Going on Break

December 2, 2009

Yeah, no posts in two months. Sorry.

Just letting all who come across this know that Notebook Chronicle is officially going on hiatus for now. Things have been busy, and will get more busy in the next few months, so this is a heads up to not expect much.

Tute(Tues)day: Importing Audiobooks from CD to ITunes

September 15, 2009

Audiobooks are convenient. They let us enjoy the magic of a book when we don’t feel like reading, when we can’t read, and whilst doing something else simultaneously. Audiobooks also have been brought into the digidownload age (yes, I made that up) with Apple selling audiobooks through the ITunes store for a little less than a physical book. But what about those audiobooks you bought on CD all those years ago? Well, my friend, here is a tutorial for your (or somebody else’s) technologically impaired mind.

NOTE: This process was done in ITunes under Mac OS X, but I’m sure it’s the same for ITunes on Windows and other operating systems.

Ok first off you will need a fairly recent version of ITunes, an optical drive of some description, and your favourite audiobook on CD. Got all of that? Great. Insert the CD into your optical drive and open up ITunes (or it will open up automatically, depending on your settings). Import the CD by clicking the ‘Import CD’ button on the bottom right of your screen and everything will load into your library automatically. Depending on whether you’re connected to the internet or not, your audiobook may also be named. If not, go and do that now. Done? Awesome. Let’s move on.

By now, all of your audiobook should be uploaded into sepearate files for each chapter. I’m assuming they’ll be .mp3 files, and we need them to be AAC encoded. On the ITunes toolbar, go to Advanced> Create AAC version. Everything will convert automatically. Do this for all files.

Also, make sure all files have the .m4a or .m4b extension. It should look something like this:

Now, to make sure ITunes reads it as an audiobook and not a regular audio file, we need to change the type to an audiobook. Right click on the file and select ‘Get Info’. A menu should appear. Click Options, and select Audiobook from the drop down menu next to media kind.

Do this for all files, and you’re done! A new category should be created in the sidebar entitled Audiobooks, and looks like this:

If you like, you can import your new audiobook/s to your ipod for literary listening pleasure on the go, and it will all be in the right category. No more accidental audiobook files when shuffling your ipod!

I hope this has helped all of you who aren’t good with computers, or the confused. This method is intended for legitimate audiobooks from media other than the ITunes store, so please don’t pirate anything, or read this tutorial with the intention of piracy. If you have any questions, please leave a comment with your email and I’ll try my best to get back to you.

EDIT: Remember to delete .mp3 files from your library when you’re done to avoid doubles of each file.

A Book by it’s Cover

September 7, 2009

If you’re the kind of person who eats up literature like a Labrador to it’s dinner (Have you seen a Lab eat? It’s like their mouth has become a vacuum!) then at some point in your life, you’re going to have run out of books to read, whether it be from your local library’s collection (or that of the whole district), or many books just seem uninteresting with a story line that has been done a million and one times before. I’ve had a few of these ‘lit droughts’ as I like to call them, and they’ve on many occasions left me bored and frustrated that my hunger for a story could not be satisfied. So how does one get through this? It’s actually quite simple, but it does involve a bit of a risk.

Now, I know we’ve all been taught not to do this by our librarians and fellow book enthusiasts, but I find the best remedy is to judge a book by it’s cover. Yep, you heard me. Save a little bit of money, and hit the bookshop (or the book section of your local second-hand store) and pick out a book by it’s title, author or cover art. Covers were invented to label the book, but they have evolved to advertise and get you, the potential reader, to buy it. Commit that sin, and you could be reading that next great novel (or the world’s biggest disaster). If you find yourself hating the book, at least that’s one less Christmas gift you have to buy.

Change of Plans

August 21, 2009

I know I planned a week of posts to celebrate CBCA Book Week, however unfortunately, that won’t be happening. My Harddrive on my computer crashed last night, and I’ve lost everything including the posts I prepared, and it’s a bit late to retype them all, and I really don’t think they’d be good if they were rushed. So, unfortunately, that won’t happen, but I’m sure there will be some good posts in the future to make up for it.

I’m really sorry!

CBCA Book Week 2009

August 17, 2009

This Saturday, August 22 marks the start of the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s 64th Annual book week. According to the CBCA website, book week is the longest running children’s festival in Australia, and it widely celebrated in primary school and public libraries across the country. Each year has a theme (this year’s is ‘Safari’), and usually there are activities for kids, and sort of shortlist of books that are advertised/recommended in a way. I remember back to my primary school days, where we were read books by the librarian, there’s be drawings from popular children’s books like Franklin, or The Chronicles of Narnia, and at lunchtime there’d be a rotation of various activities to do with certain books and other cool stuff. They were wonderful days for me, being quite the book nerd as a child (and still am).

So, in celebration of these childhood memories, and also in celebration of Children’s Book Week, this Saturday, I’ll be starting a week long posting of my favourite kids books; a mini review and explanation of why I like them. This will run until the last day of book week, Saturday August 29. So please, stay tuned!

Make-it Monday: Decoupage Bookshelf

August 3, 2009



It’s no secret I like crafting and upcycling things, so for the first Make-It Monday, I thought I’d share with you all my decoupage bookcase. The original was a freebie we got from some old neighbours, and it was sitting in the garage holding spare jars and shoes, collecting spiderwebs and a mass amount of dust. It was rather boring, and I wanted something a bit prettier if it was to be worthy of holding most of my books. So, I hopped on down to my not-so-local craft store, picked out some nice fabric and some Mod Podge, and glued (and painted) my way to a nicer bookshelf. 

Also note,that the picture above contains only a modest sample of my collection; at the time of the photo I was still organising and stacking everything in place (and I still continue to do so).

Tutorial can be found here.

Mysterious Little Black Book: An Overview/Review

July 24, 2009

Although I love them dearly, Moleskine notebooks are just so darn expensive and like Black Cover, I’m always looking for a cheaper alternative. So when I walked into my local Officeworks this afternoon needing a journal, I decided to give this little guy a go.

As you can see in the photo above, the cover is a plain ordinary black. It has a sort of vinyl feel to it, so I’m assuming that’s what it’s made of. From memory, the notebook also comes in pink, green and dark blue; with sizes ranging from A6 to A4, the above being A5.

It’s little bit flexible, which is kind of normal being a softcover and all. It doesn’t bend too well however, so if you’re the kind of person who likes to keep books in pockets I advise you to buy a bag or  just get the A6 version.

The above comparison is with my other notebook (the one from Ikea that I keep all my delicious vegan recipes in), and as you can see it’s not as thick, however it may contain the same amount of pages. My estimate is around 96-128, give or take.null

You probably can’t see it too well, but the inside cover has little plus marks patterned all over. I think this is to make it more appealing to males, as when I had a look at the pink version, there were hearts all over the inside of that one. null

The first actual page has a fairly large horizontal margin space at the top, which I dislike, but the rest of the lines are spaced nicely. I haven’t yet tested the paper by writing, although the paper does feel very thin and not a great quality, so fountain pens are a no go unless you don’t mind bleeding. Otherwise, it’s up to the trusty ballpoint Bic.

It most definitely does not live up the the moleskine variety, however it’s not bad if you’re really desperate. I’d save those pennies and go for a real Moleskine or even maybe a Ciak. I paid AU$6.99, regular price is AU$9.99 (A5 version). Available from Officeworks.

Review: Monster Blood Tattoo, Book One: Foundling

July 22, 2009

If you asked me if I preferred to read a book with a fantasy setting, or to create a fantasy world, I’d pick creating a fantasy world any day. It’s not often that the two mix; most books with a fantasy setting only really give you a general description, and not since Tolkien (or Rowling) has there been a book or series that gives us a new world to discover, or a lexicon of creatures or exotic plants or whatever else you’d find in a new land. Then there came Monster Blood Tattoo.

From what I’ve heard, author D.M. Cornish spent ten years or so creating the half continent and all it’s creatures, compiling notebooks with definitions, ideas, histories and illustrations. In the back of Foundling, there is also what is called an Expilcarium (Glossary of terms and explanations, including appendices). This is very helpful in learning extra things about the world’s monsters, or picking up the lingo if the definitions at the beginning of each chapter just don’t quite cut it, or if you just plain don’t understand half of what is being said most of the time, although this is very unlikely.

There is a storyline; the book follows Rossamünd Bookchild, an orphan with the misfortune of having a girl’s name, being whisked away form his sad orphan life at Madam Opera’s Marine Society to join the lamplighters; those employed in the Emperor’s service to light lamps in the afternoon on a certain route before the sun sets, and to douse them again at sunrise. The job of a lamplighter is apparently also a dangerous one; monsters and humans aren’t in harmony in the half continent, and as we learn in Foundling, there can (and will) be bloodshed. Rossamünd is supposedly a boy of fourteen, but judging his character in the book, I think he lacks the maturity of one, being overly sensitive at times and not always thinking before he speaks. By the end of the book however, I had the feeling of prediction Rossamünd will mature and grow up much more as the series progresses.

It’s obvious that Monster Blood Tattoo is meant to be a series; when reading Foundling, I could tell the book was much more a part of a greater adventure, than containing one in itself. There is adventure and action, but not as much as there was explanations of things in the cities or of people or jobs or creatures or surroundings. I got sucked into the world more than I did the adventure.

Whilst I did enjoy the book, I do feel it could’ve been done a bit differently. The story slightly lacking in Foundling, I would’ve loved to have more illustrations to supplement my imagining of the half continent, very much like the Dinotopia books (you know, the good ones that are like journals, not those adventure novellas) instead of reading descriptions of everything. There were illustrations mind you, but just not enough to make up for the somewhat dull story. But I most certainly did enjoy it regardless, and I have a feeling Lamplighters will give me much less crapping on about stuff, and get right into the story and adventure I’m craving from this wonderful series.

First Post, Introductions, etc.

July 13, 2009

Hello, and welcome to The Notebook Chronicle!

This is just an introductory post, to let you all know what kind of things you can expect in this blog. It’s a literary blog; with your standard book reviews, read-a-longs, stationery information and reviews, and all around general tips and features. NC will be updated as regularly as possible, with no real set day or frequency; there might be one post one week, none the next, then maybe seven the week after. However, if I do plan some sort of hiatus, you all will be informed.

So, if there aren’t any more questions, be sure to buckle up and enjoy the ride. Please, keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times.