Books and music

I like to read, and I enjoy music. When I moved south of the Rio Bravo, which is approaching 13 years ago, getting books in English was a challenge.

Getting tunes was pretty easy, however. There was a huge music store that sold CDs in the nearby capital city, but it’s long gone now. And I don’t care.

I’ve stopped buying books made of paper, and I’ve ceased purchasing music CDs.

My music comes from LegalSounds, an internet business based in Russia. Their selection is vast, and if you don’t find a song you want, email them and they’ll get it for you.

I’ve used their service for years.

They speak English as well as you and I. They claim it’s legal, and I hope it is. Most of their songs cost nine cents or less, which is pretty darn sweet.

That’s part of our living room bookshelf in the photo. It used to be a living, breathing thing, so to speak. Books were added, subtracted (that’s what happens when you loan a book. It’s permanently subtracted), fingered, admired and so on.

Now it’s just a lifeless decoration. Books give a warm feel to a space, and they make you look smart even if you are not.

I have a Kindle, and my child bride has one too. We don’t buy physical books anymore. Stubborn people are still resisting this change, but they will come around.

They will have no choice.

When they do, they will slap themselves and mutter: Why didn’t I do this sooner? That’s how nifty a Kindle is. A Kindle is better than hot roast beef on rye bread and dark ale, which reminds me of something, but I can’t recall exactly what.

But it will come to me.

19 thoughts on “Books and music”

  1. Very nice…I gave all of my books and vinyl records away prior to moving to Mexico…just too heavy and difficult to get down here…I will get a Kindle eventually…but there is nothing like the feel of the pages and the smell of a physical book….saludos!


    1. Charles: In very short order, that feeling and smelling business loses all significance. Believe me. With the Kindle, you can underline. You can “fold down” the page to bookmark. You can do all manner of convenient things that a paper book cannot do. And the books are delivered straight to you without your lifting a finger. Well, nearly. It’s a marvel. By the way, when you do get one, order a cover simultaneously. It is NOT optional. I recommend the Marware brand, which is superior to the covers Kindle sells.

      And for people who live in Mexico, the Kindle is even more of a Godsend.


    1. Mark: I have Media Monkey on my computer, but I imagine any decent media player will do the trick. After I download the music from LegalSounds, Media Monkey has a button to scan my computer and add the tunes to the Monkey. I don’t have a smartphone. I put the tunes onto a little Sansa MP3 player that I use in my car. When I connect the Sansa to my computer, the Monkey sees it, and lets me download the music from the Monkey to the Sansa. I imagine it would do the same with a smartphone.

      Media Monkey is very nice, by the way. It got too big for its britches in the last couple of years, all gussied up and complicated, so I use a simpler, older version that I never “improve” with upgrades. Plus, it’s free.

      I’m sure folks who are higher tech than I am, which doesn’t take much, could get the music directly from LegalSounds to their smartphone.


  2. Amazon announced a new family of Kindles this week. A self-lit Kindle with limited outward light emission — and an improved Fire. They just keep getting better. As for content choice, I agree with you, it is great. I would not have read a number of the books have read recently if I had not seen them on my list of Kindle choices. The folks at Amazon know their business. Of course, I give up the annoyance of American and Mexican customs pawing through book shipments — and the subsequent blog posts. But it is more than a fair trade.

    I have yet to join you in the music scene. I find the music files to be so compressed, it is is like reading a book on my Kindle where every third word is erased. You can get the gist, but not the full artistry. But I may give your music site a shot.


    1. Steve: Didn’t know about the new Kindle till you told me. I did read this morning about the new Fire, which they cannot sell yet due to not having FCC permission. Strange.

      You find music files to be “so compressed”? What in God’s name are you talking about? The music sounds fine to me, but you and Calypso are the oddballs who maintain vinyl sounds better than CD.

      Some folks get too well-honed for their own good, I say.

      Maybe files being so compressed really doesn’t matter to Hank Williams Jr.

      Every third word is erased on your Kindle? You have a defective Kindle, amigo. My Kindle, with some very rare glitches which are specific to the book on the screen, not the Kindle, works just great.


  3. I love to read always have. In school, I used to hide my book inside the textbook. I never did get caught. I’m one of those holdouts. I still like the feel of a real book in my hands. I’ve always enjoyed spending an afternoon browsing in a bookstore. The only bookstore left in town is a book exchange, which is a pretty good deal.

    Maybe I would love a Kindle, but for now I’m content with the real deal.


  4. Look for FLAC format music – no compression – MP3 forget about it!

    Yes vinyl and tube amplifiers are still the highest quality. But 320k and FLAC formatted digital is pretty fine for these old Rock worn ears.


  5. P.S. my husband the intellectual property lawyer advises me to NOT download any music from that Russian site. But maybe in Mexico it’s legal…


  6. Two, three months ago I was reading online news that Google/Youtube was suing a website that converted Youtube videos into MP3 files. It takes a minute or two to convert a Youtube video.

    The url is In the last couple of months I’ve converted a couple hundred favorite songs into MP3 files I put them on I-tunes. Google blocks about 5% of the songs you convert. Often there are several versions of the same song, and I pick the one with the best sound quality. The service is completely free. Whether of not it is illegal is up to the courts to decide. I believe the service is out of Europe somewhere


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