About writing

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Blogging once a week!? Is that it? At present – it seems so.
And please forgive me for not visiting and liking.
I wasn’t particularly good at commenting even before,
but please forgive me for not doing that either.

Participating in Camp-NaNoWriMo takes its effort. Both in time and energy. Several hours every day, I struggle to reach the daily goal of one thousand word – or more. And I’m doing well!

At first, it seems that I have nothing at all to write about. What are they doing, the characters? What is happening.! But finally I manage to type the first sentence, then I struggle through the first couple of hundreds of words, but then! When reached about 900 to 1000  words, it’s suddenly much easier to continue even 400, 500 or 600 words more!

So I’m writing, all right, and proud of that. Now, during the first 13 days of the July-Camp – today’s score is yet to achieve – I have written 16 479 words! That is  53,2 % of my goal in 42 % of the time!

It’s not particularly well written though. Can’t say that. But I push the characters to where they are supposed to be, I reveal to the (presumed) reader of who they are and why they are there, and I reveal to myself, what I need to write more.

BUT Remember, Thea!

This is only the very first draft! It doesn’t have to be well written! Now, I’m telling the story to myself! That’s about it!
But I dread of the time when I’ll have to put these paragraphs, scenes and chapters together, edit the entire thing, and make an enjoyable story of it.

I do hope I’ll get the language right. My linguistic and verbal skills in my native language, Swedish, is really good. I was about to use the word exquisite here… and that first intuitive choice of word… Yes! So it is!

My linguistic and verbal skills in English though, are good, but certainly not exquisite. I really have to find a way to pay my friend Elaine to help me with that. She’s originally from Manchester, England, and has been teaching English and French for many years.

Isn’t it quite amazing that I suddenly, since early this spring, have been acquainted with such a lovely women? She is lovely! I really like her, and we so easily talk to each other! She also sounded quite excited when I before the summer, gently asked her about proofreading my manuscript!

I experience, that I after this Camp-thing should need to still have some pressure on me to keep on writing every day. But maybe have one day a week free from writing? Sometimes it feels like I need that.
Or? Would it be better to lower the amounts of words I have to write each day? After all! Now, when I have reached the daily goal, there is a huge feeling of relief, and it gets so much easier to continue writing beyond the daily goal.

Or would it be better to keep on with 1000 words a day, every day, and figure I’ll be totally used to that so I kind of “have to write” like an inner urge, not due to demand from something outside of me?

I love to write! I always have! So I guess it’s just a bit hard to maintain total obsession again after that burnout I lived with for many years. It takes time to heal. Longer than you think and want.

It’s often said it takes 21 days to create a new habit, but I guess, it rather takes a little bit more than that. And I also think it’s dangerously easy to slip out of that habit, if you take a day or two off, too early in the new habit.

So, maybe is the ultimate to be writing every day, but lessen a bit on the demand of 1000 words or more? Perhaps 500 as a minimum? 750?

Let’s see how this all feels in a couple of weeks.

Changes

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For three or four days I’ve been going through all 184 premium themes that are available to me at Wp. I have for quite some time wanted a theme with a ‘Drop Caps’, and preferably also an ‘Intro.’

(Drop caps real “name” is drop capital or drop initial, a larger initial letter of a section of a text, at least twice the height of one row. I’ve earlier learnt this under the name Anfang. I guess this word has its roots in the old Gutenberg typesetting system. And I don’t mean Wp,s  awful Gutenberg editor. (shivering of disgust). The word Anfang just means “beginning”
An Intro is a section at the beginning of a text, a sentence or a shorter paragraph, that has a larger font-seize then the rest of the text. You can see both of them in the paragraph above.)

I’ve always liked Drop caps. And even more so if it is a beautiful and/or fun one. Therefore I’ve been searching for a theme that allows one – even though I will have to add it myself with a CSS-code. But that’s all right.

If it were only possible to search for such a theme on Wp! But that is not something Wp can provide. A good search system. Last time I added “drop caps” as a search term, I got two hits. I searched for microformats, got some hits, but not necessarily drop caps. And now I realize there are themes that can show a drop cap, but still don’t show up when searched for. Hmm…

Drop caps and Intros aren’t necessary. I just think it can look really good, at the beginning of something written. Something where words are in focus.
Necessary is, on the contrary, to have a narrow main column when written texts are the main concern. For one simple reason – it’s way more readable! With long rows, it too easy for the eyes to lose contact, you can literally unintentionally glide from one row to another, and thus lose contact with what you’re reading.

So besides a Drop cap and hopefully also an Intro, I want a narrow main column. They are not easy to find, most of them are among the older themes, and therefore neither allow drop caps nor featured images.

I have missed having featured images.
Not too huge. Not too small. Not covered with grey or any other colour. Not one that has been oddly cropped by Wp. Or squeezed together from up to down. When trying this out, one theme decapitated the Matisse – woman. Not nice at all. And it’s certainly not good-looking when you begin a post with an image, and the very same image turns up as featured – in the same size!!!!

I want a nice looking blockquote.
Not huge and black-black, and not with a quote-sign hanging around. Aligned left or right, it’s nice when it pops out a bit on the side, which also goes for images.

I would like a nice header-image – but that can be hard to get. What I dislike the most, is when they are more or less covered with grey. Or the colour of the Header text doesn’t change with the back-lying images, so

I would like a fun, colourful theme with personality. Those are among the old ones, and there was a time when there were lots and lots of those old funny themes. We who have older blogs – my oldest, and still having, is from 2009, and I will keep that as long as possible due to all the nice old blog-themes. Even though that blog lies dormant at present. And even though Wp have deleted many of them, and keeps on deleting old themes. I think it’s sad that most of the newer blog themes are so look alike. Boring. White with huge texts, images and widgets. Now I talk about wp.com.

You with wp.org – for example – have way more possibilities. Last time I had a look at wp.org, there must have been at least circa 2000. Which also makes it a bit tough to choose. Who knows in beforehand exactly how one wants the blog to look like? I don’t, never have.

Anyhow! With Wp, you never get all of what you really want. So you have to compromise. What is the most important?
To me, now – the drop caps and a good looking featured image placement. And absolutely a narrow main column. The rest I hoped for.

So, therefore, I added the CSS codes to the Text (instead of Visual in the editor) in the latest post. Later on, I also sat with my iPad adding featured images to some of the later ones.

Then I checked out how my blog would look like, covered in every one of the themes. Most of them I just previewed hastily, a couple I tested a little. I made some short notes about each theme I didn’t discard immediately. And I also made a couple of notes on some  themes without drop caps, as they seemed to be quite nice

I forgot to count how many I had “chosen” during this first round. Twenty, twenty-five maybe. Then I checked out these with a real preview. At that time I had added the featured images. Due to those, I discarded a lot of themes. I also rapidly discarded those with wide main columns, or with any other flaws.

Then they were ten!
And then two.
Then I chose this one. Patch.
Discovered there were no “previous” and “next” posts.
Sighed…. was totally fed up with the whole blog thing now… grabbed the first best blog that was at hand…

Name: Photo Blog.
The theme with the name Photo Blog has one of the
most narrow main columns of them all! 
And the one called "Bloggy" has one of the widest! 
Odd world - WP.

Was it all okay then?

Looked at both.
Compared.

And turned immediately back to Patch. I like this one more.
I didn’t get any good looking Blockquotes though.

Now I only have to add featured images to quite a lot of posts, and maybe I will delete a couple at the same time. Clean up the blog, so to speak.

Finally A confession:
On the whole, I think it’s funny to test themes. This time it was just too many to check out, it got tiresome in the end. Many of them are also boring to look at, and some are – plain ugly.

But that is just my opinion!

Just an ordinary post

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Earlier today I tried to write an ordinary blog post. Nothing happened. My mind had slammed the writing door shut.

For a while, I pondered whether to write about the burnout or not. But naah. Why indulge in negative issues? There are better ones to put energy in. But I can tell you this, just shortly.
– From been living in constant fatigue, not being able to write, read nor even listen to music; to now once again being able both to read and listen to music (if I chose to) AND – since only a short while ago – I WRITE AGAIN!!!!

You can’t believe, how much I have longed for that, so now I live in awe, and are soooo grateful for all the pep talk I’ve got from you wonderful people here on WP!!! Getting likes, and reading your comments, have really helped me get going with the words again. And even in a better style, than before the burnout, I think. I was also a little bit afraid when writing in another language than my own, that I wouldn’t find my own voice again. But, actually, I think I have! It all seems to Be Goooood!

And of course! The Writing-prompts, Ninny Rhino and CampWriMo have been a huge help on the way!

I’m not on the safe side yet, though. Meaning having the routine of writing daily; and easily, naturally just sit down to work without thinking much of it! Just doing it!
I now do a lot of pacing around (mentally mostly) before I finally manage to sit down in front of the Mac and begin writing. I still have to force myself to do it. Especially since I haven’t got a clue of what to write. But then! When only the first words are written, I usually enter the flow.

Except for yesterday.

The day before yesterday, I had written a long text that was meant to be the continuing on “Andrew Millbourne’s big secret”. It turned out to be crap. It was supposed to deal with why the people at that planet have all these metal implants. Why, how and from when.
I ended up with a text where the first circa 350 words is quite good, but the remaining 700-something words, is nothing but a tiring, boring, wordy, telling, verbiage, blä-blä… blä-blä…

In a way, not bad. I can certainly use the information as a background for myself while writing. Getting to know one’s characters, you know. But letting a reader actually read this!!! Oh no! No! No! NO!

Then yesterday, I thought I could use those 700-something words after all. BUT! Edit the text hard! Use what is usable, and make it into a dialogue. So I copied the text and pasted it to a new document. Dated it May 5th.

Oh my god!!! It was good thinking, but a disaster to work with. So hard! Seemed impossible to get some word at all, onto the document. Not until I only used the first sentence and deleted all the rests, I finally managed to write a text where Andrew and one of the spokesmen are talking together, and Andrew asks about those implants, its origin and usage.
And he realizes a lot more, what he hadn’t been informed about beforehand. Kind of Surpriiiiise!!!!

That text is not finished yet, though. Not to my own surprise – my writing-time are evenings. Just about from now (8PM), as a matter of fact, and for a couple of hours onward.

A three days long vacation

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Or is it technically four? A added the last day’s achievement of writing for the Camp WriMo early in the morning that last day, so in a way, it is four. I realize though, I have to start writing again as soon as possible, since I know, the longer I wait, it has a tendency to be harder to begin writing again. So get going, Thêa! Whether writing or not writing this evening is not an option, it is a Must Do!

What have I learned during this month of Camp-Writing? First of all! I can still do it! I still have it in me! The words, the stories, the lust, the wanting. The NEED – to write, to live in writing-mode!

I guess I’ve been scared in a way, after the burn-out. Have been afraid I would discover that I had totally lost the ability, so I didn’t even dare to try. I have told myself: ” I can’t!” And:  “I have no imagination!” And other stuff like that.
And – admit – besides the burn-out-fatigue, I’,m most certainly also a lazy-butt. Have to be pushed, sometimes, to start doing things…
(hmmm… adhd…)

I discovered I can write in a different way from how I wrote earlier. That I can sit there and just write, don’t edit, don’t aim for writing the story chronologically, from page One to page Whatever! But every day just start writing something and then let the inspiration flow! Don’t think too much, don’t try to control everything, just let it comes whatever will come, and don’t stop to check or correct or anything.
Some smaller editing I had to do along the way, though. Correct spelling, for example, couldn’t go on when I saw I spelled something wrong. And each day’s session when finished, I added to Grammarly to see what it had in mind for me. But the next day – new writing.

Sometimes I read a little bit here and a little bit there, just to remind where the characters were and what they were doing, and when there was about a week remaining, I read all of it. And added 1056 words while doing that.

I found…a lot of telling, to change into showing…..
a lot of seeds to saw…
a lot of questions, to be answered…
And all those …MATTERS… that will stay where they are for the time being.
There is so much more to be written before I start the real editing work. I don’t have even half of a novel yet. Ten percent???
But I have ideas… and hunches… and have been presented to a couple of surprises while writing. It’s amazing when a new character shows up, just out of the blue.

COLD FEET!
Yes! I feel that too. Will I really be able to not only continue writing pieces and scenes to this story but also managed to mix all this into a good, readable story? With living characters, exciting events, a bit of humor here and there – on the whole – create a story that can catch the reader? (That is – Me!  HAHAHAHA!)

Never mind…Okay!!!!!
The answer to the question: “Will I ever…” is: “No, you won’t if you don’t try.”
NO! STOP! Change that! – Change it to: “Just do it!

A cool note: I checked how many words I wrote now... 551

Monday evening – and Ninny Rhino

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We have had terrible weather this weekend. Maybe I exaggerate a bit, but it has been some really fierce winds. Storm, when worst. Friday was at least sunny so the fact I had to go out on my bike, wasn’t that bad after all. Was lucky too, didn’t have the wind totally against me.

Saturday, on the contrary, offered not only storm gusts, but also rain. I stayed indoors the entire day.

I let the vacuum cleaner chase dust rats, I did the dishes – but mostly I was watching old episodes of Dr Who and doing solitaires on the iPad. Napping, of course. I do a lot of napping nowadays. Sunday, the weather had cleared up a bit, and I went for a short bike-ride. Only 8,3 kilometer. Bought bananas too…

I confess! I haven’t written a word since the last blog post! But I have continued to clean up among files and folders. It’s crazy how many copies, and copies of copies, there are on the hard drive. Still not finished that work, but slowly getting at least some order in the mess.

Today, I had an appointment with my physiotherapist before lunch, and late afternoon I paid a visit to the painting-study-group. At least I, could need a bit of proper “studying”.

On the other hand, I think painting is really fun to occupy myself with; but it is painting with words, that is my real vocation.

The colorful one

Despite the fact a 7-year-old can paint better than I, the colorful woman I did the last time, now has got a sister.
The “teacher” didn’t say much. Just asked if I had copied some image of a sort. “No”, I answered, and realized he had totally forgotten about my colorful other.

Then he left me, and I kept on struggling with painting lips.

The sister. A bit more… punky! Ey? I wonder why I painted those red thingies on both sides of her… ??? I mean – the thingies in her hair, are supposed to be there. But the other ones???

As I said – a 7-year-old could do this better, but…

I. Don’t. Care!!!

… a girl just got to have fun…

Apropos the Ninny Rhino! I’ve decided to extend my commitment for the entire March, not only 9 days. I know I haven’t actually written anything, but it makes me land in a writer-mood. I’ve began longing for writing something more than occasional blog posts.

There is this prompt for March month that Diana Wallace Peach at Myths of the Mirror has on her blog. And I’m really tempted to join in.

I feel….

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I feel so…
I feel…

I… don’t quite know how I feel, or what I feel.
A least I can’t put a label on it!

I’m not sad, not angry, not … not anything negative, really!

On the whole, I feel good. I like being back in my city, close to my daughters.
I love my apartment, really enjoy living here.

I don’t have many friends, but I love those I have.
I’m mostly alone, but enjoy that! Feel good when being in my solitude and silence.

So far, so good!
But still, there is something. I think the word frustrated is the most appropriate one.

I want so much to write and to read, as I used too.
Not too long ago I got new ideas all the time, and I wrote and I wrote! And I read books by the minute! All the time I had some book in my hands.

And now! Nothing comes to me!
No! Not quite true! Lately, I’ve begun getting ideas again. During the past few months only. Or even weeks. After the move?
Unfortunately neither due for a novel, nor a short story, nor anything like that. But something I could make into a blog post! I’m being out somewhere, and get some kind of monologue in my head. I feel happy about that.

Finally, finally, I can write again! Like I used to!

Then.
When home.
Sitting in front of my computer.
All is lost and all I can see is a huge black mountain which I can’t climb.
Even the threshold is too high for me to climb.
It is so frustrating.

Reading? Well, I do read some. There was a time, not that long ago, when I couldn’t concentrate on reading at all. Then slowly that ability awakened, but I’m still a long way from reading as I used to.

But I do blog, don’t I?
Yes! I do!
And I’m so happy about that enhancement in my writing life, but I can also see most of those posts are quite mediocre. I want to do better!
I can do better!

The best ones,though, are those I wrote during the first months of this blog’s existence. The ones about my Mom and the abuse. I just don’t need to write more about that topic. I’m in peace with Mom! Pity, in a way, but one can’t dwell in the past. It’s the now that counts.

So why do I still have a problem with writing?

In early 2006 I moved to a city some 80 km north from where I live now. Many times during the years thereafter, I wondered why on earth I made that move. Well! I was offered a job there, and there was also a Mr. Somebody whom I thought maybe could be Mr. Right. But both the Job and the Mr soon went down the drain. Picturesquely speaking.

But left, was this push I had got in my butt when the Mr had said:
“WRITE! You have it in you!”

Immediately I searched for writing classes, then I wrote and I studied, got writing friends and kept on like that until 2012. And as you probably understand already, this was NOT the first time I was writing anything literary. I done that to and fro ever since I learned to write. And I read books before that. Read all the time, everywhere, and my mother all the time told me not to. It wasn’t good for my eyes, she claimed!!!

I didn’t realize it just then, but I had during a couple of years developed a burn-out condition. What I had noticed, was that it had become difficult for me to come up with new stories for the classes, and even harder for me to read and then comment on my fellows writing-pieces. For a while, I cheated. From me, I chose old stories to bring instead of writing anything new; and I glanced a bit on the other guys’ texts and then commented something… very general…

But I realized after a couple of semesters this wasn’t reasonable. I didn’t write anything new, I didn’t learn anything new, and I didn’t contribute anything to my writing friends.

I gave up.

So when I say I wrote and worked in the classes with writing until Christmas 2012, it isn’t quite true. I tried to, wrote some, and actually one of my most beautiful short stories I wrote in 2012. But I felt like a failure. A very tired and lonely failure.

It took me a couple of years before I truly realized all this was due to stress. My brain, my mind, couldn’t take my present situation any longer and  – in a way – shut down parts of itself.

Well! I still functioned! I kept doing what I had to do to survive. No one to help me through my daily life, I had to go on. But I kept me more and more to myself since I had no energy left for doing anything else.

I don’t say all was black and sad and lonely and depressed. Oh no! First of all, all these m o m e n t s occurred in periods, and some periods were good! Many days were good! What helped me a lot, was when I discovered my ability to express myself in images, and in making posters and such. Lots of colors. My fantasy had a way to go, through editing photos, adding filters, playing with lensflares and such possibilities. I still do that sometimes, but way back then – mostly between late 2013 til late 2016 – it was kind of lifeline to me

And now! On my way…

Later I used to say, I could from 2012 and forward, very well have worked with proofreading and/or editing texts. My skills and my talent, which I have had all my life, and my knowledge and capability were still intact. What I had lost were the fantasy and the ability to concentrate. But that was frustrating enough!

Frustrating! Yes! Still!
But I’m grateful I now can write blog posts fairly frequently and fairly fluent – even in English. But my own opinion of how I write and even more about what I write – is that it is quite mediocre. I can be more interesting! I can do better! I want to do better!

A cat rescuing me!!! Some vegan thoughts!!!

At the same time, it kind of amazes me, that I’ve chosen to write in English! Why? When it’s so much quicker and easier to write in Swedish? Okay! There are more than one answer, to that question. But the bottom line is, that I’m actually good at writing! In my own language, that is. In Swedish! I have a large vocabulary, I’m really good at spelling, and I know my grammar. I know so much grammar, that I also can bend the rules if I want to. And make the text understandable and “right”!

I’m also good with “showing not telling”, and dialogues. I can make people feel “like they are there” when they read. And I would be hugely ashamed of myself if I had to use Grammarly when writing in Swedish – if there is a Grammarly for Swedish texts, that is…

Writing in English is quite different. It’s not only on commas, that Grammarly and I have different opinions…

Despite all this in my back pocket – 

I can’t reach my imagination, and my brain is still not sufficiently cooperative when it comes to focusing on words! I feel numb!
I’ve been pondering to continue writing on some of my old drafts, I have a couple of quite good ones to chose from. The thought has felt quite appealing, actually. But so far nothing has gotten beyond that thought. 😦

Talk about being frustrated!

And writing in English! – It takes at least twice the time to write something. So blurting out all these words must be extraordinary, and how many hours has this taken me? I have absolutely no idea!

It must be hope somewhere, mustn’t it?

(Also when writing in Swedish I’m very particular,
but at least I used to land it faulty-free there and then.)

 

 

What’s wrong with Kindle?

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Everything, I’m inclined to say. But of course, I should neither judge nor condemn so soon in my acquaintance with Kindle.
Well… if there will be any further acquaintance…

I was one of the lucky ones, who received a Kindle Book gift from Chris Hall on Luna’s online. At first, I was a bit reluctant. Since I don’t have Kindle myself, would it be possible for me to accept this gift?

I didn’t know much about Kindle, other than it is one way to read books online, on some kind of tablet. So, I couldn’t even say whether it is “only” an app or a device with some kind of software developed for book reading. I also knew it had something to do with Amazon, but I admit! My knowledge here was very limited. I’m a little bit wiser now. (With the emphasis on “a little bit”.)

Mainly, probably, since I’m devoted to Apple and therefore have one iPhone, one iPad and one Apple laptop, namely a MacBookPro.
And therefore – I also have iBooks (now called “Books”) including all the benefits of the iCloud function. I can read books on all devices, and jump from one device to another and there keep on reading – if I want to! And it costs me no extra. I could say more about this, but for now – let’s get back to Kindle.

I googled! No no! I yahoo-ed!!! 😀
I searched for Kindle and found only sites where to buy a Kindle reading device. So? Did that mean I couldn’t read a Kindle-book? I had suspected that earlier, and these adds manifested my belief a bit more.

Then Chris mentioned the word “App” – and I listened. (Read: listen = read). I got my hopes back since I all the time I’ve known about Chris and Luna’s online, I’ve liked what she writes and would love to read more!

So I visited Appstore, and goodness gracious! There it was! The Kindle-app! And, for free!!!! So I downloaded it to the iPad.
That was the easiest part of it all.

Okay! Then I had to get an account on Amazon since I couldn’t register directly from the app. But what I saw there, on the screen, made me a bit confused. Mobile accounts? Is my iPad mobile? I can move it and take it with me… hm… do I really have to register an account on Amazon with my phone number?!?!!?!?!?. I absolutely don’t want to do that. NEVER!
Or…  what on earth IS a mobile account???

To make a short-way here – I did find my way to Amazon on the laptop, and to register an account. I also browsed the site for a while, but first…
Back to the iPad!

I logged in, chose some books I would want to read, and suddenly samples of them and a couple of others were downloaded. Then I waited for the mail from Amazon with Chris’ book gift, and I was thrilled about that! And it came, I followed the instructions – and ended up with a – sample???

In between there, when I had clicked the link in the mail I got to this page:

Can not be redeemed in your country… WHAT!?!?!?
This title is not available in your country… WHAT!?!?!?

But I could get a free sample? And the possibility to buy the book?!

At first, I had no idea what all this meant – not redeemed et cetera – and I don’t think I actually missed anything. The only available button was “send a free sample” – so I did push that button! And got a sample. Containing the first short story, the very same one which I already had read on her blog! There was also a little piece of the second short story, but then – it was it!

Redeem: gain or regain possession of (something) in exchange for payment

Then for several (wasted) hours I tried to understand, find information, answers – but find almost nothing. Why redeemed, for example! What does the word redeem mean?

As far as I could understand this, the reason why I couldn’t get the book, was due to some copyright restrictions. But I admit! I had some real trouble understanding what Amazon actually mean with the whole explanation and “help-section”! I just don’t get it!!! And my patience is now up! Finished! Out of order!

And on top of that, they could download the free sample, and tell me to BUY THE BOOK!!!

It was a gift!
And if I can’t receive the gift book
– because I live in Sweden –
then don’t even bother to offer me to buy it!!!
It’ so demeaning! So stupid! So…

After all those hours spending on Amazon yesterday evening and today, I’m highly irritated and brain-tired! I do not want to, deal with neither Amazon nor Kindle anymore. But before ending this post, I’ll try my best to reveal what else I did on Amazon. Besides trying to find information that they obviously don’t publish… or hide really well…

I did some comparing between iBooks and Amazon books, and to me, Apple’s iBooks is a win-win.
I randomly looked for books on both, that I want to buy and read. All of those chosen were less expensive at iBooks.
I didn’t put any energy in finding books on Amazon in other languages than English, on the other hand – I didn’t stumble on any either.
Apple/iBooks offers books in many other languages.

I can get books for free on iBooks, and there are many at very low prices
I don’t know if there are free books at all on Amazon unless you have this thingy… that cost you something each month… and which I couldn’t find the information about the cost… The real cost, I mean, not the first month/months (whatever) for 99 cents.

There are books, Kindle books, that are very low in price, I admit that. But on the whole, I’ll remain true to Apple/iBooks not only for the prices and the languages, but also because I find Amazon’s site is almost totally hopeless and unclear to navigate through.