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I bought a Nook late last year. Part of what tipped me to the Barnes & Noble Nook from Amazon's Kindle was the promise that Barnes & Noble offered classes on the Nook. Maybe, I thought, I'd take the class(es) if I bought a Nook, just to make sure I was getting the full benefit.

It took a few months, but I attended one of the Nook Simple Touch With GlowLight classes last night. During the class, the woman teaching it mentioned casually, as if all Nook owners know this, that a free Nook book is given away every Friday via the Barnes & Noble Nook blog. Usually the books are the start of a series, often thrillers, a way to hook readers to buy more books later in the series.

I remembered to check the blog this morning, and discovered that today's giveaway was a peach: Driftless, by David Rhodes. It's a work of fiction recounting life in rural America -- in this case, a sliver of Wisconsin. Since that sort of setting has appeal to me, and since I work for an association that represents rural interests, I figured it couldn't hurt to download the book and give it a shot.

I'm just beginning it, but wanted to come here and mention that among the many laudatory review quotes that open the ebook is an excerpt for this Books and Culture review.

The Best American Novelist You've Never Heard Of

It [Driftless] partakes as much of the moral universe of Magnolia as of Middlemarch. And it earns comparison to both.

And this from Library Journal:

Most of the residents have chosen to be isolated from the world around them and one another. Nevertheless, their concerns -- the meaning of spirituality, family, love and desire -- are global and universal. The characters and their struggles come vibrantly alive.

It's not like I don't have a stack of other books to read, but I'm officially excited about diving in to Driftless. If you're a Nook owner, you might want to grab this one in the next few hours, while it's still free.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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This one is good so far. I don't know that it'll sustain itself across 460-ish pages, but the first 50 have been a delight.

Also, that Nook class showed me something I could've learned myself from the basic set-up instructions but had bypassed and forgotten about: how to adjust line spacing and margins. The teacher said she liked more words on the screen than publisher defaults allowed because more words made the Nook page look "more like a book." I supposed that's relative, but since adjusting the settings manually to capture more words per screen, I've found that I'm reading more words/pages/screens per sitting than earlier.

Granted, there was much more room to increase that time than decrease it. Despite being told that Nook owners inevitably read more once they have a Nook, I've found my reading time overall to be about the same as it was pre-Nook.

My point is that I may have just hit a tipping point, a magical moment when I'll become one of those devoted ereader fans. And all because I adjusted the margins to my liking, rather than allowing the publisher presets -- which I had liked fine! just didn't realize how much more I'd like the alternative -- to rule my ereading experience.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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