BOOK EM!

Joy’s friend Frieda is going to France but leaving her Kindle behind for safe keeping. Joy said to her: “Why not use your phone as a Kindle?” Here’s how to do that:

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APP HELPS THOSE WITH MACULAR DEGENERATION

Spotlight Text” is $10 for iPhone and claims to make it possible for those with macular degeneration to read books on their tablets. We hope the creator, Dr. Howard J. Kaplan, will do the same thing for games like solitaire.

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THE NETFLIX OF BOOKS

OysterBooks.com, sometimes called “the Netflix of Books,” recently added a new service. Besides renting all the books you can eat for $10 a month, you can now buy books as well.

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HOW AN ENGLISH TEACHER MADE A BILLION DOLLARS IN CHINA

There are books and articles that offer advice on how to become a millionaire, but this one could be called How to Become A Billionaire. Instead, it’s called “Alibaba’s World,” written by Porter Erisman, a man who was there at the beginning of a company that went public in America last year at a valuation that exceeded Amazon and eBay combined. It was the largest initial stock offering ever.

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FREE SCIENCE BOOKS

“List of Free Science Books” from physicsdatabase.com. This site has hundreds of free books in chemistry, physics, astronomy, math, physiology, etc., all online. Click on a title and the online version pops right up. We’re intrigued by “The Wonder Book of Knowledge.” The table of contents lists topics like “Why do we Smile when we are pleased?” “How did the Dollar Sign originate?” “Why do some of us have freckles?”

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THE AGE OF CRYPTO CURRENCY

BitCoin is a much bigger deal than we thought. In the new book, “The Age of Crypto Currency,” by Vigna and Casey, two veteran Wall Street Journal reporters, we learned that Bitcoin is used all over the world where banking is a problem. An Afghani teenager, for example, traded her Bitcoins for an Amazon gift certificate and bought her first laptop. Without Bitcoin, her earnings would have disappeared into her father or brother’s bank account. In Mali refugee camps, people receive Bitcoins as text messages on $5 phones. Without crypto currency, workers often have to depend on strangers to carry money back home to relatives. “The Age of Crypto Currency,” $28 from St. Martin’s Press, also gives us a concise […]

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THREE PROGRAMMING BOOKS FOR KIDS

– “Lauren Ipsum” by Carlos Bueno is the story of a little girl who must find her way home by thinking like a programmer. It may do for children what Douglas Hofstadter’s “Godel, Escher, Bach” did for Joy back in the 1980s: get them excited about programming ideas. The name “Lauren Ipsum” comes from the dummy text used as filler when printers don’t have the actual text of a page yet or want to show off a font. It’s been around since the 1500s, when an unknown printer used assorted type to make a specimen book. The book’s title character tackles classic problems like “Zeno’s Paradox” and “The Traveling Salesman.” Each chapter connects to a real-life computer science lesson in […]

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THE BEST BOOKS OF 2014

Apps.NPR.org/best-books-2014 displays dozens of colorful book jackets for the best books of 2014. Hover over a book for a mini review, then click for more details. This is a very pleasant way to browse new books. We selected “Rebel Yell,” about Stonewall Jackson, for our history club.

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KINDLE OR IPAD

We were at a launch party for “Suffer No Fools,” a new PBS documentary, when a guy asked us if he should get the latest Kindle or the new iPad Mini. This is a tough question – and he was a tough-looking guy.

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PRINT THE DINNER, NOT THE MENU

If you wondered what 3D printing is really good for, get “Fabricated,” a new book by Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman.

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