) files?

0] 7.45%  (7 votes)
1] 18.09%  (17 votes)
2] 25.53%  (24 votes)  (my answer) (group answer)
3] 15.96%  (15 votes)
4] 12.77%  (12 votes)
5] 3.19%  (3 votes)
6] 6.38%  (6 votes)
7] 10.64%  (10 votes)

Total Votes: 94

Kindle Format 8 is a new format from Amazon, and it’s available on the Kindle Fire…and recently added to the Kindle Touch with an update. That makes two.

Question 8:

How many Kindles have audible menus?

0] 8.7%  (8 votes)
1] 13.04%  (12 votes) (my answer)
2] 25%  (23 votes)
3] 27.17%  (25 votes) (group answer)
4] 8.7%  (8 votes)
5] 6.52%  (6 votes)
6] 5.43%  (5 votes)
7] 5.43%  (5 votes)

Total Votes: 92

Surprisingly to me, this is only on the Kindle Keyboard. I’m quite surprised that it doesn’t appear to be on the Fire, and why not on the Touch? In December 2009, there were many news stories suggesting this was coming to the Kindle DX and the Kindle 2…but when the Kindle Keyboard/3 came out in July of 2010, that’s when and how we got it.

Question 9:

How many Kindles can play Minesweeper?

0] 1.1%  (1 votes)
1] 6.59%  (6 votes)
2] 14.29%  (13 votes)
3] 8.79%  (8 votes)
4] 7.69%  (7 votes)
5] 15.38%  (14 votes)
6] 21.98%  (20 votes)  (my answer)
7] 24.18%  (22 votes) (group answer)

Total Votes: 91

Yes, even the Kindle 1 could play Minesweeper. The one that’s missing it? The Kindle Touch…

Question 10:

How many Kindles has Bufo owned?

0] 0%  (0 votes)
1] 0%  (0 votes)
2] 0%  (0 votes)
3] 2%  (2 votes)
4] 5%  (5 votes)
5] 13%  (13 votes)
6] 21%  (21 votes) (my answer)
7] 59%  (59 votes) (group answer)

Total Votes: 100

I’ve owned six models. The only one I haven’t had is the Kindle DX.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

How many Kindles #1

April 17, 2012

How many Kindles #1

We haven’t played a game like this in a while. :)

I’m going to count each of these as a Kindle:

Count all of the variants of one of these as one model..wi-fi only/wi-fi and 3G, Special Offers or not, international or US only.

So, the highest answer you can have is seven.

The lowest number is zero. :)

You’ll be more likely to match my answer if you go with the standard, unhacked, mainstream Kindle…not a tricky answer. For example, the answer to “How many Kindles can go faster than the speed of sound?’ is going to match me by saying, “Zero”…even though they could all do it in a jet fighter. :)

Okay, here we go…I’ll give you my answers in the next few days. Oh, and I’d prefer that you don’t look things up: I’m curious about the impressions people have.

Remember, even on this last one (included for regular readers), it’s the number of models…I’ve had more than one of some of these. :)

Hope you had fun!

Update: my answers are in this post.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Answers to For Presidents’ Day: consider the alternatives

February 27, 2012

Answers to For Presidents’ Day: consider the alternatives

For Presidents’ Day, a week ago, I posted a little quiz about fictional places that don’t have a President, but have a very different system of government. I said to give yourself credit if you knew what the place was (or who the author is…these places may cover more than one book) even if you couldn’t name it.

Here, then, are the questions and answers.

Place #1

In this society, you move up by killing people above your rank and “taking their metal”. You can’t just poison them or ambush them, though…this isn’t 16th Century Italy. :)

They have to attack you first, so you kill them in self-defense, or the entire ruling council as to decide that you should fight. You can ask for that…that puts a check on a high-ranking person just never attacking anybody.

This society does have a lot of cultural rules: males don’t kill females…or vice versa, and prisoners aren’t killed (but may have “worse” things done to them).

Answer #1: The Barsoom series by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Specifically, this is the society of the green Martians, the Tharks. If you haven’t read A Princess of Mars and want to do so before the new movie (which is a major release) comes out, you have until March 9th in the USA. :)  Clearly, this system limits the type of person who will become a leader (Can’t fight? Can’t lead) but does, at least, base advancement purely on ability. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your background is, if you can accomplish the goal, you advance. Well, except for that gender issue…since only males are leaders and females don’t kill males, women can’t really become leaders.

Place #2

This place has a beloved leader, ranked over all others (and there are many at lower levels). There are challenges and clear aggressive action against the land, but this ruler is basically a pacifist. That doesn’t mean steps won’t be taken by this administration to remedy evil deeds. The ruler is aided in that by a powerful magic user…and the ruler has forbidden the use of magic except by two people.

The land, under the guidance of the ruler, is basically socialist in concept…there used to be money, but it isn’t used any more. However, some people certainly have wealth. That happens in part because the land is so separated, with considerable geographical challenges…some small areas have never even heard of the central ruler.

Answer #2: The Oz series by L. Frank Baum

If you’ve only seen the 1939 Judy Garland movie, you might think this ruler is Glinda, the good witch. While the witch of the South (not the North, as it was changed for MGM’s version) is powerful, she is secondary in the series to Princess Ozma.

Ozma rules by right of inheritance…she is the daughter of the former king (although it’s more complicated…not too surprising in a magical land).

That said, her subjects who know her love her…for the most part. She is kidnapped and threatened in other ways in the books: that’s one place having a powerful sorceress as an adviser comes in handy.

Ozma is generally loving and fair, and makes some interesting strategic choices. The other person (besides Glinda) allowed to practice magic? The Wizard…

Ozma first appears in The Marvelous Land of Oz.

Place #3

While perhaps not a ruler in the formal sense, this character has absolute dominion over the land, and must be obeyed. Over 2,000 years old and ruthless, the ruler had come to this place because of a process that provides immortality. The ruler commands magic, but overwhelming attractiveness may be the despot’s greatest power.

Answer #3: The Amahagger people in Africa in the Ayesha series by H. Rider Haggard

There are clear reasons why “She” (Ayesha AKA Hiya) is called She-who-must-be-obeyed.

Like Glinda, she is a powerful magic-user…unlike Glinda, she is ruthless. She took power: it wasn’t given to her. Within the society, no one can challenge her…and it’s possible she’ll live forever.

Not much chance for a member of the community to rule…even surviving is at the whim of “She”.

Ayesha first appears in She.

Well, there you have three fictional alternatives to the US political system. Countless people have imagined living in Oz, traveling to Barsoom…and avoiding Ayesha. ;)

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

For Presidents’ Day: consider the alternatives

February 20, 2012

For Presidents’ Day: consider the alternatives

Today is Presidents’ Day in the USA. When that came into being in California, I felts a little cheated. Since my birthday is the same as Abraham Lincoln’s, I sort of lost a personal holiday when The Great Emancipator’s got merged with the Father of Our Country. ;)

I’ve done other Presidents’ Day posts, but this time, I thought I’d do another game and let you guess…I love games!

In this case, I’m going to describe some fictional set-ups where they don’t have a President, they have some other kind of government.

The game is to see if you can identify the place and/or the book and/or the author.

My intuition here is that this is going to be relatively easy (compared to, say, the games I do with quotations), but we’ll see.

Any spoiler concerns here? Maybe a bit…I’ll be describing the societies, and the way they got that way or how characters use the “rules” of the society may impact story lines. I’m pretty careful about spoilers, though, and I think you’ll be okay. :)

Place #1

In this society, you move up by killing people above your rank and “taking their metal”. You can’t just poison them or ambush them, though…this isn’t 16th Century Italy. :)

They have to attack you first, so you kill them in self-defense, or the entire ruling council as to decide that you should fight. You can ask for that…that puts a check on a high-ranking person just never attacking anybody.

This society does have a lot of cultural rules: males don’t kill females…or vice versa, and prisoners aren’t killed (but may have “worse” things done to them).

Place #2

This place has a beloved leader, ranked over all others (and there are many at lower levels). There are challenges and clear aggressive action against the land, but this ruler is basically a pacifist. That doesn’t mean steps won’t be taken by this administration to remedy evil deeds. The ruler is aided in that by a powerful magic user…and the ruler has forbidden the use of magic except by two people.

The land, under the guidance of the ruler, is basically socialist in concept…there used to be money, but it isn’t used any more. However, some people certainly have wealth. That happens in part because the land is so separated, with considerable geographical challenges…some small areas have never even heard of the central ruler.

Place #3

While perhaps not a ruler in the formal sense, this character has absolute dominion over the land, and must be obeyed. Over 2,000 years old and ruthless, the ruler had come to this place because of a process that provides immortality. The ruler commands magic, but overwhelming attractiveness may be the despot’s greatest power.

Well, there’s a few for you. :)

These are all definite alternatives to the electoral college! The systems are considerably different. In the first one, authority is granted by ability…the lowest can rise to the top, if they deserve it (or get lucky enough). Many people would like living in the second one…but there is no chance of becoming ruler…well, without significantly subverting the current system. In the third, individuals have very little power.

Give yourself credit if you can identify the place, even if you can’t name it.

I’ll publish the answers in a later post.

Happy Presidents’ Day!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Answers to Classic Openings #1

January 25, 2012

Answers to Classic Openings #1

recently did a post where I gave people the opening lines from some classic novels, and let them guess which ones they were.

These are the answers. If you want to play for yourself, click the link above before reading these.

This just for fun. :) I recommend you give yourself ten points for getting the title right, and five points for getting the author right (I think it’s easier to recognize an author’s style than a specific book…but that may be because I’m particularly tied into who the author is of a book).

One other important note: thanks to e-books, and particularly the pioneering work of the late Michael S. Hart and the volunteers at Project Gutenberg, you can read these books for free. I’ve linked to the books in the Kindle store…so if I’ve whetted your appetite, you can read the whole book. :)

Book #1

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.”

Answer: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Book #2

“The artist is the creator of beautiful things. To reveal art and conceal the artist is art’s aim. The critic is he who can translate into another manner or a new material his impression of beautiful things.

The highest as the lowest form of criticism is a mode of autobiography. Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault.

Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only beauty.

There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.

The nineteenth century dislike of realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in a glass.”

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Book #3

St. Petersburgh, Dec. 11th, 17

TO Mrs. Saville, England

You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings. I arrived here yesterday, and my first task is to assure my dear sister of my welfare and increasing confidence in the success of my undertaking.

I am already far north of London, and as I walk in the streets of Petersburgh, I feel a cold northern breeze play upon my cheeks, which braces my nerves and fills me with delight. Do you understand this feeling? This breeze, which has travelled from the regions towards which I am advancing, gives me a foretaste of those icy climes. Inspirited by this wind of promise, my daydreams become more fervent and vivid. I try in vain to be persuaded that the pole is the seat of frost and desolation; it ever presents itself to my imagination as the region of beauty and delight. There, Margaret, the sun is forever visible, its broad disk just skirting the horizon and diffusing a perpetual splendour. There—for with your leave, my sister, I will put some trust in preceding navigators—there snow and frost are banished; and, sailing over a calm sea, we may be wafted to a land surpassing in wonders and in beauty every region hitherto discovered on the habitable globe. Its productions and features may be without example, as the phenomena of the heavenly bodies undoubtedly are in those undiscovered solitudes. What may not be expected in a country of eternal light? I may there discover the wondrous power which attracts the needle and may regulate a thousand celestial observations that require only this voyage to render their seeming eccentricities consistent forever. I shall satiate my ardent curiosity with the sight of a part of the world never before visited, and may tread a land never before imprinted by the foot of man. These are my enticements, and they are sufficient to conquer all fear of danger or death and to induce me to commence this laborious voyage with the joy a child feels when he embarks in a little boat, with his holiday mates, on an expedition of discovery up his native river. But supposing all these conjectures to be false, you cannot contest the inestimable benefit which I shall confer on all mankind, to the last generation, by discovering a passage near the pole to those countries, to reach which at present so many months are requisite; or by ascertaining the secret of the magnet, which, if at all possible, can only be effected by an undertaking such as mine.”

Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Book #4

“All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs. Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, “Oh, why can’t you remain like this for ever!” This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end.”

Peter and Wendy (Peter Pan) by J.M. Barrie

Book #5

“Buck did not read the newspapers, or he would have known that trouble was brewing, not alone for himself, but for every tide-water dog, strong of muscle and with warm, long hair, from Puget Sound to San Diego. Because men, groping in the Arctic darkness, had found a yellow metal, and because steamship and transportation companies were booming the find, thousands of men were rushing into the Northland. These men wanted dogs, and the dogs they wanted were heavy dogs, with strong muscles by which to toil, and furry coats to protect them from the frost.”

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

Book #6

“It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom,
it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief,
it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light,
it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope,
it was the winter of despair,”

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Book #7

“In 1815, M. Charles-Francois-Bienvenu Myriel was Bishop of D—— He was an old man of about seventy-five years of age; he had occupied the see of D—— since 1806.

Although this detail has no connection whatever with the real substance of what we are about to relate, it will not be superfluous, if merely for the sake of exactness in all points, to mention here the various rumors and remarks which had been in circulation about him from the very moment when he arrived in the diocese. True or false, that which is said of men often occupies as important a place in their lives, and above all in their destinies, as that which they do. M. Myriel was the son of a councillor of the Parliament of Aix; hence he belonged to the nobility of the bar. It was said that his father, destining him to be the heir of his own post, had married him at a very early age, eighteen or twenty, in accordance with a custom which is rather widely prevalent in parliamentary families. In spite of this marriage, however, it was said that Charles Myriel created a great deal of talk. He was well formed, though rather short in stature, elegant, graceful, intelligent; the whole of the first portion of his life had been devoted to the world and to gallantry.”

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

Book #8

“On the first Monday of the month of April, 1625, the market town of Meung, in which the author of ROMANCE OF THE ROSE was born, appeared to be in as perfect a state of revolution as if the Huguenots had just made a second La Rochelle of it. Many citizens, seeing the women flying toward the High Street, leaving their children crying at the open doors, hastened to don the cuirass, and supporting their somewhat uncertain courage with a musket or a partisan, directed their steps toward the hostelry of the Jolly Miller, before which was gathered, increasing every minute, a compact group, vociferous and full of curiosity.

In those times panics were common, and few days passed without some city or other registering in its archives an event of this kind. There were nobles, who made war against each other; there was the king, who made war against the cardinal; there was Spain, which made war against the king. Then, in addition to these concealed or public, secret or open wars, there were robbers, mendicants, Huguenots, wolves, and scoundrels, who made war upon everybody. The citizens always took up arms readily against thieves, wolves or scoundrels, often against nobles or Huguenots, sometimes against the king, but never against cardinal or Spain. It resulted, then, from this habit that on the said first Monday of April, 1625, the citizens, on hearing the clamor, and seeing neither the red-and-yellow standard nor the livery of the Duc de Richelieu, rushed toward the hostel of the Jolly Miller. When arrived there, the cause of the hubbub was apparent to all.”

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

Book #8

“A sharp clip-crop of iron-shod hoofs deadened and died away, and clouds of yellow dust drifted from under the cottonwoods out over the sage.

Jane Withersteen gazed down the wide purple slope with dreamy and troubled eyes. A rider had just left her and it was his message that held her thoughtful and almost sad, awaiting the churchmen who were coming to resent and attack her right to befriend a Gentile.

She wondered if the unrest and strife that had lately come to the little village of Cottonwoods was to involve her. And then she sighed, remembering that her father had founded this remotest border settlement of southern Utah and that he had left it to her. She owned all the ground and many of the cottages. Withersteen House was hers, and the great ranch, with its thousands of cattle, and the swiftest horses of the sage. To her belonged Amber Spring, the water which gave verdure and beauty to the village and made living possible on that wild purple upland waste. She could not escape being involved by whatever befell Cottonwoods.”

Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey

Book #9

“During whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country, and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher. I know not how it was—but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit. I say insufferable; for the feeling was unrelieved by any of that half-pleasurable, because poetic, sentiment, with which the mind usually receives even the sternest natural images of the desolate or terrible. I looked upon the scene before me—upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain—upon the bleak walls—upon the vacant eye-like windows—upon a few rank sedges—and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees—with an utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the reveller upon opium—the bitter lapse into every-day life—the hideous dropping off of the veil. There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart—an unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading of the imagination could torture into aught of the sublime. What was it—I paused to think—what was it that so unnerved me in the contemplation of…”

The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe

Book #10

“When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen. It was true, too. She had a little thin face and a little thin body, thin light hair and a sour expression. Her hair was yellow, and her face was yellow because she had been born in India and had always been ill in one way or another. Her father had held a position under the English Government and had always been busy and ill himself, and her mother had been a great beauty who cared only to go to parties and amuse herself with gay people. She had not wanted a little girl at all, and when Mary was born she handed her over to the care of an Ayah, who was made to understand that if she wished to please the Mem Sahib she must keep the child out of sight as much as possible. So when she was a sickly, fretful, ugly little baby she was kept out of the way, and when she became a sickly, fretful, toddling thing she was kept out of the way also. She never remembered seeing familiarly anything but the dark faces of her Ayah and the other native servants, and as they always obeyed her and gave her her own way in everything, because the Mem Sahib would be angry if she was disturbed by her crying, by the time she was six years old she was as tyrannical and selfish a little pig as ever lived. The young English governess who came to teach her to read and write disliked her so much that she gave up her place in three months, and when other governesses came to try to fill it they always went away in a shorter time than the first one. So if Mary had not chosen to really want to know how to read books she would never have learned her letters at all.”

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Classic Openings #1

January 24, 2012

Classic Openings #1

We haven’t done a game in a while, so here you go. :)

These are the opening lines from famous classic novels.

The game?

Guess the novel…and/or the author.

Give yourself ten points for the title and five points for the author.

Note: these may not be the very first words (I might skip a preface or introduction), but they are arguably the first words of the story.

Book #1

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.”

Book #2

“The artist is the creator of beautiful things. To reveal art and conceal the artist is art’s aim. The critic is he who can translate into another manner or a new material his impression of beautiful things.

The highest as the lowest form of criticism is a mode of autobiography. Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault.

Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only beauty.

There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.

The nineteenth century dislike of realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in a glass.”

Book #3

St. Petersburgh, Dec. 11th, 17—

TO Mrs. Saville, England

You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings. I arrived here yesterday, and my first task is to assure my dear sister of my welfare and increasing confidence in the success of my undertaking.

I am already far north of London, and as I walk in the streets of Petersburgh, I feel a cold northern breeze play upon my cheeks, which braces my nerves and fills me with delight. Do you understand this feeling? This breeze, which has travelled from the regions towards which I am advancing, gives me a foretaste of those icy climes. Inspirited by this wind of promise, my daydreams become more fervent and vivid. I try in vain to be persuaded that the pole is the seat of frost and desolation; it ever presents itself to my imagination as the region of beauty and delight. There, Margaret, the sun is forever visible, its broad disk just skirting the horizon and diffusing a perpetual splendour. There—for with your leave, my sister, I will put some trust in preceding navigators—there snow and frost are banished; and, sailing over a calm sea, we may be wafted to a land surpassing in wonders and in beauty every region hitherto discovered on the habitable globe. Its productions and features may be without example, as the phenomena of the heavenly bodies undoubtedly are in those undiscovered solitudes. What may not be expected in a country of eternal light? I may there discover the wondrous power which attracts the needle and may regulate a thousand celestial observations that require only this voyage to render their seeming eccentricities consistent forever. I shall satiate my ardent curiosity with the sight of a part of the world never before visited, and may tread a land never before imprinted by the foot of man. These are my enticements, and they are sufficient to conquer all fear of danger or death and to induce me to commence this laborious voyage with the joy a child feels when he embarks in a little boat, with his holiday mates, on an expedition of discovery up his native river. But supposing all these conjectures to be false, you cannot contest the inestimable benefit which I shall confer on all mankind, to the last generation, by discovering a passage near the pole to those countries, to reach which at present so many months are requisite; or by ascertaining the secret of the magnet, which, if at all possible, can only be effected by an undertaking such as mine.”

Book #4

“All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs. Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, “Oh, why can’t you remain like this for ever!” This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end.”

Book #5

“Buck did not read the newspapers, or he would have known that trouble was brewing, not alone for himself, but for every tide-water dog, strong of muscle and with warm, long hair, from Puget Sound to San Diego. Because men, groping in the Arctic darkness, had found a yellow metal, and because steamship and transportation companies were booming the find, thousands of men were rushing into the Northland. These men wanted dogs, and the dogs they wanted were heavy dogs, with strong muscles by which to toil, and furry coats to protect them from the frost.”

Book #6

“It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom,
it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief,
it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light,
it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope,
it was the winter of despair,”

Book #7

“In 1815, M. Charles-Francois-Bienvenu Myriel was Bishop of D—— He was an old man of about seventy-five years of age; he had occupied the see of D—— since 1806.

Although this detail has no connection whatever with the real substance of what we are about to relate, it will not be superfluous, if merely for the sake of exactness in all points, to mention here the various rumors and remarks which had been in circulation about him from the very moment when he arrived in the diocese. True or false, that which is said of men often occupies as important a place in their lives, and above all in their destinies, as that which they do. M. Myriel was the son of a councillor of the Parliament of Aix; hence he belonged to the nobility of the bar. It was said that his father, destining him to be the heir of his own post, had married him at a very early age, eighteen or twenty, in accordance with a custom which is rather widely prevalent in parliamentary families. In spite of this marriage, however, it was said that Charles Myriel created a great deal of talk. He was well formed, though rather short in stature, elegant, graceful, intelligent; the whole of the first portion of his life had been devoted to the world and to gallantry.”

Book #8

“On the first Monday of the month of April, 1625, the market town of Meung, in which the author of ROMANCE OF THE ROSE was born, appeared to be in as perfect a state of revolution as if the Huguenots had just made a second La Rochelle of it. Many citizens, seeing the women flying toward the High Street, leaving their children crying at the open doors, hastened to don the cuirass, and supporting their somewhat uncertain courage with a musket or a partisan, directed their steps toward the hostelry of the Jolly Miller, before which was gathered, increasing every minute, a compact group, vociferous and full of curiosity.

In those times panics were common, and few days passed without some city or other registering in its archives an event of this kind. There were nobles, who made war against each other; there was the king, who made war against the cardinal; there was Spain, which made war against the king. Then, in addition to these concealed or public, secret or open wars, there were robbers, mendicants, Huguenots, wolves, and scoundrels, who made war upon everybody. The citizens always took up arms readily against thieves, wolves or scoundrels, often against nobles or Huguenots, sometimes against the king, but never against cardinal or Spain. It resulted, then, from this habit that on the said first Monday of April, 1625, the citizens, on hearing the clamor, and seeing neither the red-and-yellow standard nor the livery of the Duc de Richelieu, rushed toward the hostel of the Jolly Miller. When arrived there, the cause of the hubbub was apparent to all.”

Book #8

“A sharp clip-crop of iron-shod hoofs deadened and died away, and clouds of yellow dust drifted from under the cottonwoods out over the sage.

Jane Withersteen gazed down the wide purple slope with dreamy and troubled eyes. A rider had just left her and it was his message that held her thoughtful and almost sad, awaiting the churchmen who were coming to resent and attack her right to befriend a Gentile.

She wondered if the unrest and strife that had lately come to the little village of Cottonwoods was to involve her. And then she sighed, remembering that her father had founded this remotest border settlement of southern Utah and that he had left it to her. She owned all the ground and many of the cottages. Withersteen House was hers, and the great ranch, with its thousands of cattle, and the swiftest horses of the sage. To her belonged Amber Spring, the water which gave verdure and beauty to the village and made living possible on that wild purple upland waste. She could not escape being involved by whatever befell Cottonwoods.”

Book #9

“During whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country, and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher. I know not how it was—but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit. I say insufferable; for the feeling was unrelieved by any of that half-pleasurable, because poetic, sentiment, with which the mind usually receives even the sternest natural images of the desolate or terrible. I looked upon the scene before me—upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain—upon the bleak walls—upon the vacant eye-like windows—upon a few rank sedges—and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees—with an utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the reveller upon opium—the bitter lapse into every-day life—the hideous dropping off of the veil. There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart—an unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading of the imagination could torture into aught of the sublime. What was it—I paused to think—what was it that so unnerved me in the contemplation of…”

Book #10

“When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen. It was true, too. She had a little thin face and a little thin body, thin light hair and a sour expression. Her hair was yellow, and her face was yellow because she had been born in India and had always been ill in one way or another. Her father had held a position under the English Government and had always been busy and ill himself, and her mother had been a great beauty who cared only to go to parties and amuse herself with gay people. She had not wanted a little girl at all, and when Mary was born she handed her over to the care of an Ayah, who was made to understand that if she wished to please the Mem Sahib she must keep the child out of sight as much as possible. So when she was a sickly, fretful, ugly little baby she was kept out of the way, and when she became a sickly, fretful, toddling thing she was kept out of the way also. She never remembered seeing familiarly anything but the dark faces of her Ayah and the other native servants, and as they always obeyed her and gave her her own way in everything, because the Mem Sahib would be angry if she was disturbed by her crying, by the time she was six years old she was as tyrannical and selfish a little pig as ever lived. The young English governess who came to teach her to read and write disliked her so much that she gave up her place in three months, and when other governesses came to try to fill it they always went away in a shorter time than the first one. So if Mary had not chosen to really want to know how to read books she would never have learned her letters at all.”

Answers to come in a future post…have fun!

Update: one of my readers, Jj Hitt, asked where to send the answers. I’ll give people a day or so to guess, then I’ll do the answers and publish any comments. You were right, by the way, Jj. :)

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Free game: Pixel Perfect Holiday Puzzles

November 5, 2011

Free game: Pixel Perfect Holiday Puzzles

Pixel Perfect Holiday Puzzles
Available on Kindle (the $79/$109 one I call the Mindle), Kindle Keyboard, Wi-Fi (formerly the Kindle 3), Kindle Keyboard 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi (formerly the Kindle 3 3G), Kindle DX 9.7 inch, and Kindle 2s.

It’s one of the

Free Kindle Games from Amazon

This is a special holiday edition of another free game from Amazon.

It’s kind of fun…it reminds me of both Minesweeper and Sudoku…and you are making pictures.

Essentially, you are told by numbers in a row or column in a grid as to how many of the squares should be solid. You do it by logic…if five squares should be solid in a row of five, that’s easy. If four squares should be solid…you have to look at the numbers for the other rows and columns to deduce it.

It’s more complicated than that, but I did solve the first one fairly quickly.

In addition to being a former bookstore manager, I’m a former gamestore manager. I would say it is a decent puzzle game…the interface was okay, although I thought it could be more obvious as to which square is currently selected. Using the Next Page and Previous Page buttons for the game felt a bit odd, but worked.

I know I haven’t kept up with the games, but I thought I’d let you know about this one.

It won’t work in reader apps, and I assume it can’t be purchased outside the US.

You can buy it once and share them with all compatible devices on the account.

If you try it, feel free to let me know what you think.

For information on more games, see this category.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.


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