Day: December 4, 2013

Your Happy Healthy Pet
by Gregory Skomal

This book is a great beginner\’s resource, much more thorough than the kids\’ books I\’ve been reading on the subject. It\’s the first one I\’ve considered actully acquiring for my home library, to keep on hand.

Like all fishkeeping books, it starts out with facts about fish evolution and biology. I learned that fish body and fin shape can tell you about their swimming habits, just like the mouth shape can suggest how they feed. And did you know that although saltwater covers 68% of the Earth\’s surface and freshwater 3%, the numbers of species are saltwater: sixty percent, freshwater: forty.

I learned more details about tank setup, and this was the first fish book that addressed the nitrogen cycle. There is information about different kinds of filter systems and all the other required equipment. The book recommends popular, easy fish for beginners as well as advising against fish that require more specialized care (but look so temptingly beautiful when you see them on display for purchase!) The fish are described in groups: catfish, live-bearing fish, tetras (characins), killifish, labyrinth fish, rainbowfish, cichlids and knife fish. It makes good recommendations for a community tank by selecting fish that not only have compatible temperaments, but also that occupy different levels of the space in the tank. There is also a chapter on proper feeding, (including how to prepare foods for your fish in your own kitchen) maintenance and cleaning schedules, and disease control. Also a chapter on breeding fish at home, which is not really applicable to my plans but was interesting reading. Each species has its own requirements for success, whether it be the temperature and feeding that trigger breeding behavior, or how to care for the parents, eggs and fry at each stage.

I have a long list from this book of more species I want to look up and read about for possibilities in my own aquarium. The book also cleared up my confusion from a prior read that said algae was a fungus. This one tells me that algae used to be listed in the kingdom thallophyta but now it is classified in its own kingdom, protoctista. So the other book was giving factual information, based on what was known when it was published.

Rating: 4/5  128 pages, 2005

I have disemboweled a book. This feels a bit sacriligeous, but it\’s not the first time I\’ve taken a book apart! I did this a bit differently than the various tutorials found online, and also learned from the experience how to do it better next time, so thought I\’d share my steps here. First, of course, is to choose a book you don\’t care much about, which is close to the size of your e-reader. I have one just a bit larger than my kindle. (Next time, I\’d pick one a bit thicker, so it closes easier. I have to hold mine shut with a rubber band if it\’s not facedown).

You need: your e-reader, a suitable sacrificial book, elmer\’s glue, a plastic cup to mix it in, a few drops of water, paintbrush, plastic wrap, pencil, x-acto knife or box cutter, ruler or straight edge, tweezers or sandpaper.

Choose whether to leave a few pages loose in the front or have it open just inside the front cover. Put a sheet of plastic wrap to protect the cover and first pages, and paint the outer edge of the rest of the page block, with elmer\’s glue thinned just a bit with water – you want it to soak into the pages some.

Close the book and let it dry under weights. I have lots of other books handy for this!

I let mine dry overnight. Next, trace shape of the e-reader onto the page block

and cut through the layers of pages to make the cavity your device will sit in. This step I did too quickly and had to clean up a lot afterwards. Some pointers: make a hole with the point of your x-acto blade at each corner, this will give your blade a place to stop and avoid overcutting the edge. Make your first few cuts very carefully and even; the blade will follow the path and the rest of it will go easier. (I didn\’t do so well at this, but mine is just to be useful, not so pretty). Use the blade or sandpaper to smooth out rough edges and if needed, tweezers can help you pick bits of paper out of the corners  This step takes the most time. Make a note of how many pages your book has, so you notice when to stop before cutting into the rear cover.

Cut a little gap for your finger to go in where the on/off switch is. This can be a half-circle shape, or go all the way through the page block if you like.

Paint the inside edge with glue, shield the free pages/front cover with plastic and set under weights to dry again.

If you want it to look particularly clean and you\’ve left a few loose pages, carefully glue one of those down over the cavity and cut the e-reader shape out again, then dry with plastic and weight, so that the top surface is nice and tidy.

The aftermath:

Was this worth it? I think so. In fact, I\’m going to do it again when I find a better book, one with an interesting texture on the cover (and preferably no exterior text)

I found that using this book cover for my kindle had two great benefits. One, it disguised the fact that I was reading on the device, so my kids weren\’t always pestering me to play games on it! They still haven\’t realized I have something else inside that small red book, ha. Two, I vastly prefer reading on the kindle now that it feels like a real book (I mean preferable to the way it was before, bare in my hand. I still would rather read physical books most times). Subconsciously I even forgot I was reading on the device, and caught myself reaching a hand to the edge of the glued book to turn a page forwards or back, instead of tapping the screen to scroll it!

I like to think that this book has a secret life now, full of multiple identities.

DISCLAIMER:

All books reviewed on this site are owned by me, or borrowed from the public library. Exceptions are a very occasional review copy sent to me by a publisher or author, as noted. Receiving a book does not influence my opinion or evaluation of it

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